I needed to write. Most of this post deals with the present and future I’m looking at, at this point in time…including limitations and possibilities. This is not an easy situation. The near future looks bright, but after that?
I suppose this is personal
I’m not the only person with mental health difficulties in my household, and right now I’m being called on to consider that the other person’s difficulties are not my fault or my responsibility. Or, even within my power to solve.
Apparently, however, my working through years of trauma — and recognizing why I am the way I am, much of which relates to my upbringing, and some of which may relate to my own baseline mental reality — is a direct stressor for this other person. That stress then comes out as anger. Some of the anger is directed at me; the rest of it is just general aura.
And I think I’ve realized why I’ve been so silent for so long: I get messages from some of my family that they don’t want to know my experience. (Then they say later, “well, you didn’t tell us it was happening, so how could we have helped?”) Sometimes (as last night) I get emotionally attacked for sharing my experience and mental process. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern to it.
I really don’t know whether this person expects me to forget and cease to learn from all the negative things I’ve gone through: but that’s what it sounds like.
Maybe a good question to ask my own counselor is whether there is a middle ground between forgetting trauma (like it never happened) and continually reliving it. It’s also good to note that family advice is not a stand-in for appropriate mental health care by a trained professional. Even if that person has gone through their own mental health care.
Let’s call it “independent study”
I’ve dropped the Creative Writing courses I was going to take. I need to find a way to support myself, not a way to play around while my baseline needs are met by my family. That’s happening now, but realistically speaking, it’s not going to happen forever; and the endpoint of this situation is uncertain.
I’ve also realized that I’ve got to do what I need to do in order to attain gainful employment — not continue to indulge myself in learning things that are poorly-compensated, and trusting that it’s OK because my parents say it’s OK. I have at least the next three months to get my stuff together…instead of having it taken up with yet another class.
I do have an inroad to something that does pay well (a specialization in metadata, though this could bridge into more general programming); but I’m going to have to do my own studies and research in order to make any progress on it. And I can’t do those studies while my time is being taken up with writing assignments.
I also predict that I’ll have to move in order to take one of these jobs, or work remote…which, along with dropping the “professional writer” focus, is another reason I’m now iffy about our prospective move to the middle of the ocean. It’s harder to move from Hawai’i to New York, that is, than it is to move from California to New York (but perhaps, not by much). On the other hand, it’s greatly easier to move to Thailand from Hawai’i than to Thailand from California, I’d imagine…
The last work I read on professional Editing displayed to me how much I did not know about the functioning of the English language; hence, either I learn the fundamentals of grammar (I can do this, easily — and it may strengthen me where it comes to teaching English), or I probably don’t try to become an Editor, as I’ll be competing with people who do have more than an implicit understanding of grammar.
Functionally, I can edit; my own work, I can edit; but the rules I’m applying in order to create text that says what it meant to say, I’m unsure of. This is not a good thing when one has to go head-to-head with a belligerent author (there’s gotta be at least one in a career) about why their writing doesn’t make sense.
This does call in the fact that someone told me recently that English teachers are well-paid, in Japan. I’ve heard…some negative things about working as an English teacher in Japan, however. I take these into account, even though it is a given that I have wanted at least to travel to Japan, if not stay there (although, as I note below in reference to Hawai’i, I get the feeling that they aren’t necessarily welcoming to, “transplants,” even as traditional communities are emptying). The problem for me, right now: well, there are two: race, and gender.
I have been well-exposed to racism by Japanese-American people in my own lifetime, including from within my own family. This is, in fact, the reason why I did not major in Japanese Language and Literature in Undergrad: I saw no future in it (in which I would be respected, at least). The second problem, gender, may be looser for me because I would be from overseas: it is granted, however, that my gender configuration is not standard…well, for any culture, really. And from what I can tell, conformity is a big deal in Japan.
Of course, would a Japanese person be able to distinguish a LGBTQ+ foreigner from a Straight foreigner, given that the LGBTQ+ person did not go to the effort to mark themselves? Seriously, the only involuntary cue would be who they were or were not dating (or married to), and I could see myself experimenting with men if I were to move there. (My issues with men are largely [hugely] cultural, not biological.)
Japanese culture does seem to be more accommodative of gender difference than would occur in certain other places (I’m particularly thinking of Latin America, as the other language I have history with is Spanish); my issue is the lack of protections for female people as written into law. Also…from what I have been able to tell in the past, being queer in Japan is not necessarily great, either.
And, then, Hawai’i
Also on the table: this move to Hawai’i. I don’t know what the big thing is about Hawai’i. As long as I’m living someplace that’s diverse (and inclusive of my own variants of diversity), with the ability to earn a living wage on my own through non-menial labor (and preferably not directly serving the public — I could be a sous chef), I think I’m OK.
Hawai’i isn’t necessarily a place I’d opt to live; the cost of living is high, and the employment opportunities, not great. Whether this is going to improve with the spread of remote work and migration of technological workers to outlying lands? I think it will — but I don’t know how long it will take.
Employment is a concern for myself, my sibling, and possibly my sibling’s partner. It is not a concern for my parents. There’s also the fact that if I do move to Hawai’i, I imagine leaving it one day. Now whether that’s leaving it to go further overseas and out of the reach of the U.S. (which I have been considering: toxic culture is, well, toxic), is not totally something I can even think about at this point. I know I want to learn Japanese language; I know I’m interested in the rest of the Pacific Rim, and Hawai’i is a good introduction to these things. But generally speaking? I don’t get the feeling that Hawaiians actually want people to move to Hawai’i.
I think that’s been my biggest issue. I don’t think we’re wanted there — as residents. Visitors? Maybe. But the entire matter of the U.S. “annexation” is false; Hawai’i is not a 50th state, it’s an occupied nation. And the U.S. is doing the occupying. As someone from the mainland U.S., going there…you get my point? Do I want to intrude on indigenous peoples’ land? No. Do I want to try to integrate?…
I’ve recently realized just how much I do fit into my little Bay Area NB niche. The thing is…people with high-paying jobs are continually moving into the area and raising the cost of living, including for housing.
Do I like being part of this? No.
That aside…Hawai’i does, hopefully, have at least a better chance at self-government than some of the places where I have found jobs which are likely to, for example, run out of water. This is the reason I haven’t been considering jobs in Southern California. There are plenty of them: but the natural resources are not — well, speaking of water, they just aren’t there.
Southern California is basically a desert. It has to import water from Northern California — and from other states (I’m thinking of the Colorado River). Northern California estuaries — and aquifers — are already strained, where we’re talking about the Sacramento River and Central Valley. We’ve been getting less and less snowpack to hold the water in the mountains, and in some parts of the Central Valley, the land is subsiding because so much water has been taken out.
This is…something of a perversion of economic theory. People moved to develop where the land was cheap; the land was cheap because it had few natural resources; so we get major metropolitan areas with few natural resources which can’t sustain their own development.
Okay, off of that
I’ve greatly edited this version of this post. I do want to get it out, tonight. When I think about moving someplace outside of the United States…I’m greatly relieved. Maybe this move isn’t such a bad thing.