Sometimes love just isn’t enough. How does one reach someone who is at a point where they are unreachable? How do you let that person know that you love them with all your heart and there isn’t anything you wouldn’t do for them when they’re reached that point where they’ve plunged into a world of darkness and despair?
I feel like such a failure as a mom.
My heart is broken and pained because my happy go-lucky, full of life, confident child I brought into the world with whom I did everything I could to surround him with love almost 17 years ago has descended into a world of darkness and I am unable to reach him.
My teenage son has been cutting. From the looks of the scars, he’s been doing this for a while. My normally happy kid who joked about everything and was always smiling and laughing is now sullen and sad and he spends a lot of time holed up in his room sleeping. The kid who refused to wear long sleeves even in frigidly cold weather for his entire life is now wearing only long sleeves. The kid who loved school and got good grades is suddenly failing classes and consequently, has lost his eligibility to participate in sports at school.
He is in denial that anything is wrong; pacifying my concerns by telling me that the fresh razor wounds all over both arms, along with partially healed wounds as well as old healed up wounds is just his eczema flaring up again due to the cold weather.
Around Chinese New Year, when my dad ripped into us, into him, whatever he felt whether it is not being worthy or his depression must’ve exacerbated because the fresh wounds outnumber the wounds that have healed or are in the process of healing. He even told me after that horrible incident that he no longer wanted to try to have a relationship with my dad because he knows my dad will NEVER accept him or love him the way he loves his other grandchildren. He even got mad at me for lying to him about how deep down, his grandpa really does love him because he knows my dad doesn’t.
I don’t want to blame my dysfunctional family for my son’s problems but their lack of support, constant judgment and criticisms of me as his mom sure doesn’t help matters.
A part of me worries that the cutting will lead to something more serious like suicide but I’m hoping that we have had enough talks about suicide, and how that is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, that he won’t attempt it. I worry that the cuts will get infected. I also worry that one day, without knowing, he will cut a major artery or something and accidentally killing himself without meaning to.
In doing some research on cutting and why people cut, I read that some people cut because they feel desperate for relief from bad feelings and they do not know better ways to get relief from emotional pain or pressure because their coping skills may be overpowered by emotions that are too intense for them to understand and process. I learned that cutting is addictive and compulsive behavior and some teens cut because of peer pressure — and once they start, they can’t easily stop. While other teens who cut, feel pressure to be perfect and struggle to accept failures or mistakes in addition to contending with powerful moods like anger, sadness, worthlessness, and despair that they feel are too hard to control or too heavy to bear.
But until my teenager opens up to me or a counselor, I will never know why he is cutting and chances are, he probably doesn’t know why. I can only assume that he is cutting because he is desperately trying to cope with some really strong and intense emotions he cannot or is unable to express because he hasn’t quite developed effective coping skills to work through difficult and stressful situations yet.
I am still trying to process it all. I feel helpless and alone in this and I am unsure as to how to help my teenager when he refuses to talk to me about what is bothering him. Yeah, the kid who would tell me everything going on in his life has suddenly has shut down and is NOW telling me nothing.
Okay, I have to chime in and put my two cents in on this because my teenage son wondered what world we live in that a man who shot an unarmed 17 year old boy considered a “celebrity?” It’s unfortunate and apparently it is in OUR world where the wrong people are glorified and idolized. It’s really sickening actually and it says a lot about the value system we have in this day and age or more like the lack of a value system or lack of value on human life in general.
What I don’t understand is the rationale behind this “Celebrity Boxing Match” and how Zimmerman is suddenly brave enough and has the balls enough to face a grown man in the ring to garner the attention he so desperately craves yet was terrified of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, a teenager he took upon himself to stalk, follow and fatally shoot that fateful night.
Are promoters so desperate for ratings or an audience that they will just slap a “celebrity” title to just anyone just to make them relevant?? He did nothing great. He never accomplished anything. He is a nobody. The only thing Zimmerman did to earn him a “celebrity” title is that he shot and killed an unarmed 17 year old black teenager and he was acquitted of the charges.
Let’s make it really clear, Zimmerman is not a celebrity…he is a MURDERER, plain and simple…and for whatever reason and twisted logic of our justice system, Trayvon Martin did not get the justice he deserved because Zimmerman got away with his murder.
Let’s just put it out there. My son is a fish and has always been a fish since that first moment I put him in a swimming pool at the age of 3. Whereas most kids that age scream bloody murder the minute their parents put them in water, my son screamed bloody murder when I took him out of the water!
He tells me all the time that he feels MOST at home when he is in the water and when he’s not in water, he feels like he can’t breathe. For him, IM’s doesn’t mean Instant Messaging and H2O isn’t just water, but rather, to swimmers, H2O=2 parts Heart and 1 part Obsession. Water is his life and his passion.
In fact, he was so convinced that when he turned 13, that he would grow gills and can breathe underwater that he actually counted down to the day of his 13th birthday! Finally he thought, he can spend hours on end underwater and not have to leave where he feels most at home. Unfortunately he was sorely disappointed when he didn’t sprout gills and he still couldn’t breathe underwater.
I’m glad my son is such a water baby. It is his love of the water and swimming that has helped his asthma immensely. Ever since he started swimming year-round, he has less asthmatic episodes which also means that we aren’t in the hospital or the ER quite as often as we used to be.
So when I came across the following blog entry entitled “37 Things Only Swimmers Know“, it caught my attention as well as my son the fish. He giggled that he could relate to a majority of what the author listed.
While my son is definitely healthier and more fit than he had been, the downside to my son being in water all the time is that during the swim season, our house and my car reeks of chlorine because there are wet towels and swim jammers strewn about the house to dry! I am convinced that when he sweats, he sweats out chlorine because he’s in the pool so much that the chlorine has become a part of him…but the way I see it, as long as he is doing something he loves, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
omg, this story really hit close to home……while the Jahi McMath story is tragic in every sense of the word and my heart goes out to her family…I can’t begin to imagine what I would do in that same situation…HOWEVER, it pains me to hear Jahi’s family trash Children’s Hospital Oakland when we have received nothing but quality care from the staff for the last 12 years…when my son was so critically ill 12 years ago and almost died, he spent several weeks at Children’s Hospital Oakland… by the time I got my son to the hospital, he was barely breathing (and was going into what I later found out was respiratory failure) and as I was struggling to get him inside the ER, the security guard on duty saw me trying to lift my son and rushed over to where I was, scooped my son up in his arms and ran him inside the hospital where the doctors worked on him immediately!…I was so ready to fall apart especially those first few days when my son wasn’t breathing on his own…and the doctors, nurses and staff were so wonderful to my son in making sure he was getting the best care possible and to make sure I was ok as well…several years later, my son was diagnosed with a sleep apnea and had his tonsils and adenoids taken out at Children’s Hospital Oakland.
I know as a parent we always want more for our children than we had and we definitely want them to achieve more than we ever could. So over the years, from the time my son was old enough to understand me, I always told him that when he was older, he had to go to college so that his future would be a much brighter one than mine. Not that I’ve done all that bad, but things definitely could be better. In my heart, I know had I finished college when I was younger, before I had my son, I probably wouldn’t have had to deal with half the bullshit I did have to go through. But with that being said, I am also a firm believer that things happen WHEN they happen for a reason. Had I changed any single event in my life, I wouldn’t have had my son. He is my everyday blessing and from day one, the light and the focus in my life. Everything I do, I do for him.
While I did go to college, I never finished so I had no action to back up my sentiment and it nagged at me that while I kept telling my son that he had to go to college, I was also being the world’s biggest hypocrite spewing a bunch of meaningless and empty words…telling him he had to do something I never did! So finishing up in December and for my son to actually see me go to college, do well and to accomplish a goal that I had long put off was probably one of the proudest moments of my life! However, this moment will pale in comparison to how proud I will be when I see my son cross the stage to collect his high school, then college diploma!
I knew I was going to finish my three AAs in December and I began actively searching for media positions in all the local news organizations in June. It was disheartening to learn that while I knew with my work ethic, my skillset, life experiences as well as my work experience, I would be an asset to any news organization but unfortunately without a BA under my belt from a 4 year college, NO ONE was willing to give me a chance to prove myself and what an asset I could be…that is, except CBS who responded to my cover letter and called me in for an interview.
My schooling isn’t finished just yet…I’ve just decided to put it on hold temporarily and this time, I am walking away a graduate from Chabot College at the end of the Fall 2013 semester with an AA in Radio and Television Broadcasting, Mass Communications, and Journalism. Whew! What a mouthful right?
And the best news is that a week before finals, I was hired at KPIX 5, our local CBS affiliate.
The truly interesting moment of this whole journey was something my son mentioned when we were talking about me finishing up at Chabot recently. He told me how proud he is of me and the conversation turned to visualizing your dreams and where you want to be. Yes, I know this is something we say all the time but how many of us actually put it into practice? It was one of those brief moments we shared in passing (and I wasn’t sure if he was even listening) all so long ago
that I had forgotten BUT he remembered. It was when I first made the decision to go back to school and though I knew I wanted to do something with media, mass communication or radio & television broadcasting, journalism never entered into the equation. It was interesting how I just fell into it and found that I liked it and slowly realized perhaps that was my true calling. So I had made a comment to my son that one day, my hope is to work at CBS because no matter what I decide to do with my career and whatever path I may choose, CBS is a company that will provide me with options in anything I choose to pursue. So when I got the CBS gig, the long ago conversation we had popped into his head. As he recounted what we had talked about, he then asked, “Is that what you meant when you said to visualize success? You visualized that one day you would be at CBS and here you are at CBS!” I think he was more excited for me than I could ever be which I found so touching and sweet. Yes my teenage son and I may have our moments and our rough patches during these very difficult teenage years, but deep down, we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and he told me that of everyone, he was most proud of me and what I have accomplished.
My 2013 started out with a whimper and it was a really tough year for me. But the upside is that I was determined and persistent and no matter what, I never gave up. Yeah, life knocked me down but I got right back up and as much as I wanted to lay down and die and succumb to all the rejection and disappointments, I didn’t. Perhaps some of my son’s “never say die attitude rubbed off on me” by osmosis and consequently, 2013 ended with a HUGE bang! AND, like the song goes, “the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades!”
the people who have known me forever and have stood by me during this journey known as my life and my single parenthood can attest to the fact that my life has *never* been about sunshine and daisies…but through it all, the struggle and the tears when triumphs and tastes of success were so far and few, I persevered and I never gave up.
deep down, I was hoping with all hopes that things would eventually get better…even at the darkest of times and bleakest of moments, I clung onto the thought that there was light at the end of the tunnel and not just a freight train coming straight at me…
I am so blessed and fortunate for my peeps who stood by me, believed in me and told me that I am stronger than I give myself credit for…but in reality, it was my hope for a better tomorrow and though fearful, taking many blind trembling steps into darkness (all the while, praying I don’t get hit by that freight train!). my son counted on me and he is the reason I wasn’t going to give up!
this is why it feels so awesome to experience firsthand the old saying that while good things come to those who wait and believe, the best things happen for those who don’t give up, no matter what! I love my peeps!!
for the first time in a very long time, I’m in a very good place in my life and things are falling into place in a very positive way…I can’t let the few people passing judgement about me when they should take a good look in the mirror at themselves affect me and the fact that great things are happening for me! in the end, haters are going to hate because they have nothing else going on in their empty, hollow, sad and pathetic lives. life is too short and too precious for me to expend time and energy on such negativity!
For the first 12 years of my son’s life, I wrote the annual Xmas newsletter we send out with our Xmas cards. However, for the last 4 years, my son took over the reins and has been doing the writng (while I did the layout) and it was his idea to do a year end recap of what he remembered most about the past year.
Below is his list for 2013.
What I remember most about 2013
by my teenager
- I finished my first high school wrestling season with an 18-8 record – I even wrestled in a varsity match at NCS because my teammate couldn’t make weight and I won that match!
- I swam my first high school swim season as the only freshman varsity swimmer and got my varsity block!
- I discovered that I am a distance swimmer and not a sprinter. I did my first 500 in 6:15 and kept dropping time after that. The best part was my coach telling me that most freshmen do it in over 7 minutes!
- For choir, I was part of the honor choir, I sang at the District Music Festival. At the Spring Performance called “Song of America,” my solo was called “Big D!” – the irony of it all!
- Shave party and guy liner!
- My swim team tp’d our house and 1) my phone broke because I was rushing out the door to clean up the mess because my mom was mad and 2) I was grounded for it because my mom said I brought the craziness to her house!
- For the summer swim league, it was so cool that my relay team got a first place finish during champs.
- The adventure I had with my friends Daniel and Devanie because my coach confiscated my skateboard the day before champs!
- I got my first job as a lifeguard at Arroyo Swim Center. I spent my entire year trying to get away from school and I spent the summer at school BUTI love having my own money!
- My boss Ami pierced my ears on the same day that I saved a boy from actively drowning while he was taking a swim test.
- I met the legendary Chuy Gomez who was with 106.1’s KMEL for a long time, Fernando (of 99.7 NOW’s Fernando and Greg) and Lisa St. Regis (of 98.1 KISS FM) because my mom is part of the radio station at her school.
- Star Wars Day 2013- Thank you Auntie Cindy for the tickets and all the adventures we had that day! I got autographs from J.T. Snow and Hunter Pence!
- Batkid Saves Gotham – My mom was covering this for a story and took me with her. I ended up at the spot where the Penguin was kidnapping Lou Seal and I got to the guy who played the Penguin and I took pictures for my mom’s story.
- I know I win the most radioactive award and most injuries award this year: I got pushed off my bike after school and we thought I broke my arm. Then at a wrestling match because the coach didn’t want the guy to get a bye, I wrestled up and the guy’s elbow landed on my collarbone. Then, while helping bring the water cooler in at wrestling practice, the water cooler fell on my finger.
- FINALLY getting my letterman jacket (thanks Auntie Ginger!) and…
- My mom graduating with not one but three degrees and getting a job at CBS!
found this on my Facebook wall this morning…
and the best feeling in the world is knowing that despite the horrible teenage years, that WAY DEEP DOWN INSIDE, my teenager really does appreciate me…
my mom shows me everyday of my life that hard work pays off and to never give up. there have been a lot of times over the years, i’ve seen her struggle, get discouraged and many times, she wanted to give up because she wondered if what she is doing is the right thing but she never gave up. our friends, our ohana, never let her. my mom wanted more for us. i know she wanted more for me so i never let her. 3 years ago, when she went back to school to finish something she didn’t finish before i was born, she didn’t get to take her final with her class because my great-grandma passed away. here she is 3 years later, a few finals away from getting not just one but three degrees. this is why i’m so very proud of her and glad she is MY mom. i love you mom! good job! you did it!!
2014 is going to be an awesome year! 2 more finals then I’m done and off to embark on new adventures! love my peeps! thank you for always encouraging me and never letting me give up EVER!!