Sunday, June 17, 2012

Volume on Low

I didn't know the heart has a volume control and it can be turned on low. I learned that when our daughter said something that shocked me and slapped me in the face that any woman could say what she did and have been raised by us.

Any other time it would have been so painful that such words were said, but when the heart is on low volume, it doesn't go through all of "what that must mean" stuff and makes it much easier to roll with it. The heart doesn't branch out into the future ramifications and consequences and over analyze it. It becomes like, "uh-huh. Interesting. You think that?"

I replay what she said which is sick. Am I testing if the volume has been turned up? It kind of becomes that for a moment and I hope writing it down helps me not go back to that startling conversation anymore.

We're going up to visit Maki and her boyfriend Adam in Hillsboro tonight for a Father's Day dinner for Will. We never did Father's Day because as Japanese and as tribe, there are ceremonies during the spring instead with such significance and, well, fathers are important every day. But with the volume low, this desire for Maki who never learned about it and when she did, wasn't into her fathers, is kind of sweet. And her way of celebrating it, dinner, is pleasant conversation to catch up on her life. Tomorrow she is excited to show me the shopping spots. I will enjoy seeing anything in Portland so it's ok with me too. Then back HOME for all of us, two homes so very different.

In America, that's the way it's supposed to be.

So I say thank you Granny for taking that volume knob in my heart and switching it down as quickly as possible when the words slapped me across the face.

Maki was a little girl, living her reality with her wits, taken out of that reality without even a howdy doo and thrown into a family, not of her choosing, and in every way unfamiliar. How does anyone feel in control of self, or happy in such a circumstance. What if you were a kid with absolutely no knowledge of an adult model or what being taken care of looked or felt like, and you get Mom and Dad, impediments to moments of freedom and fun between a reality you left behind which was navigable and managed fear. Why am I surprised you could not let go of that feeling about reality - something which had to managed and navigated by your sense of fun and gifts as being safety.

Then she turned 15 and her body is like running the show, her survival tools propelled her away from family to danger == but what is the difference with danger like her formative years? She knew this game. She knew this terrain. She had the skills and she didn't learn it from being in a family or teachers.

She learned everything by the school of experience, not by listening to anyone but her own internal voice. And she had Grandma and the Winnemem Sacred Places when she is afraid and family to return to when in need. Life lived on her terms.

She is not afraid and in need right now. She is living that norm she craved. She has a boyfriend, a house, a car, a job, a life and friends, and a family a couple hours down the freeway. She has order. She has a family, the one she would have chosen if anyone had asked her for her opinion when she was five.

Bless her. Bless her. Bless her. And thank you Grandma for bringing her here safely without us. Thank you for those stretches of time once a month and a month in the summer which were oasis of safety and upbringing for our family until she left at 15. It was enough to bring her to where she is today.

Thank you Grandma for turning down the volume.

Thank you for her life and my life, and once in awhile a visit shopping together and having fun when life of fab and life of Winnemem meet in between.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

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. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.