I'm coming home

It has been a very long journey of seventeen years. I still have the gifts you sent me. You might recognize those balls of thread, those beads. I remember the tea I drank. Some of you sent me tea and yarn. I remember you were worried that the yarn might smell of cigarettes because you smoked. But there was nothing to worry about. There is a tatting needle there too. I bought it from one of you. The large wooden bowl is a gift from my mother, the little one is a gift from a university in Taiwan. I used to light incense sticks with a match. But one day I got a lighter because the wind kept blowing out the fire. There is a sewing kit. I did not buy it. My husband did. He buys sewing kits when he is alone.

The small blue picture frame holds a photo of piglets I had seven years ago. Two piglets about a week old are fighting over a bottle of milk. One of them is Bootleg. The other is Brownie. All the piglets died. Only Bootleg survived. He is the sire of all my pigs today. The photo is fading. I live on an island and the sea is about 400 meters away. The sea blows with the wind and fades photographs very quickly. I used to keep an album of photographs, but the images fade within a year. I learn to just let the memories be. I try learn to stop holding on to the past.

A couple of weeks ago, I started cleaning up years of objects in the house. I threw or gave away many things. Nearly all of my crochet garments and table covers are somewhere else now. I no longer saw a reason why they should take up space in the house. I have a light and wonderful feeling. I kept only a few things. The yarn catalogs from Lotus Yarns are lovely. Maybe one day I will get some yarn again. I still have some yarn. But for now I see no need. I will only throw away more things.

I made this. The yarn is a gift from my sister. The two colors are very pleasing to the eye. This is where I make coffee in the morning. I don't make coffee everyday. I have moved the furniture recently. I have a much better feeling for space now. For many years I didn't have space within me. I was not free.

Not all my photos faded. I think I had this photo taken for a travel visa. This is twenty or more years ago. The little frame is made of volcanic ash from Mt. Pinatubo. It is a souvenir from an aunt's birthday. When I saw this photo on the bookshelf while I was cleaning up, I threw it away. A couple of weeks later while cleaning up the garbage, I saw this photo again. I decided to keep it. I put the photo on a plastic drawer. The plastic drawer is ugly. My husband bought it. I took this drawer out of my bedroom. It is in the living room now. I started to decoupage it with receipts of things we bought over the past twelve years. I still have to continue working on this. I stopped because my husband made unkind remarks about it. But I will continue when I am ready.

I can't remember when I brought this with me to Bohol. The image is a copy of a drawing my father made in 1973. That's me. My mother made this copy. She placed it inside the frame of a broken wall clock. My nephew was barely five years old when he wrote those numbers on the frame. My mother hang this on her bedroom wall. One day she gave it to me. This hangs on the wall of the living room now. I am very happy about it. Years back, I felt sad looking at this portrait. Then one day, less than two months ago I saw it differently. I saw myself as a child of three years. I felt deep compassion for the child. I promised to take care of that child for the rest of my life.

It was November 2010 when my husband and I left Manila to live permanently on Bohol island. Christmas season begins in September, so there were plenty of Christmas decorations being sold in the shops in Manila. I bought a few. This sock is one of them. I love the red color. After twelve years the color is still vibrant. This stayed on the door for the past 11 years. I decided to bring it into the living room to brighten up the place. I'm happy about it.

Beside the bed I have hooks to hang clothes and other things onto. I have a woven fan, at night I hang my eyeglasses there too. I made a beaded string holder for my eyeglasses. The machete is very sharp and very large. It is used for slaughtering animals. There are two holes in the woven bamboo wall where I plunged the machete. I stabbed the wall instead of myself or my husband. I was never a violent person until two years ago when I went to a psychologist. He is a very well-known psychologist in Bohol. He writes a column for the newspaper, teaches at university, runs a private school for children and actively preaches in religious meetings. I believed he was well-skilled and well-trained but he wasn’t. I suffered in therapy. He let me become dysregulated uncontrollably in his clinic for almost one hour each session. He did not give me any in-between sessions to manage my emotions. I was expected to get better without being taught any skills on how to get better. Then the psychologist wrote a psychotherapy report that blamed me and my husband for my suffering. When I wrote a complaint about his incompetent and harmful practice, he sent an email to my husband threatening me. I became worse. I hurt myself many times. I hit my head, my chest and my vagina. I tied ropes tightly around my neck. I tried to hang myself.

Today I am making a new painting. I don't want to hurt that 3-year old child. I am away from my family. My husband gives me no emotional comfort and security. My problems began when we started living together seventeen years ago. I asked for help several times. But the psychiatrists and psychologists did not know how to help me.

Anki made this for me. The girl has an umbrella but it could not protect her from the rain. The cow is drinking the rainwater. There are ponds that collect rainwater in the garden. When the big typhoon came there was no electricity and no running water for almost two months. The rainwater kept our animals from getting thirsty. I tried not to cry when I saw this image. I know that girl is me. I don't have a cow but I have pigs.

I am sure I will crochet again. I will write patterns again. I just don't know when that will happen. You probably remember me saying this before. I have said this several times before. I was trying to kill myself many times several months ago. Today I am alive.