“It is not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.”– Hans Selye
2020 was a hellish year for most people on the globe. We had coronavirus. The USA had a very divided and rocky election. Riots in the news. Police shootings on our cellphones. Even my father succumbed to such a shitty year passed midway through it. The word “rough” doesn’t seem to do it justice. My 2020 was especially troubling, however, not due to the pandemic. To be honest, for all of the horrors that the global pandemic brought, it really left me feeling more intrigued than concerned. I see these sorts of situations, sympathies to all who lost loved ones, as an opportunity for societal growth, but that’s a conversation for a different day. No, my 2020 was a heaping pile of shit for an entirely different reason. A heaping pile of shit that rocked me to my core and put a scare in me that no man or woman should ever have to experience.
In the mid-portion of 2014, I was living in the grimy town of Fuzhou, China. Nothing particularly special about this town, outside of the filthy-delicious street-food. But during this time of esoteric exploration in my life, I met a girl. Nothing special about her. Met her through friends during one night at a KTV–a dedicated Karaoke establishment with small rooms for private parties to sing and get drunk together. We spoke through text messages once or twice, no real courtship. Then, one dark and stormy evening, I received a request through the now infamous “Wechat” app. “Do you want to get a massage? My treat…” I don’t know about you but a professional massage is hard to turn down, especially in a country that specializes in the intricacies of its technique and application. So, I said “yes”.
This encounter, as I’m sure some of you might have guessed, turned physical. A week after this encounter, I receive another message. “I am trying to find a way to move to America. I would like to offer you $60,000 to marry me for a visa. I will pay you in installments over the course of 4 years. What do you think?” The words made me chuckle. Though not the first time I had been offered this in China (it’s relatively common) this was the first one that gave me cause for caution. I turned her down… only to receive a counter offer the next day of $100,000. Though the sum of cash would have felt rather smooth in my hand, I had grown rather used to not feeling penetrated in my @$$hole and quickly declined, in addition to severing contact with this individual, fearing the grime being unable to wash off in my next shower.
I found myself moving back to the states. I heard little from the girl until she wanted to “expand her business” here in the states. Finding myself short on work, I felt inclined to take up the offer. Soon after learning that too was a grimed up attempt to make money here in the States, I again back away from her–until I received another message. Angry. Sad… Drunk. She texted me complaining about the bad night she was having–something rather unusual from her as we were far from being emotionally close in any capacity–and I told her that in times of dismay, I look at a picture of my dog. She promptly replied “I don’t need a dog, when I’m upset I look at him.” The photo that followed dropped me to my knees. I remember the corner where it happened. I remember the tree. Here in the states with a blossoming relationship, headed towards its own beautiful future, here was this nightmare from the past, telling me I had a son.
“Holy shit” wouldn’t convey the thoughts running through my mind. The road was dark and empty, not to mention very quiet–silent enough for my thoughts to rattle away with the loudest of echoes as I took each step forward. Here was a girl that I very clearly wanted to distance myself from, telling me that I had a son already alive and well… on the other side of the planet. Quickly, I made plans to head back to China.
Landing in that country brought back the feelings of everything I sought to leave behind. I will, perhaps, share more of my experiences abroad at another time, but I will say this: China is a beautiful experience as long as you know you can leave. When you feel like you’re becoming a local, it is time to GO. The smog. The 1920’s style of societal considerations. I saw, on many occasions, elderly and young people crossing the road, only for drivers to nearly hit or flat out HIT them and then blame the pedestrians for not giving them the right of way.
This trip, however, bore an additional stress. I came back for a blood test. Though this beautiful young boy resembled me in every capacity, I needed to know, because there was no way I could abandon a child of my blood and not bring him into my life.
-Spoiler Alert: He Was My Son
The discovery changed my life. I eventually made my way back home and told my family the news. My mother, father, and grandmother were quite excited. As an American, they know these things happen and were simply happy to see what would come of it. My newly wed wife on the other hand, well, let’s say that those were a rough few months. That said, she has been a TROOPER.
The first visit of my little boy to come here wasn’t too bad… until the girl started trying to get “fresh” as my in the hood would say. Things did not turn sour, though, until she learned I was married (not that there was any indication of any sort, on any planet or culture in the universe that anything would blossom between she and I).
Screaming. Blocking me from talking to my son. Threats to stalk my wife. Physical attacks when I would visit my little boy. Years of this ensued. It would always get better once she went home but she always sought for a way to stay here in the States. In 2019, my wife and I decided it was time to make a change. When my son came to visit that Fall, his body was emaciated. She dropped him off without a plan and a suitcase full of snacks. That is not an exaggeration, she literally packed a suitcase, not a backpack, full of cookies and candy, no clothes, no toothbrush, and got back on an airplane. That would be the end of her custody custody. My son would live with me from now on.
Sadly, this is not the end to this story. After death threats, stalking my mother and attempts to find my home, I entered a very expensive lawsuit with this individual, one filled with lies and manipulation, with accusations of bullshit abuse that the police virtually laughed off, and attempts to accuse me of kidnapping. I faced the potential loss of my son. The fear of him being taken back to China and me never being able to see or hear from him again. Yet, I had to find a way to cope, to stay strong and confident throughout this process. It is not geared to give the benefit of the doubt towards men. Mothers DO received first consideration and are indeed granted extra exception (in many cases, I understand why).
That said, the day of judgement came. I was awarded sole physical custody and she was forced into court-ordered therapy with a few hours per week. Elation describes my sentiment well, but I share this story with you because it served as a great awakener. Many of us believe that you can “think” a better situation into existence. I’ve heard countless people say that positive thinking and vision-boards can manifest your life’s desires.
No, that is frankly, bullshit. You can indeed bring in positive experiences but we all need to understand that shitty things do indeed happen and that there are some very horrible people in the world with very horrible intentions. You cannot always keep these people out of your life, especially as you expand your influence and set out to grow your endeavors. Success attracts the leeches. That said, knowing that you can get through any storm that passes overhead may give you the power to produce a better future through planning, and encouragement will certainly steer you in the right direction.
Let the horrors of life be storms that water your seeds. Your plans and preparation are these seeds. Don’t wait for external circumstances to decide your fate for you, because you never know who or what is going to plant itself into your yard.
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