I live fully planted in the fertile soil of my native state; enjoying outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting and watching sunsets over Lake Michigan. But I wasn’t always here. For many years my soul was elsewhere.
I was born and raised in nowhere special. A rural Michigander, a real bumpkin whose feet were always black and leathery in the summer. Culture to me was playing in the woods and streams…that is until a mysterious flyer about an exchange program appeared in our rural route mailbox. This little piece of paper brought a girl named Yuki to our house. The year was 1979 and she became my best friend whether she wanted to be or not.
This is how it all started for me. I was still in high school when I first traveled to Japan and it was mesmerizing. I had only known Japan from old encyclopedias and post war history films. Shoot, I thought Japan was all geisha and rickshaws! But when I got there I could not believe all of the technology, cute character goods like Hello Kitty…and culture up the ying yang! Everything seemed to have significance and meaning.
Instantly I was hooked and set out to immerse myself and somehow become Japanese. And as misfortune would have it, before even leaving Japan, I met a Japanese man who was more than willing to teach a naive American teen how to do things the proper way and two years from that day I married him.
Unbeknownst to me he was in fact, a vile pedophile.
This I would not realize until five years in.
While I was still a child really when I married, a free-spirited Michigan white pine-of-a-girl, I would be retrained to do just about everything the proper Japanese way and over the span of the next decade I regressed. I became much smaller in mind…constantly worried about getting too old for him and doing things just so.
By the time I managed to break free from the wires that controlled my branches and the tiny pot that bound my roots, it was clear to many that I was not well. From that point my poor choices cost me nearly everything; but worst of all, it cost someone very important much more.
“Hello. My name is Stacy and I’m a recovering Japanaholic”– a selfish person who binged on a culture because it suited me.
For what should have been the sweetest years of my life I chased moon rabbits…the cute and clever Japan I fell in love with on my first trip.
I ignored precarious customs and norms thinking the good demons we invited in for the purpose of exorcising evil from our home would prevail and keep us safe.
But all along, the seed sowing monkey, my ex who controlled us, sat on his haunches and waited for his chance.
To the detriment of everything I chose my drug.
My book, The Six-Foot Bonsai, is my attempt at piecing together what occurred– what I saw, my warped thinking…and what, in the end, I had to admit about my ex, aspects of the culture I adored…and most of all myself.