Meet Guest Author Stacy Gleiss…

stacy-gleissI 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.

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“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. 

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19 thoughts on “Meet Guest Author Stacy Gleiss…

    • Hello Jinlobify! Thank you for asking about the healing piece of my journey.

      That process was really rough actually. When I decided to leave it was rather abrupt…like jumping off a cliff and scraping myself off the pavement.

      I used Japan for another six years after I left my abusive husband– sleeping with several Japanese men and eventually marrying a more modern younger gentleman. During those years I was also an technical interpreter for Japanese automotive engineers so I spoke the language all day and at home. Being “in the culture” all the time, eventually certain aspects began to really get under my skin. Sure I had married poorly at first, but frankly I could not longer accept the way women were generally treated. At last the culture became completely bitter to me and my mind rejected it.

      To heal I had to leave it all behind and start new. I moved, met a nice American man (my husband Kent) and took work with a US company. That all really helped, but given the fact that I had children who suffered multiple traumas at their hands of their father and their co-dependent mother there was significant fallout to face. For that, I accepted Christ. I simply realized I needed someone bigger than any man or man-made culture/institution. It might not be everyone’s choice, but it has helped me survive beyond day to day and be available to others.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much John for reblogging this post. I greatly appreciate you spreading the word.

      Bonsai is a tale of cultural obsession– how an insecure young person or adult can naively fall for someone or some place with vastly different values, beliefs, and ways from their own and as a result find themselves accepting/tolerating practices they never would have had otherwise.

      I see some of this today with young people who seem to worship Japanese anime and comics. They watch scenes that would be completely unacceptable here in the US and dismiss the content as “culture” and “no problem” when in fact there are long held beliefs and values in Japan that shape what they are watching.

      Thank you again John!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. A deeply moving post Stacey the comparison to a pruned and contorted bonsai being shaped to a ‘creator’s will is both powerful and deeply disturbing. Even as I write the image is playing in my mind. Thank you for your elegantly told story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sally how very kind of you to share! I want so much for young people to realize the importance of protecting the good aspects of their own culture and to take care when entering exotic places where values, beliefs and cutoms can be vastly different from their own.

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