Sunday, January 29, 2006

Love & Gratitude

I had a huge fight with my parents this morning. I needed them to get hold of some papers for my job and fax them over to me. My dad said he couldn’t do it. No reason, no explanation, just that he couldn’t do it. My mom said she didn’t know what to do and progressively got more anxious as I tried to explain. Then she finally said, "Don’t ask me. You know I am no good at things like this." Any other time I would have given up halfway through and said, "Okay. You know what. Forget it. I will find another way." But today I didn’t. Today suddenly years of anger and pain found a voice.

I have been more or less taking care of myself since I was 11, I have been fully financially independent since I was 18 and I have sent a lot of money home over the last 10 years, money that I could have put towards my own future. They owed me this. For every time my mother yelled at me that I ruined her life by being born, for every time my dad missed a school play or a birthday which was pretty much every single time, they owed me this. For not being able to protect me from the bastard across the hall when I was little, they owed me this.

All these words came rushing out. Tears of rage and fury flew with abandon. And then I cut my mother off as she started to say something and hung up.

I felt horrible afterwards but I blamed my parents for that too. Years of emotional blackmail has left me unable to even express justified hurt without beating myself up. Nothing I said was untrue. Why would I feel bad? I wasn’t going to apologize.

I stubbornly ignored the blinking message light knowing it was my mother. I also knew that she was bound to say something that’d make me feel worse. So I unplugged the phone and went shopping. I was supposed to meet John at the gym today. I had emailed him yesterday, he had emailed back, we had spent some time on IM and then agreed to meet up at the gym at 9. I didn’t go. Instead I went to first Nordstrom, then the grocery store and then to Blockbuster.

After I got back from the store I put the groceries away and put in Laws of Attraction. I have always wanted to see it but never got around until today. But I couldn’t concentrate. Halfway through the movie I paused the dvd unable to take anymore and started thinking.

Once there were two young kids very much in love and with great dreams for the future. But fate had other plans for them. They got married and embarked on what they thought was going to be a life of sweet romance and happy songs. Instead, the boy got caught up in student revolt and went to jail. It was the end of 60’s - early 70’s after all. The girl gave up med school to take a job as a bank clerk so she could care for her crying infant.

He came from a long line of blue bloods. Elitist arrogance and sense of entitlement from years of privileged existence permeated their very being. She was an immigrant, a refugee’s daughter. Her family had once been revered for their honesty and generosity in their community. They were pillars of the society in their own land. But here they were nothing. They lived in a cramped one room living quarters trying to decide how many kids the parents could afford to send to school while working with dogmatic persistence to make something of themselves.

It was cupid’s little joke. That chubby diapered freak thought playing with my parents’ life would be a great laugh.

Both sets of parents begged them not to get married. They didn’t listen of course. They thought love would conquer all. It didn’t. My dad’s family never accepted them. My mom’s family tried to help the young just-marrieds but their means were meager at best. Very soon the young couple was trapped in an existence that battered them from every side, thwarted their dreams, crushed their spirit, stole their youth and left them with nothing but heartache and despair.

I feel this in my veins. I know what my parents have been through. How can I be mad at people who have had so little? Just because I have had hard times doesn’t mean I have any right to ignore the plight of others. Just because some bad things happened to me doesn’t mean the things that happened to them do not deserve acknowledgement. Maybe my dad should have been there when I needed him. Maybe my mom shouldn’t have said I ruined her life. But what kind of a life did they have? They deserved happiness, they deserved the finer things in life. They never got those. Is that fair?

It is so easy to get trapped in your own existence, think of no one but yourself. We are all guilty of that at one time or another. But my life would be a bigger waste if I got so wrapped up in myself that I couldn’t see other people’s pain. My mother gave up her dreams, took care of us (my dad never quite got back to life. He was imprisoned for his ideals. That’s hard enough to deal with. His family who had enough clout to have helped him did nothing because they didn’t want their name associated with him, even more so after he married my mom. That was harder.) She gave up her dream of being a doctor to work as a bank clerk and put up with jerk bosses, sticky situations, years of bad pay and humiliation so my brother and I could have some semblance of normalcy in our lives. At times, beaten by life, they let their anger show. And now I am repaying them with mine.

I finally picked up the phone just now and called home. Sympathy is cryptonite to people who are not used to getting much of it. I knew one word too nice and my mom would break down. So I just said, "I behaved badly. I am under stress and I took it out on you. I had no right to do that. You have been there for me all my life. Maybe not the way I wanted but they way you could. I am sorry mom." She started to cry and then, of course, she forgave me. Like she always has for every stupid thing I have ever done.

I am not as good a person as I can be and most days I don’t care. And then there are days when I do. For all my faults and all their mistakes my parents must have done something right for me to have that 1 ounce of awareness. That’s the best gift they could have given me. They don't owe me anything more.

1 Comments:

Blogger beefdrop said...

Wow, rightly said. Something that I havn't gotten into, in my blog, is the part of my life where I was living in a party house with my friends, and had this girlfriend that dropped out of highschool to party with me and work. Well, we discovered she was pregnant. We had previously discussed what we'd do if the situation came up, and we followed those plans of sticking together and doing our best for our little creation, our baby. I changed jobs and also enroled fulltime in school (college), while my girlfriend re entered high school, and continued working. We both moved back in with our parents, (which was nearly impossible for me due to certain issues), but we did it. We emmediatly stopped hanging out with our previous crowds, as they were only a temptation to party. Every moment that we weren't working or in school, we spent together, (except at night, we were forced to go our own ways). Our son was born, we purchased a new house, I finished school, she finished school, we got married, moved into our new place, and have been going hard since. This summer will be our 4th yr anniversary, and our son is turning 5 next week. I think the inspiration for me sharing this, is that through my parenthood so far, I've been able to come to the realization that parents are just people, like you and me, and the young adults expectations that their parents should have done this or that, is really unreasonable, as most parents really do the best they can and know how. And I know that my son, at some point, will look at me and blame me for my imperfect attempt at parenthood, because that just how it works. But I also will atticipate his general coming around, and realization the he'll have the same shit to go through himself. Yup.

1/31/2006 1:42 PM  

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