Friday, October 21, 2016

From Afar

You get angry. You lash out. You throw things around. You say things- things that may be true, things that may not be, either way they are things meant to hurt us. You pretend to be strong, standing all by yourself, but your solitary image just looks pitiful from where I stand. I know better than to believe the brave face you put on. Years of having one-sided conversations with you have taught me that you are far more vulnerable than you'd like to admit. I know because I listened. Now, if only you knew how to do that. If only you did not allow a mere number like age become such a great divide between us.

You are the woman who never asked me how I was doing no matter how dreadful I must have looked. And, so you are a woman we never asked about because by never asking us that question, you never gave us permission to ask it of you. You live on pride and you believe in a rigid hierarchy. So much so that asking that simple question can be misconstrued as an affront to you. Regardless, I know how you are doing. Or, at least, I know as much as what I can glean from your actions, your words and the feelings you try to hide.

You are the woman whose silent cries move me to tears even if my own tears never seemed to move you. Life is harsh, with numerous obstacles in the way. Humans were not made to live life alone. Yet, you seem to keep trying to do this. You boast about the things you've managed to do on your own and claim that you need no one. But in the solitude of your room, you hunch your back- weighed down by the world- and shed quiet tears. I am sorry. I understand your struggles but I cannot share them. Our inability to level with each other makes it impossible to share burdens. And, in the end, I struggle tremendously under the weight of your accusations of my indifference, the pressure to make something of the life you so "generously" gave to me, and my own need to become who I was meant to be.

You are the woman who never says 'sorry' and 'thank you' but always forces those words from us. What has the world come to that now gratitude and remorse are things that are demanded from people? Are these not feelings that need to be born of sincerity? We've argued this to you, of course, but you just raised your voice higher as if being louder means you are right. Do you not hear the contempt behind the words we grudgingly mutter? Have you become that indifferent or do you just not know sincerity? Humans are imperfect. Everyone makes mistakes. But you never admit to yours because you believe that to fulfill your role you must be irreproachable. I keep saying that you are not, but I don't get to say that, do I? Because I am lower than you.

You are a woman whose self-centered words make your selfless acts meaningless. You insist you are self-sacrificing, yet in every opportunity you get you demand that we pay you back for the career you could have had, the blissful single life you could have enjoyed. You say you did everything for us in the same breath that you admit that you wish we hadn't been born. You are lost in your own pool of regrets and, with no one else to blame, you blame us. You say I am a child- ignorant of the world. But I know this thing- they are not really sacrifices if you have to keep demanding us for the cost of what you lost. And so, your continuous nagging make it almost impossible for me to feel grateful to you.

You are a narcissitic perfectionist. You need everything to be perfect and done in the way you would do it- because in your mind, your way is the best way. You have so much confidence in yourself- your abilities, your knowledge. You think you are superior to everyone. It must be the god complex doctors have. So, you micromanage everything and then claim that you are exhausted, not realizing that it was you who overexerted yourself. You don't realize the difference between things you must do and things you do because you cannot bear to see someone else do it in a "substandard" way. If only you can let go of the reins just a little bit, you would not feel as weary as you look.

You are the woman who, according to this blasted thing called a birth certificate, is my mother but I never felt that you were one. You are my biological mother but you did not raise me. Based on conventional roles, I would label you more as a father- the provider, the disciplinarian. Regardless, I am connected to you by a bond I cannot sever. It is a curious connection. After all, it is one that demands that I love you even before I was old enough to utter the word. But it does not make me automatically like you.

You are the woman I am most indebted to. In my calm and composed state, I am able to recognize all the things that you have gone through for us and I will always be grateful for that. But when you speak to me and you say things you need to say to feel better about yourself, I can feel bits and pieces of myself being chipped off. You make me feel small to make yourself feel strong. You make me doubt my self-worth to reinforce yours. And, until we can talk on the same level and come to an understanding, I can never like you.

In the end, all I want to say is that I love you. Neither one of us is perfect and I know that. I'm waiting for the time that you acknowledge that, too. I will always love you. But, I need to love myself, too. You know all the chinks in my armor and you insist on shooting at them. You so easily break down the barriers I thought were impenetrable. So, I'll go far away from you. Because distance is my last defense. I will keep loving you from afar because that is the only way I can also still love myself.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Out of the Bubble

It's ridiculous. I can remember so vividly how much I've longed to finally be done with school. To finally be free of having to deal with home works, projects, exams. To finally have full control of my life. I thought that was what being an adult meant. I thought it would mean freedom from the suffocating restraints of school and overbearing parents. I thought it would mean freedom from the unwarranted expectations of teachers and peers. I thought it would mean freedom to do what I've always wanted to do.

The world that I was so eager to explore now seem too big, too wide, too vast. And, I am nothing more than a small existence in this great space that I feel like I could get swallowed whole in an instant. I have no direction. I have no destination. And, at times, I feel like I don't even know where I currently stand.

The force of the world is so strong- comparable to the raging currents of an overflowing river. And, in that river, I am but a small fish doing my best to find my own direction, regardless of the flow of the water. I am exhausting all my energy, but with no destination in mind, I can only try my best to keep myself in that same spot so I don't get lost any further. Someone told me that falling back on your own life plan is better than being in the same spot, never moving forward nor back. So, should I let myself rest and allow the currents to carry me whichever way it wants?

The world is vast. Yes, I've known that. But I didn't realize that suddenly being thrown out of the protective bubble I've been in would make me so incapable of making a decision. There are so many what-if's, so many could-there-be's. I worry what will happen if I do something, then worry again about the consequences if I don't do it. I thought I had freed myself of my chains, only to realize that I have wound around me a thousand more- chains of doubt, of uncertainty, of fear. I do not feel any freer than I was before.

As a person of considerable talent with more than a healthy amount of ego and ambition, I have many dreams. There are many things I want to grasp within my hands but reality has taught me that it isn't as easy as I once thought it would be. I see the routes to each aspiration at the same time that I see the hurdles that block my way. I want to have them all but cannot even envision the way beyond those obstacles. And, as such, my dreams have become nothing more than drawings on the sand with the waves crashing in to erase what little progress I've made.

I am lost. I have no direction. I have no destination. And, even with a destination, I cannot see past the darkness that hovers over my path. My uncertainty makes me hesitate. My fear plants my feet on the ground. And, each day, little by little, my hope dims. In my current state, I am bound to fail.

I wasn't ready. I still am not ready.

But, then again, are we ever really ready for anything?

Monday, June 13, 2016

I Love Her.

I didn't feel anything.

I kept waiting for the guilt, the remorse. But the feeling never came. Perhaps, I should be basking in the glory of triumph? But, I didn't feel victorious either. Instead, I just kept watching and laughing along as my favorite variety cast finished their missions.

It was ridiculously easy to push the whole incident to the back of my mind and keep acting as though it had never happened. That is, until the reality of it all caught up to me. I didn't feel anything. I was numb. Had I become a hollow shell of the person I supposedly am?

Maybe it's nothing. Maybe this is just how it's supposed to be. Maybe I just analyze too much. Maybe I should have had just let the memory slip away into the darkness until it was forgotten. But, it's too late now. The moment I realized my lack of reaction, I was done for. Doubt crept in. Guilt flooded my soul. But it is fear that reigns over my heart. Fear that came about because I. Felt. Nothing.

It was a huge argument. But every argument we have is huge. Still. I believe we provoked each other in the way that we always manage to do. It all went the way it usually does between us. She speaks her side. I defend myself. She disregards everything I say because, by birth, I will always be beneath her. I don't condone that notion and that will always be the barrier between us. She says her piece and believes that she has rightfully won. I speak up because I am an impetuous child who believes in respect for each other's opinion regardless of station. She thinks she wins by default. I think I win because of my impudent but totally logical defense. In the end, she leaves only to keep coming back to rain sermons about my manner of speech, my stance and my facial expressions.

The thing is, we love each other. We don't say it to each other. I can swear that she has never said those words to me before and I admit that I have only muttered them to her a handful of times. But, I know without a doubt that she loves me and that I love her. And, with that love comes my respect for her. I respect her even if she doesn't believe it. Love and respect are supposed to be universal languages. Except for us, apparently. I think it's because we have different understanding of the concept of love and respect. So, we have different expectations of how we should be to each other. And, we are two people who have difficulty with compromise. We stand rigid with our own principles and views of life.

So, in the end, she says I'm disrespectful, ungrateful and inconsiderate. I say, we have communication problems.

I love her. And we had an argument. And I felt nothing. Now, I feel scared like a child. Because, I'm not supposed to feel nothing. I'm scared because I don't want our constant disagreements and differences in opinions to change who I am. I don't want to be an empty husk, a shell. And, I'm scared. I'm scared. And, I'm suddenly sorry. Because I know that I hurt her. But I chose not to do anything about it. Because no matter how I deny it, I got hurt, too.

What have I become?

I've heard people say that no parent can ever win over their children. I've always snorted at them, half out of indignation, half out of envy. I never felt like she ever let me win. My mother is a strong, proud woman. And, it is very difficult, and often quite infuriating, to live with that kind of person. But then, I am as stubborn and proud as she is. And, so I must think that she finds me no less difficult and infuriating as I find her.

But all these analyses mean nothing. Because I know that, in the end, I will still choose to do nothing. Because I have already bent and bowed more times than I believed right. If I do it again, I'm afraid that I'll break. And, she... Well, she is a more rigid person than I am that bending is simply out of the question.

And, so we stand at an impasse. She'll lick her wounds and I'll lick mine. She'll eventually stop glaring at me and I'll continue to ignore my guilt, holding on to the fact that she hurt me, too. It's childish. On both sides. But I need time to forgive her for not being the kind of mother I expected. And I need time to forgive myself for being unable to be the child she wants me to be. And, we'll go back to our routine of saying barely five words to each other every day. Eventually, through the years, those five words might become a rarity even in a month. Or maybe we'll find a way to finally see each other in better light. But at the moment, I know that the best we can do is to tolerate each other. And, that is enough.

But, this thing I know. Between parent and child, there can be no winner. No side can walk away without a scar. No side can walk away without having to heave a heavy heart. I think that's what it means to be a family- to be bound by something that is thicker than water.