This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I just dropped off my family

at the BART station, after a three-day visit. It (the visit) was almost more than I could handle, as my family's criticisms cut very deep. The thing is, I'd rather be happy than wealthy. I'd rather spend ten dollars at an independent bookstore than five for the same thing at a chain. I spoil myself in certain ways because I like to feel pretty. But ultimately, as long as I have food, friends, and a door to close, the basics are covered. I'd rather risk dying alone and lonely than marry someone I don't love and who doesn't love me. I don't plan to take a job unless I'm convinced that I would enjoy working at the place and they would like me, too. I would never, ever, ever be happy living in a gated neighborhood next to a golf course. We're all going to die in the end, so why on earth should I settle for less than what feels right to me? But in my family's presence, I feel oppressed by their way of doing things. It's as though by doing what I'd like to do, they think I'm being judgmental.

Halfway through their trip I took my family by bus to visit Matty. Without thinking I walked them to the wrong bus stop, and then it occurred to me that we needed to be on the opposite side of the street. When I explained that we needed to cross, my father said that I hadn't changed a bit, and my mother snickered. Actually, I've changed a great deal in the 23 years I've been entirely on my own: I joined the Peace Corps, moved to California, bought a house, earned my Master's, planned a wedding, cancelled a wedding, moved to San Francisco, started my life all over again from scratch, and sold my house. How could I possibly go through all that and remain the same? But one thing hasn't changed: I am not flawless, and I never will be, and so there will always be something for my family to point out to me.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ren said...

I find their lack of faith... disturbing. Hope it all clears up for you, Ing.

6:11 PM

 
Blogger purplesimon said...

"I would never, ever, ever be happy living in a gated neighborhood next to a golf course."

This line alone says more about you and your depths than anything else. If your parents can't see that, well...

I am lucky in that I've overcome these obstacles with my parents. My Mum dying helped things along with my Dad, but we were on the road anyway. They learned to accept me, because they knew to not do that meant they risked not ever knowing about me, my life, my dreams and my downers. In short, I let them call me only for one month. After that, things went better.

Parents are a strange breed. Being one now, I know I'm making mistakes. But at least I can admit that. Ing, I think your parents can't admit their mistakes and so they are pushing their own failings on to you. Shame on them. But that doesn't mean they don't love you and you love them. And that's why it sucks so bad.

Be strong (except in smell) and continue on your own path. That's what makes you happy; the rest of them can live in perpetual unhappiness while you watch from the sidelines.

purplesimon out...

3:56 AM

 
Blogger Mone said...

I know exactly how you are feeling. For my mother, my sister seems to do everything rigth, she is the smart one who went to university and I'm just the one who goes through life... BUT I am the one who raises two children, I am the one who has a full time job, I am the one who got married and i am the one who has seen the world (not all yet) and I am the one who got divorsed. And I'm happy with my life.

6:36 AM

 
Blogger sage said...

Sorry you are having such a problem with your parents. Been there, done that, still love them, but know there are things they'll never understand about me or that I'll never understand about them...

On a more positive note, I want to hear about the Peace Corp experiences--I had wanted to do that, but never even applied... Good for you for serving and I hope you had a wonderful experience, have you blogged about it?

9:43 AM

 
Blogger josh williams said...

Different reality's can not be explained. They do not have your upbringing, they have their parents,upbringing.
What a difference a generation can make.We will never understand our parents and they will never understand us. I have worked as have my parents on finding an equilibrium, which is kinda working.
This comment could use some work but it kinda makes sense...Kind Regards JW

7:36 PM

 
Blogger ing said...

ren:

Well, I probably wouldn't be so sensitive to it if I had a little more faith in myself. And some days are better than others. . .

____________

purps:

I'm afraid I don't communicate regularly or very often with my family, and we've all gotten pretty used to that. I'm glad I didn't have kids myself, or at least, most of the time I'm glad. Because I figure I'd pass something along that I really shouldn't.

I am continuing along, and I figure that some day, things will all come together.

____________

mone:

I know, our parents don't seem to recognize the ability and tendency to fight and to cope as a sign of strength. But the strongest people I know are fighting every single day to survive, to stay sane, to quit destructive habits.

I can't imagine raising two children all on my own. It can't be easy.

____________

sage:

Yes, a friend pointed out that I might have that very conversation with my parents, the I'm-not-like-you-and-our-values-are-different conversation.

I think I've blogged a little about being in the Peace Corps. It was a great experience! Are you considering it?

_____________

Josh:

True, I simply can't explain what I'm living, especially not in a limited time and when there are all these emotional barriers to regular old thinking. I'm kind of mad at myself for not being able to find that equilibrium - it seems that by now, I should have settled into a more mature relationship with my folks. I really hope I can get there well before they die. I need to do that.

9:27 PM

 

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