Thoughts and Turmoil

I’ve never been one to place importance on my family. Not really, if you think about it. Escaping from home, from parents, from chores has always been my priority. I obey my parents yes, but the cost has been great. In primary school, it was to not having any real friends; to confiding in no one but myself. To have to be left out because my parents said no. To be betrayed because no one had any loyalty to me, whereas I had my loyalty to them. To being fed the line over and over again that only my family mattered, because they would stand by me when my friends deserted me. That I should be thankful for being able to go to a school so close because my parents had to walk many kilometres to get to their schools. To being made guilty that I wasn’t more thankful for the opportunities I had been given. To even think of questioning the parents as being ungrateful.

Efforts to introduce my friends into my parents life, or rather to include them both were met with “I’m too tired,” or “I don’t know who they are, you have too many friends,” to “You should be studying!” As such, I retreated into myself. In high school, friendships were shallow. I always kept parts of myself away from others. Even if it hurt, it did not hurt too much. Because the parts I showed, the parts I revealed, were easy to discard. Easy to hurt. Thus, easy to harden. The essential me, the core of me, my soul, I never bared. I didn’t dare. I buried her so deep, so much, that finding her would rend me apart. You would see all of me, yet none of me. Playing this double game, this mask, became easy. I didn’t even realise I had it on until now.

The only ones I bared my soul to were those I’d chosen in my relationships. Because I somehow trusted that in a relationship, you had to be open. There would be no secrets, or at least, secrets of the past should be laid to rest. At least most have proven worthy of such trust even after the relationship has ended. Still, when each relationship ended, a piece of me died. Yet I kept moving on, pretending that everything was alright when it wasn’t. Keeping the mask on easily to hide the hurt. Or at least, I didn’t let the hurt show too much. People see what they want to see, and if you’re good enough, what you want them to see. And I didn’t want to see that I hurt.

Even so… I never turned to my family. I never could. Not the chauvinistic father who disapproved of most things I did, because I was not the obedient child he remembered. Not the two-faced mother who tortured and delighted me, because she claims to love me, yet then turns around and does the most hurtful thing. Even in my brother I confided just a little. My aunts, my uncles, my cousins? Don’t make me laugh. I love them… but politics in this family has gotten to such a level that I don’t trust any of them not to use my words, my secrets, my soul against me or my family. Worse still, against my grandmother.

Multiracial family? Please, don’t throw such idealism around. My family is as racist as they come. You can be friends with anyone, but you cannot marry a Malay. You can fall in love with anyone, but they MUST be Catholics. Or convert to them. You can go out with anyone, but we don’t approve of younger man marrying older women. You can break gender stereotypes, but we expect the girls to stay home and keep the house. Your loyalties are to the family. Women who are working yet cannot keep the house clean are a disgrace. Marry an Indian, Bengali for what? Your children will become dark.

And so forth.

Yet, I’m grateful to the family. I’m glad that my parents have fed and clothed me. I’m thankful that my paternal grandmother took me in and put up with me being clumsy and noisy. I’m thankful for the chance to study, in both government schools and a private one. I’m thankful that my parents let me have friends stay over the night now days. I’m grateful that they gave me a car… or rather procured the means to get me a car. I’m thankful that my parents accept me for who I am. I acknowledge that they only had my best interests at heart when they systematically broke my heart and relationships. Especially the latter.

I can’t quite forgive their careless remarks, especially with regards to my grandfather. I can’t quite forgive the stupid excuses they (especially dad) uses to escape grandma. I can’t quite forgive them for turning their loyalty from one maternal figure to the other, especially when the other has more money. I cannot forgive his mercenary tactics when dealing with *that* side of the family. I cannot forgive him for putting himself ahead of my mother. Especially after all that rheotoric about education.

Yet I have to ask myself, is it my family that has betrayed me, or have I betrayed them? Someone told me (almost gleefully, I might add) that come June 1, during the Walk, they’d be going for a kenduri as a family. He sounded very happy to do so, and I can’t help but feel jealous. VERY jealous in fact. I love my family yes, but they drive me insane. And I don’t talk about things that matter to me anymore with my family. I talk to my friends. I can’t tell my family that, “No, I don’t want to eat meat this week cause I’m sick of it,” because my mom will go, “Are you turning into a Muslim?” This is followed by me wanting to tear my hair out (considering the amount of white hair I have, that might not be such a bad idea…)

I can’t quite tell my mom, “Mum, I love you,” because she will suspect something is up. I can’t forgive my dad for the hurt he’s done to her mom, because it feels that I’m carrying it. I can’t tell my mom that there’s a song I heard on the radio and it made me cry because it feels that someone’s doing something finally. I can’t tell them that I blog political stuff because I’ve had one uncle being under the ISA for two weeks because he was a unionist and the last time they found out, the guilt trip was so painful that I’ve blocked most of it out. I can’t tell them that I’ve lost faith in the Church, not in God, but in Church because that will make them feel like they’ve completely failed in life.

There’s too much hurt in this family, and none of it resolved. Trying to bring it out into the open, to solve it, just hurts everyone because no one wants to comfort it. My brother hides in his room, playing his games. My father is chatting on IRC, probably on the prowl, I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. My mother blissfully watches the TV, ignoring the pain of a family ignoring each other. Me, I’m sitting here in my room, taking small comfort from a love across the sea and a group of friends I find easier to joke with and remain a child.

But that’s life isn’t it? All I have to do, is just chin up and keep on walking. Damn those myths of happy families.

6 Responses

  1. Joicie May 26, 2008 / 11:05 PM

    From what I’ve read here, I guess everyone has his/her pathway to trod upon.

    I realize one thing: Try not to dwell on the hurtful part. I’m telling myself as well.

    :)

    *pats*

    Geminianeyes: Haha, I will. Thanks!

  2. silvy May 27, 2008 / 12:07 AM

    *hugs* everyone has their ups and downs I guess. My family’s pretty multiracial too, and we have muslims and christians in our family as well. Heck, my mum’s sis was the one who converted into a Muslim! But after all these, mum still tells me “No matter what, don’t marry a Muslim or a Christian.”

    In a way I do understand her point, after watching our aunt change like hell in front of us, but that’s just human personality after all. Though, I suspect what she felt most was the racial issues, especially for the muslims who will insist that “their religion is the best of all” and stuffles like that.

    Try not to think so much about it, every set of family has their own issues, and not all family has their happily ever after, after all ^^; especially since I’ve read a few of my friends’ lives via blogs about their set of family.

    Cheer up, think of the bright side each time you want to tear your hair out. They might be family, but most of the time, they are not our true confidante (or however you spell that) =) *hugs again for good measure*

    Geminianeyes: *Huggles her sister* Hahaha, thanks, dear sis! Thing is, my uncles NEVER push religion down our throat (except they cannot eat certain things) yet my aunt and grandma still treat it like it’s the greatest sin not to eat pork. -_- I hear you on the racial/religion issues. People need to learn to accept others just for who they are, not just see the race. *Hugs again* Thanks.

  3. Nicholas.C May 27, 2008 / 12:45 AM

    I’m Sorry….. :(

    Geminianeyes: Hmm? LOL, Don’t be. Experience is what makes us what we are.

  4. May May 27, 2008 / 9:27 AM

    *huggles nao mama*

    Look to the front,and dont look back,and if anyone dares to rake up the past,they get a murderous girl in their face.

    Trying to survive on that,and it works mostly,with a few heartaches as side effects.

    If anyone spouts any racial nonsense,just try to put on a I-Am-Listening-But-Sorry-Not-Going-Into-Brain-Lalala face.Works wonders.Got that garbage from my old classmates,now avoiding them like a plague.

    Geminianeyes: *Huggles* Thanks darling. Hehehe, I know. Just that it’s hard to do that with my parents of all people. Most of my friends know about that, so it’s not too bad. They’re smart enough NOT to talk to me about it when we meet.

    Unless it’s to discuss ways to destroy racism etc. :D *Huggles may again*

  5. sringangel May 27, 2008 / 6:26 PM

    I can relate abit of your pain since I’m pretty much going through the same thing.
    I’ve too lost hope in my family and friends but that does not mean I wish to lose my responsibilities to them.
    I may not be able to open up to them or wish for them to understand me, but to me that’s just mean I’m pushing people away because of how they’ve treated me in the past.

    Because all in all, family will always be there whether you like it or not. It is ones choice whether to demise and ignore them by finding a new life or, to forgive and just continue living your life with them but with more caution.
    Both are choices and both are equal in quality.
    And both have its good and bad effect.

    Sometimes parents saying, “Never marry a Muslim,” does sounds racist, but there are logic behind it in a way.
    They just wish for their children to enjoy everything of the world without being tied down by religion with much restrictions.
    And when it comes down to a firm decision to convert, I think the parents will understand. As like how your family have accepted your aunt. :)

    *HUGGGUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU*

    Geminianeyes: Which aunt, darling? My Muslim aunties, you mean? *Hugs* Thanks!

  6. Karcy May 29, 2008 / 12:17 AM

    I read this sometime back, but didn’t comment because I wasn’t sure of what to say. In any case, I hope that one day, when you are more independent, you’ll be able to find love in the world without looking to your family, and you’ll be able to look at your family and be at peace with them, warts and all.

    Because on at least one point, they are right; family is family, and that is both a curse and a blessing. :(

    Geminianeyes: Thanks Karcy. I’m alright with the first point. It’s now getting their approval and being at peace that I have to work on. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it.

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