Posts tagged with "parents"

My Mom Keeps Calling

And I keep hanging up.

The first thing she asks, nonchalantly like nothing has happened, is whether I’ve eaten yet. This is something thing she used to say at the beginning of every phone call. One of her old habits, to make sure I’m eating enough.

I didn’t answer her question, but asked what she wanted. She told me she just wanted to see how I was doing.

She doesn’t get it. I don’t want to talk to her. I never want to talk to her again. Every call is a reminder of the wounds that haven’t healed.

It’s like having your rapist show up at the door with flowers.

Signs Of Senility

I’m exhausted today. I try not to acknowledge it, but my body keeps reminding me.

How is it doing this?

I just peeled a banana, and with the peel in my hand I threw the banana in the garbage.

My dad did the same thing once with an orange. “The old man’s going senile”, I thought to myself.

Hopefully, it’s not due to some degenerative brain disease, but the 12-hours I put in at work until midnight yesterday.

My new schedule involves going to therapy after work on Mondays. Today, I also have to go to my framer to sign my photos and mats afterwards. I was going to pick up a drop cloth and background stand at the photography store in between, but I think I’ll skip that.

We’re in the middle of a server swap at work, so I expect client computers to be bursting into flames today. I’m also organizing a pot luck for the company at the end of the week.

My mind feels like it’s going in eight different directions at once.

But as long as I feel, I know I’m alright.

Defining Myself Through Others

I’ve come to realize that as much as I’ve grown and gained, I still seek approval from others, albeit to a much smaller extent than before. This approval is how I define my self worth.

It’s an old, bad habit.

I can trace this habit back to my parents. I would always do things to try to win their approval, only to be met with a comment about not being good enough, or unsupportive silence. Their constant criticism led to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Yet another example of how they mindfucked me.

At this point, it’s just a knee-jerk reaction. Remnants of my old, insecure self creeping up. I know that one day, I’ll be able to break the habit completely.

Until then, I have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of you.

Lessons From a Childhood of Abuse

I often explain to people that Karaoke to the Chinese is like drinking to the British. We don’t pour pints at our parties, we sing. It’s part of the culture. The Chinese-Canadian dream is a Toyota in every driveway and a Karaoke machine in every house.

My dad was no exception. Like all his hobbies, he took Karaoke seriously. He had singing lessons from a famous teacher. Sometimes, he would record himself and listen to the tapes to analyze his singing when driving me to school. We would never talk on those hour-long rides, I would only hear him singing, sometimes along with his recorded voice, sometimes practicing the parts that he didn’t have quite right.

When I was young, about seven, I would sing one of the English songs from his collection. I couldn’t tell you why. Karaoke didn’t particularly interest me. Maybe it was a way for me to be a part of his life. He had nothing to do with me otherwise.

Continue reading “Lessons From a Childhood of Abuse”…

Rebel Son

Rana pulled me aside the other day and told me, I understand your culture now. I understand your decision.

She elaborated on a woman at work who had sent her daughter to live in China. It was soon after the baby was born, and the grandmother assumed responsibility of parent. The mother never went to visit, only sending money for her upbringing.

That day, the grandmother and granddaughter came to work, having flown into Canada to visit. No one at work had seen the child, two years old now. The whole time, she was nervous and shy, clutching the leg of her grandmother. When the mother tried to hold her, she wouldn’t budge, only crying the raucous, uncontrolled, uninhibited tears of a child.

Rana told me this with surprise and confusion in her face. It was hard for her to believe that anyone could do this to their baby. I wish I could say that I was surprised.

This child was too young to know bias or bitterness. She only knew what she felt, a being of pure emotion. The woman who was supposed to be her mother was no closer than a stranger, and for the first time, Rana was exposed to this.

I’ve always confided in Rana about my own relationship with my parents. She’s one of the few who really care, asking me if there’s been any news on a regular basis, especially since I cut all ties. We never argue, but she’s never fully agreed with me. She always tried to give me a maternal perspective, being a mother of three herself. I’ve admitted that I don’t understand what it means to be a parent, but that day, she realized that she never understood what it means to be a child of the Chinese culture.

It’s cold. It’s material. Most Chinese parents can only express their love with money.

In this way, my parents showed me that they loved me. They probably think they did the best they could, but as a child of the North American culture, I felt nothing. I never knew what it was to be loved.

And Rana said, You were the one who rebelled against this.