After sitting calmly in the blackhole (and falling asleep), I realise why it is so difficult to pen my words down. This is a recurring theme percolating through every human life. I worry that people may find it offensive (which is probably mirroring how I find this part of myself offensive – more clearing needed!) because we will somehow be irked by the unresolved issues within us. Well then, all the more it needs to be actualised on paper so that they can be released to the winds. I will just add bookmarks of and resolve them later. Pardon all the breaks (that will totally explain why I went into a blackhole!!).
Conversations can be difficult in our family when it comes to our matriarch (she runs the show, because my dad brings in the dough). Asian family dynamics seem to function in a different existence. It has always been the powerful (my mother) having the final say, because if it is otherwise, we are just being plainly disrespectful and rude. That was true when we were kids, but she still seems to stick to that rulebook now, which could also be why it is so difficult for us to talk to her sensibly. < guilt triggers here >
Let’s start with the easiest theme: unworthiness. Patterns somewhat deeply intertwined with that of Guilt. Or that could be just how the patterns play out in my family.
We are never good enough for my mother. It makes sense when we were young and impressionable, and she points out where we fall short, so that we can work to become better people. But as we grow older, and as we mature, we see within ourselves our very own preferences, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses. But to date, she still sticks to that same agenda as though she still knows better. About us? To us? Sigh. She has failed to see that all three of her children are now very capable and highflier in their respective fields. It is quite shocking (and even insulting) to hear the comments that she makes. “Is that really how lowly you view us?” I remember Dad curtly telling her off, “do you really think your daughters are stupid?”
Last night I was chattily telling my dad about my office, and I could not help asking myself why I cannot hold any similar conversations with my mother. This is how I got to be able to write this out today! I realise that whatever I said, the feedback from my mother will always be pointing at where I fell short. To maintain my good mood (and my sanity) and probably even my confidence level or level of hope in life, it is so much easier to not converse with her at all. It is so much easier to stick to the basics of Hi and Bye, and I’ve eaten, thank you. We are all dealing with enough sh*ts in our lives to survive, the last thing we need is for someone to remind us of our shortcomings in even the little successes we celebrate. < guess this is where the guilt ends! >
I do not blame her at all for this. I just feel very bad for her. Who doesn’t want good conversations with their next-of-kins? Dad does remind us sometimes that we really have to point it out to her. It is not that we don’t, but everytime we do, things can get quite rough. Mum used to come to me to ask me to talk to my bro about this and that (I will broadly just classify it as her body shaming my bro). I would calmly and objectively explain to her why she should just leave my brother alone on that matter (it is so much easier as a third person). She just finds that we are not doing our jobs as siblings, and she will continue harping on the subject with him. I can now see why my bro warned me years in advance before he moved out (he moved just a couple of weeks back). Now my mom’s full-time target is me. But I am not my brother (he is way sweeter, but at the same time more snappish), I am utterly avoidant because it is my path of least resistance.
This is totally a play of unworthiness unfolding in different perspectives within a singular situation. My mother probably feels that she is not good enough, and therefore she wants to push us to do better. The guilt trip is the other part of the equation. We all feel that we are not good enough as human beings or as sons and daughters, because we are really not able to deal with her demands or meet her expectations, and worse still, we are terrible human beings who are “ungrateful” and unable to return what we have gained from our family upbringing. I don’t see that my mother will view us as ungrateful, so it has to be some internal guilt that is triggering this viewpoint/emotion. I would also think that she is proud of us and our achievements, but there has to be some internal triggers that is unfolding this sentiment out in such a negative manner.
Oh. I actually feel tonnes better writing this out. I want to break out of the chain. I want to feel the worthiness of just being who I am. To feel proud and guilt-free that it is okay to be who I am – that imperfect human being who is juggling every damn thing in the world, and that is okay that I am unable to deal with another’s idealised version of me. It is okay that I cannot live up to another human being’s expectations of who I can be in her imagined world. I accept my life, I accept who I am, I accept where I am. In fact, I actually love who I am. Who I was, and who I have grown to be.
And I know that God accepts me, and God loves me, for who I am.