Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Load Off My Chest

I've decided, that if I don't say it out, I'll just keep it inside myself and rot my way through the block tests.

Why must it be that I have to conform to my mother's style of discussion every time? Every time she tries to convey an idea, she has to hog the conversation for 90% of the time. Yeah, granted, I take in everything she's trying to say, but lately, whenver she talks about me and CJ, she has to always, and I mean, always, paint a bleak picture any relationship. This gives me simply no heart to continue on. Things like, "Her parents will not let go of her, because she's the only daughter in the family." (whoever said that every single parent with that situation will do that?) and "Becareful of the two professional parents - their pride cannot be lowered." (I've met them already - and her mother is simply so strict with her --> what less a good upbringing?) If I were to take those words seriously, then it demoralizes me, and I don't feel any more strength to continue on with CJ. But if I don't, then I get accused of not listening to her. WHERE DO I DRAW THE LINE?! WHAT DO I LISTEN AND WHAT DO I NOT?

Heh, and when I tried to tell her very nicely and in a roundabout manner that she should improve upon her ways of conveying messages, her stubborn side came out: No, it's not about me and the way I convey my message, it's you and how you interpret the message. HELLO? If I want to convey a message to somebody, and if the message matters enough, it is ME, MYSELF, who must adapt to make the message send through, and NOT the other person who's listening who should adapt. I apply this standard to myself, and I find it is much courteous if we can all do this. Yet, in response to this, she changed the topic to: "Try to talk to CJ in such an argumentative manner and see if she can stand it." Please? When I raised the issue, it was not about my argumentative manner (which I prefer to call logic-based speak) which was the issue, it was about your way of conveying a message.

And then her ideas of a relationship are so wierd. She advocates that between me and CJ, we're just supposed to be friends; does this then mean that between me and Guan Lin or me and Dawn or me and Audrey or me and Foony, we're not friends but just acquaintances? Where, then, do I draw the line between being acquaintances, being friends, being a speical friend, and being a boy/girlfriend? These are entirely different entities! And she messes them up! What am I supposed to say when she says, "I don't object to you being together, but you cannot be more than friends." What is the message of this line? Two identities, mixed up, and nothing substantial to clear up or clarify. Everything, then, becomes empty talk.

But no, it's not empty talk. I see some of her logic. Things like, don't kiss the lips, don't cross the line to having sex, don't spend time together in some secluded corner... more importantly, don't toy with feelings, don't make her heartbroken... I totally agree. But the point is, why can't she make things look more positive, less negative, and try to ensure her message gets across? Don't tell me that until now, she cannot tell that I tend to the positive side of life, and things negative just put me off and set me emotional? Heh, that's simply why I'm blogging here tonight - to get that negative side written off on a webpage. But you can't possibly come in every night with some negative talk, and make me go online to write and write and expound my thoughts on a blog, thereby sacrificing time for my own studies? Ma, emotions can't always be controlled, and I'm sure you know that. Here I am, writing, simply to help control my emotions. But didn't you see my dejected look just now?

Face it, you've borne a strange son. Maybe you'd want to know a few things. First, I find I'm in a state of clairvoyance. I've been constantly examining myself, and, now, as I type, I tear... It seems that coming to know myself too well doesn't do me any good. I can find out, precisely, why I think certain things, why I don't, why I feel certain things and why, for others, I don't; I can link up and find past examples to support my own actions, and they clearly show a pattern, but, but you just don't like it when I spell them out for you. Is it because it tells you that you don't know me enough? Or is it because of myself, being too logical, showing that you don't have logic? I don't mean to convey these, and I don't want you to feel these, but I'd rather err on the side of caution, and rather than spell them out, I'd rather just shut up. I tell myself, I don't need to give any explanations, because you don't like them. I tell myself, it's useless to say anything, you'll just come back and tell me that you don't like my argumentative tone.

Second, ever since I came to face the reality of my regrets for Papa's death, I've decided that your curse will simply come true, and one day, when the worst things in life will come to me, they'll come, and therefore, it's simply useless to keep on holding onto the negative things in life. It's nothing to do with anything religious; it's simply a state of self-discovery. I've tried all this while to be positive, to be constructive, to be cheerful, to be helpful, to do as much good as I can, and what I get back from you is negative feedback, demoralizing words, all which seem too much to be masked in a facade of being reasonable. Am I reading too much into your words? Is this state of thinking and reflecting on myself simply doing me too much harm? And then again, why can't you also try to be constructive, cheerful and positive? Isn't that going to do you much more good?

You told me a few years back, don't be so harsh on my brother, but now, I see you raising your voice and shouting at him all the time. And it contrasts with me now. I've got a voice shouting inside my heart, but outside, I'm trying to be calm, cool, mild, docile and friendly. I treat Evan better now, don't I? I don't shout at him, raise my voice at him, I'm not being as sarcastic as before, isn't it? And I definitely don't hit him, whack him or pull his ears, right? I know the pain. You gave it to me once, and I don't want to inflict it on anybody else. It broke my heart in the past when I saw you hit him, slap him, shout at him and pull him by the ears. I wanted to shield him from the pain, but I knew that if I did, I'd get into trouble myself - I tried it once, and it really came true. You rebuked me for sheidling him, and even challenged me to raise him on my own, which I knew, practically, that I couldn't. It really broke me. I didn't want my own brother to feel the physical pain, but then, I didn't know how to express it. Now I do. But the fact is, I try not to be negative to him, and then you come in and be negative to him. I'm kind of glad that now he's opened up to me, and that he's willing to talk to me, but why can't you present yourself to also be open to talking?

That day when I talked to him, he had so many questions about life, and how to handle his daily problems. Do you know what? He actually listed you as one of his daily problems. On one hand, I felt so glad that I wasn't one on that list; on the other hand, it spelt out problems of communication. Why must it be that people cannot talk to you? Why must it be that your own sons cannot sum up the courage to speak to you? It's because we both know you'll come back with very unsupportive statements. Even Evan, at such a young age, knows that. If he tries to tell you something, he'll predict that you'll come back with something negative. Hard as I try to encourage him to talk, he won't. He'll rather talk to me.

Ma, I'm only eighteen. You yourself know it too, that I've still got a lot of lessons in life to learn. Why must it be that Evan can only talk to me, a person with fewer experiences, rather than you, a person who's experienced the trials and tribulations of life? You've lost a person you loved; I've only lost a father. You've been oppressed badly psychologically by your mother-in-law; I've only experienced physical pain under you. There's so much that you could tell him, and me too, rather than I trying to tell him things that I figure out by sheer lucky logic. Why can't you do it? It's because you're negative, Ma. We can't approach you easily, because you lack the supportive element.

And face it, I'm weak. I look strong outside, but I'm weak inside. It took me over one year to face up to my regret over my own father's death. And throughout that period, I was defeatist, escapist, irresponsible, always looking for quick solutions. Do you know what? I've always wanted a hug from you. This year, last year. Both years. For two years, I've wanted to come up to you and hug you, but I could never sum up the courage. Again, after eighteen years of conditioning, I've come to realize that if I tried something emotionally positive, your wall of coldness would be there to dampen my warmth. And there you go, I'm only eighteen. Probably I don't have enough warmth and love inside me to melt the cold wall, so I go away, dejected and sad, that I don't have the openly supportive and caring mother that I needed.

Yeah, I know you still take care of us, ensuring that we have food, that we have a shelter, that we grow up able to take care of ourselves. But you're taking care of our outer well-being. In fact, as far back as when we all lived at Limbok Terrace as I remember it, the way you brought Evan and I up was focused on providing us with enough food, shelter, and grooming our independence. But what was lacking, now I realize, was the emotional part. You didn't know how to handle us emotionally. You were sarcastic, you were physical when you punished us. And a weak heart like mine can't take that.

There's something I've just recalled. When I accompanied Evan to Catholic High to report to school, I heard one of the teachers giving a talk say, "If your children are still telling you things, then, parents here in the audience, you have done a successful job in raising your children." Sad to say, you've not. How long did it take for me to tell you that I liked CJ? Two months. How long did it take for me to tell you that I've long faced up to my regrets? An entire year. How much more have I not told you? A lot; only a portion of it is listed in this long essay. And look at Evan: he doesn't even dare to tell you things. Don't always come back to us and tell us that we don't tell you important things because we ourselves are guilty of something; sometimes, if you think about it, it'd be you who would feel guilty if you told your own mother the things we wanted to tell you. No, we don't feel guilty; instead, it's because we know you'd make us feel guilty for things that are clear in our own conscience. Think about it; I don't dare to tell you that your messages don't always strike a chord with me, simply because I predicted correctly that you'd change the topic and challenge me to speak in an argumentative manner to someone else important. And raise your voice. And be on the brink of crying while saying all that. Isn't it? And therefore, for some important things, we don't want to tell you. In short, it all boils down to you being unsupportive.

Guess what, if I didn't care less about my friend or classmate acting in a particular manner, I wouldn't even take the time to explain logically what's going on. Same for you, Ma; if I didn't care that your messages wouldn't get through to me properly, then I probably wouldn't have bothered to point out as clearly as possible that your mannerisms don't encourage communication. But then it was met with a change in topic. Like, what am I supposed to say?

And PLEASE, don't stop talking to me about CJ. I need you to talk to me, but I also need something supportive coming from you. The issue isn't about me and CJ anymore, I think. The issue now is about the communication problem at home. Between me and CJ, I've realized a lot of things from what you've told me, and I've been prudently applying them in my relationship with her. But at home, if you continue to send subtle unsupportive messages out, and then blatantly tell me that you don't object to me being with her, then where is the line drawn? What exactly are you trying to tell me? Get it now why I say I'm confused? It's not just about your words, it's also about your tone and facial expression and action. Maybe, I should do what you always told Papa, "Record your expression and words down and play them back for you to see."

I think by now, I've poured out my heart. It's tough enough to spend an entire fifty minutes typing this out, but I think it's worthwhile, rather than trying to stuff some ecology nonsense up my brain which already is brimming with these thoughts. I've got a clearer mind now. But the problem still lingers. It's time for me to rest. I'm tired. You're tired. We're all tired.

Yeah, we're all tired.

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