May 15th, 2016
My mother’s sulking again.
My grandfather mentioned that he wanted to come for a visit.
To the US. Where he doesn’t speak the language and where a lot of effort is going to have to be expended to cater to his very-Asian palate.
To the house where mom is already going off the deep end about not being able to clean in time.
To visit the daughter who he once reduced to a sobbing wreck kneeling at his feet, begging for mercy. The daughter he once humiliated in front of all of her subordinates.
Escorted by his son in law because of course granpappy dearest can’t make the trip alone. The son in law who had to stand by and watch him fuck up, over and over and over again. The son in law who got to deal with the aftermath of what the old man did to his company and his family.
Mom’s sulking because Kev and I aren’t thrilled by all this happening.
She’s sulking because Kev pointed out that it was kind of shitty to “persuade” (read: guilt trip, manipulate, and “logic”) my dad into escorting granpappy to the US.
She’s sulking because I pointed out that having her husband (who she’s been having epic fights with) and her father (who her husband pretty much dislikes and who has issues with her) under the same roof might be …explosive.
She’s sulking because somehow she’s taken our lack of caring for a narcissistic crazy old man who delights in playing his kids off of each other as a fundamental lack of filial piety. She’s taking it as a sign we’re going to discard her in her old age because we don’t believe in the traditions of said filial piety and because we’re terrible ingrates who don’t understand the value of family loyalty.
…I really want to tell her that, no, we’re not going to discard her in her old age because we don’t believe in filial piety. I, personally, am going to disappear off the face of the earth and be dead to her because she’s crazy, uses me as a scapegoat, refuses to respect boundaries, and because I’m sick and tired of being abused.
How’s that for them apples?
But no. Kev told me to stop sabotaging myself with my smart mouth. So I didn’t.
It’s tragic, really, how much damage a parent can do to a child.
It’s easy to laugh at the idea of daddy issues and make jokes about mommy trauma, but the truth is that our parents shape us in ways that we never saw coming.
Kind of like black mold. You scrape away and disinfect one layer and you think you’re good. Then the next wet day comes and you realize that there’s veins of black death running all throughout your house and the only reasonable thing you can do to save your life is to abandon everything you’ve ever had.
Except you can’t get away from your mind. You can only keep disinfecting. Or you pray for a quick death.
Except black mold doesn’t result in quick deaths.
Everything is complicated by the fact that I got into a graduate program for interpretation and translation at National Taiwan University.
It’s a prestigious university and a useful program.
I gave up a prestigious university and a useful program once because of my parents and I lived to regret it.
I could tell my mom to fuck off and go find a job at Starbucks and try my best to wipe her out of my life, but at what cost?
And at what cost if I were to stay in Taiwan, close to her and her particular brand of crazy? At what cost if I were to live with her under her roof because she’s paying for my schooling and my living costs?
I have maybe a month to figure it all out, before my tuition comes due. Once the tuition is paid, I’m pretty locked into the decision.
May the gods grant me strength. And wisdom. Lots of it.