Thursday, June 24, 2010

There, I feel better now

I don't know how to start this post because I am upset. For many years, my family has been the major source of friction in my life. It's not a topic I ever discuss because I'd feel, well, naked. Sex in public places? Big deal! But one question about they-who-shall-not-be-named and I'm struggling to change the subject.

My parents are, in short, a reflection of my weaknesses.

My relationship with them has, for awhile, been this side of frosty. Partly because they consider me the black sheep of the family, extended and otherwise. I'm artsy, opinionated, and read books, which is apparently enough reason to lose faith in my prospects. (Even the way I dress is dissected by nosy queens.)

I feel like my parents' frustrations are warranted in some way because I have yet to meet my own expectations. From their perspective, they are surrounded by overachieving accountants and prolific salesmen, while I, their oldest, only just figured out what I wanted to do with my life and have yet to secure steady employment.

"All you need is an office, a desk, and a computer," my mom says, inspired by my aunt's stupid philosophy.

This is a stunningly textbook example of both a generational and cultural gap. My parents are immigrants and very thrifty, so my decision to make a career out of a passion rather than the pragmatic need to earn lots and lots of money grates on them.

I generally don't take their behaviour seriously because I instinctively know that neither of them are great at communicating their internal worlds; they weren't brought up as armchair psychiatrists and don't speak the language. Additionally, both my parents and sister are extremely impulsive. This means they say hurtful things and forget all about it the next day. Unfortunately, this awareness has not prevented me from closing myself off so much that none of them have witnessed me cry in nearly a decade.

I know my mother's family has a penchant for boys, so a part of me also believes that had I been born with more obvious plumbing, things would've turned out differently. But I'll never know.

Overall, I think I've channeled these frustrations into positive experiences outside the immediate familial unit. The more they try to enlighten me with Confucian doctrine, the more confidence I gain in embracing the unknown. (My mom wonders when my teenage rebellion phase will ever end?)

If I had to be truly honest, I'd say my parents tolerate a lot of backtalk and ungratefulness on my part too. When I am home, I close the door to my room and read for a third of the day without ever joining them downstairs. I am also loud, apathetic, and easily annoyed. In fact, I can be a horror to live with.

Anyhow, I don't know how to break the cycle because at this point, even my siblings routinely call me a loser for moving back home and having no proper income. This was what ignited the argument we all had tonight. The problem in a nutshell: I'm not especially well-liked by my family and my presence is irritating them. (Although, they assure me, I am loved.) However, my avoidance tactics (i.e. staying in my room, staying over at Paul's, etc.) also come off disrespectful as it appears that I am intentionally breaking away from them.

Clearly I need my own place, but my temporary bouts of employment in film do not produce enough money to allow me to do that. Fortunately, I am staying positive and remembering that ...

... shit, I have a job interview with an A-list celeb tomorrow. Where's my A-game when I need it??

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