I used to think it is so easy. Called your sister names? Bad. Peed in the pool? Shame on you and… bad! Killing puppies for fun? Doing drugs? Very, very bad. But not talking to your parents and planning to keep them out of your life forever? Bad? How bad? “Two years on probation” or “20 to life” bad? Can I plead extenuating circumstances?
My mother sent me an email. It was a table, probably a copy-paste from MS Word. One could see she put a lot of effort into it.
The table has two columns. One lonely point on the left: Things I did right in my life. Whole seven points on the right and an ellipsis. Dot. Dot. Dot. As if there was more to it, but she just got tired typing. All the things I did wrong. It was two years ago. We haven’t spoken ever since.
Well, we did exchange words. After a year of complete silence I did call on her birthday, and after that on the New Year’s Eve. She talked to me as if nothing happened. I listened hoping for the call to end soon. I also talk to her regularly in the shower, but it is always a monolog and it is always imaginary. I’m not sure whether we will ever speak to each other again.
It was a logical end of our “relationship” I guess.
I’ve never read that email again, but I still clearly remember that right column of that table. I betrayed my country, betrayed my religion. I don’t have any friends. After all these years, I failed to be accepted by the local people in the country where I now live. I have a bad job, and most importantly, I’ve married a wrong person, into a family that wants me only because of my “current status”.
Now, before you think that I’m some kind of a very unlikable and underpaid spy, who sold out her country, married a playboy with a lot of relatives, and converted to scientology, let me set a couple of things straight: I’m actually very likable. The rest is also pretty banal.
|I left home with neither consent nor support of my parents.|
I left home with neither consent nor support of my parents. And by “left” I mean “fled”, mostly to escape the local psycho terror department of hell; and by “home” I mean “a completely different country we moved to when I was ten years old”. I left for another country far-far away, learned the language, finished my studies, got a good paid and challenging job, which is sometimes even fun. I’ve been living here over 10 years already, and local people often think I’m a native.
I got myself some friends, and yes, I married somebody who comes from a different background, but I’m not sure it qualifies as “betraying your religion”, if you a) always thought your family are all atheists and b) never belonged to one particular religion officially or currently belong to one. And now I have a wonderful family of one and a half people, who make me so happy every day that sometimes I don’t know what I have done to deserve it.
As well as I sometimes wonder what I have done to deserve this “let-me-prove-to-you-why-you-are-a-failure” table, not to mention 10 years of psycho terror prior to it, followed by 10 years of letters, phone calls, and other emails that were only slightly more “pleasant”.
I’m not even gay for God’s sake. Not that I have something against homosexuals, but in my “home country”, being gay is something between doing drugs and killing puppies for fun. So in this case I would at least understand. But being such a boringly normal person, I just do not get it.
But let me skip the part of how much heart ache, pain, tears, and sleepless nights it cost me to finally make my peace with the fact that I will never be good enough for my parents, and get straight to the point.
|The belief in Ultimate Justice, that everybody will be held responsible for their actions, keeps me going.|
Although I always had my problems with believing (in) things I can’t see – I’m sure I wouldn’t even believe that two plus two is four if I weren’t able to see it for myself – I always believed in justice. Not the one where the legislative system punishes all the bad guys (haha), or that the good always wins over the evil, but that everybody will be held responsible for whatever they did in their lives.
Don’t ask me when, or how, or who will be the judge. I have no idea. I just believe – and this feeling is so strong that I would even say I know – that at the end there will be Justice.
It keeps me going. I won’t be able to sleep peacefully if I wasn’t so sure those bullies from the 6th grade who were stealing my lunch are not going to get away with it after all.
Sometimes I like to listen to religious speakers. Some of these guys are really bonkers, but there are some of them that really make sense. We might disagree on some points, but if you think away all the names and terms specific for a particular religion they all talk about the same things: gratitude, appreciation, patience, forgiveness, kindness, empathy.
It helps me keep things in perspective.
Well, most of the times. There is one issue though.
|How do you know that you’ve tried enough and it’s ok to stop forgiving?|
Unfortunately, they don’t tell me how much gratitude and appreciation I should show, and how much patience is enough, before I’m allowed to stop forgiving, because there is neither kindness nor even a slightest bit of empathy on another side. Time, after time, after time. Instead, these guys tell me that having bad relationship with your parents is a “straight ticket to hell”.
I used to think it is so easy. Called your sister names? Bad. Peed in the pool? Shame on you and… bad! Killing puppies for fun? Doing drugs? Very, very bad. But not talking to your parents and planning to keep them out of your life forever? Bad? How bad? “Two years on probation” or “20 to life” bad? Can I plead extenuating circumstances? Are you sure I’m the defendant?
I’ve been thinking about it a lot, but every imaginary conversation with my mother led me to the same conclusion: I did not have any other choice. It was either this or to become a neurotic, depressed and very unhappy person with no hope of having a family of their own or at least earn enough money to pay all the therapists to help (and unfortunately, this is not a speculation).
But what if I’m wrong? What if I did something very bad and completely deserve this attitude? What if I haven’t tried hard enough? What if I didn’t show enough kindness, mercy, forgiveness?
I asked Google whether “it’s ok to disobey your parents if they treat you bad”. Google pretended to ignore the “if” part. I also tried with “if they make your life hell”. Needless to say, this went even worse. So much about Google knows everything.
I tried asking real people, but they would tell anything to a weeping person just to make them feel better.
I guess I’m not getting my answers in this world. If it does come to “hell”, my only hope is to find some lawyers around – and I hear the chances are not bad – to defend my case.
Hello, Sleepless Nights. Greetings to you, Guilt. How nice of you to bring Tears along, too! How have you been, Mother? Up for another imaginary conversation?