co, the nao tim mot tinh yeu tiep theo cho ta ngan nhau
neu, mot ngay tro lai cho hai chung ta yeu nhu ngay xua
co khi nao, lai phu long nhau nua khong
– nhu mot giac mo tan
I currently have two things open on my laptop. Half my screen has open this blog, and the other half shows my paper, due tomorrow. So, naturally, I’m going to blog. Yes, it is about 3:45 in the morning. No, I do not intend on sleeping tonight.
2. WHAT I AM NOT
My brother and I used to play a game. I’d point to a chair. “THIS IS NOT A CHAIR,” I’d say. Bird would point to the table. “THIS IS NOT A TABLE.” “THIS IS NOT A WALL,” I’d say. “THAT IS NOT A CEILING.” We’d go on like that. “IT IS NOT RAINING OUT.” “MY SHOE IS NOT UNTIED!” Bird would yell. I’d point to my elbow, “THIS IS NOT A SCRAPE.” Bird would lift his knee. “THIS IS ALSO NOT A SCRAPE!” “THAT IS NOT A KETTLE!” “NOT A CUP!” “NOT A SPOON!” “NOT DIRTY DISHES!” We denied whole rooms, years, weathers. Once, at the peak of our shouting, Bird took a deep breath. At the top of his lungs, he shrieked: “I! HAVE NOT! BEEN! UNHAPPY! MY WHOLE! LIFE!” “But you’re only seven,” I said.
- The History of Love (Krauss)
What else do I need to do tonight? One wonders. Well, that paper that I’m ignoring for this blog post. And then, I think I’m going to write my Mother a letter. Yes. I mean to send it to her for Mother’s Day. I might never send it, who knows. A letter written at 4 in the morning when sides of your brain have shut down and your sanity is seeping out to the hot that is the weather outside, not something I’d suggest sending to one’s Mother.
You know…I’ve started to notice some things regarding my Mother and Brother and…I’m sure that I’m the cause of all my unhappiness and uncertainties.
To get the Good Student Discount for my car insurance, every year we either have to send them my transcript or have someone from school sign this form that the insurance company sends us. Mother said that she could bring the form to the school and have them sign it. She was going to go on Tuesday with her friend, because every Tuesday she and her friend go to the cemetery to visit their husbands…Sad, I know…and the cemetery is down the road from school so they would just stop by school and get someone to sign my form. Mother’s never been to my school, let along the Registrar’s Office at my school. So I spent a little while and some very costly minutes on the phone with the Registrar’s Office asking what I needed to do to make sure the form would be signed. Then I did it. Then I spent forever, because I’m not used to the Vietnamese keyboard, and because it was late and I could hardly think, typing up detailed directions to the school, to the parking lot, to the Registrar’s Office, all that shibazz.
Good gracious I just tried to save this post and got a “Failed” message, I almost had a heart attack but no…s’ok…it was automatically saved before…Whew!
Anyway, After I typed up all the directions, I took pictures of my “Request Letter” with my IDs, sent that to the school, sent the directions and the pictures to Brother and gave him directions to tell Mother. Went to bed. Laid in bed for a few seconds then realized…Omo! No directions on how to get out of the school! So got up, sent directions on how to get out of the school from the parking lot and then, to bed. Woke up the next day and thought…maybe I should call her and be on the phone with her while she’s doing all this. Just to be sure. So I call her…she picks up but hangs up right away, probably still in church. I wait a second…then got anxious so I call again but before I press the call button I realize….
….First off…If I’d been as smart and diligent as I’m supposed to be and have been, I should’ve remembered that the car insurance company needs proof that I’m still a good student, because they need this proof every single year. So I could’ve gotten an extra transcript from the school before I’d left the country, and gotten all that ready so that when the car insurance people sent the form, Mother or Brother would have my transcript and all that ready. But of course, that should’ve been done before I left, and it wasn’t, so there was nothing I could do about it. It was just a side thought. The main thought that was going through my head was that….Why do I have to call her? She’s a grown woman! Yes…she’s not fluent in English and she’s never been on campus, but she is going with her friend, she won’t be alone, and I’ve given her detailed, detailed, detailed times 10, directions with all the papers she’d need to get the people to sign so…Why did I think it was necessary for me to call her and basically walk her through this task? I was worried yes, but I felt at that moment like a mother who couldn’t go, kind of like, you know…Mother.
I’m always worried about Mother and Brother. And so I feel kind of as if I’ve babied them…a lot. A part of my deciding where to go to Grad school depends on where my Brother wants to go. Because I don’t want him to live through the terrible Undergrad experience I had because I had to live at home, so I wanted to make sure that he can go away for college, but if Mother was going to approve of that then I would have to be living with Brother at the very least. Why do I do that…? Firstly, Brother…is a very smart boy. Chances are he will get into all the great colleges, colleges to which I will probably not even be allowed through the front gates. So going to the same school will be near impossible, I’m a really dumb kid! Secondly, Brother gets along very well with Mother. Much better than I do with her. Yes, she annoys him and bothers him and all that, but he’s calmer than me, he can deal with her, he can soothe her. His life with her is not my life with her. Thirdly…I was afraid that if Brother stuck close to home, he wouldn’t be able to find a school that would be good enough for him (Obviously I do think quite a bit of my Brother), but, what about Georgetown? Or George Washington? Those are great schools, they both have their own hospitals, they must be doing the medical stuff correctly, right? But, because I was afraid that Brother’s growth would be stunted by Mother, it took me too long to consider any of those points, and so for a little while some of my Grad School researching was limited to where my Brother might want to go. But if the future were to turn out that way, Brother’s growth would no longer be stunted by Mother, it’d be stunted by me. I mean…obviously if Brother does end up wanting to go to a school far from home, I’d try to help him get Mother’s blessing but, I can’t schedule my whole life around what Brother wants. Who does that?! Obsessive, clingy, oppressive people, that’s who.
Now…Mother…You know, I…hate it, with a passion, whenever anyone makes Mother feel bad or sad or any of that crap. But I’m sure that in the end I make her sad the most. Mother, has lived quite a life, she’s been through a lot, and I think that she’s a strong enough woman to let other people’s opinions and insults bounce off her. Because she doesn’t care about other people. She just cares about Brother and I. But me, the whole time I’m trying to do well to make her proud, to shove other people off Mother’s back with my future success, I get stressed and annoyed and anxious, and I take all my crap out on her and Brother, which I’m sure hurts her the most. Mother is a grown woman, she knows how to handle people. Hell, at my age I already know how to read the people around us. I know which actions need to be analyzed, I know what people really mean when they say certain things, I know how people look at me sometimes and I know how to act around those people. And when I don’t know, I ask Mother. Mother has many times expressed surprised at the fact that I’m not completely oblivious to the fact that people are scum, and I’ve expressed surprised (but mostly annoyance) that Mother always puts up with it.
My family is complicated…at best. The three of us together…we oppress each other. Mother will never learn to do the bills…to get forms signed, or anything, because I do that. And when she does manage to do something, it’s an event for me to be proud of, but why? Doing the bills and filling out forms and figuring out directions to places should be what a Mother does, so why is it that when she does do those things every now and then, it’s something that deserves praise and congratulations? Yes, Brother and I always appreciate her as our Mother, but the fact that she considers everyday duties as difficult tasks deserving of applause shows that I’m not helping her get used to those actions. Brother told me late Tuesday that Mother got the form signed, successfully and all that and I thought to myself…well of course she did. Well actually, at first I was relieved. But then I thought to myself…Of course she did. Why the hell wouldn’t she have gotten the form signed successfully? Did we…as her children, really expect her to fail?
Well, yes. Otherwise I wouldn’t’ve called her earlier intending to walk her through the whole process. Otherwise I wouldn’t’ve been anxious and worried for news from my Brother. I wasn’t waiting for my Brother to send me news that it was all done…I was waiting for an email stating that she didn’t get it done, and that I’d have to call the Registrar again and figure it out. That’s what I’d expected to hear. That’s terrible! I have no trust in my Mother! My Mother! Someone I do not always like very much but will always love and care about….I didn’t trust that she could get a form signed! I’m sure that more than multiple times she’s mentioned her annoyance at my thinking she couldn’t do things on her own, but never before have I realized that…if I just let Mother alone, let her do what needs to be done for her independence and growth and kind of just sit in the back and watch…life would be easier. Better, even.
I’m selfish. Mother…and Brother…has ways of complicating things. Taking forms and asking her friends to fill them out instead of just letting me do them. But of course those friends don’t know any of our personal information so they’d end up calling me and asking, and I’d waste time on the phone trying to spell English words out to them in Vietnamese. Brother can’t give a straight explanation, ask a clear question, give a logical answer. Half the time I’m talking to him I’m trying to figure out what he means when he says things, and then rephrasing it in a sentence, because that’s really all anyone needs. But you know what…my annoyances are just, selfish. When Mother complicates things, it wastes my time. MY time. When Brother can’t clearly explain to me what he wants or needs, it’s wasting my time. MY TiME! And that’s why I get annoyed. Not because I could’ve filled out the forms better or said something better, but because Mother took the forms to someone else and they ended up having to call me, and because Brother takes paragraphs to explain what can be said in a sentence, my time is wasted.
……I don’t know what these…can be considered revelations…will do for me. I realized that I’m a bit oppressive and kind of selfish. So now what do I do? I’m a 21 year old college student who’s never had a boyfriend and can care less about love. I don’t quite know the line between caring and intruding. I’m sure I’ve crossed it many times. I’ve decided to let go of everybody else. I don’t hold back my friends, my buddies, to each his own, I say! And yet with my Mother I’m always on edge, expecting something terrible to happen that I need to clean up. With Brother I’m always ready to fight for, to give my all because he might need me to protect him from something.
You know…it amuses me sometimes when people lose their minds over things like…boys…and friends. I mean, boys…boys are nice to look at. They are very…very yummm. And friends, my friends are great. But…boys…friends, they don’t cause my insanity, they don’t cause my insecurities and my bouts of anger. Because I’ve let go of them. My broken relationship with my family, I, for reasons obviously beyond my comprehension, have not been able to let out of my sight.
Considering all the problems in the world, my not being able to let go of my family should be the easiest thing to solve, shouldn’t it?
I’m going to write my Mother a letter now.