WARNING- highly emotional rant ahead.
So, I’m going to state a really unpopular opinion of mine, simply because I’ve held it in for so long that its threatening to devour me from the inside.
I love my family. I truly do. But I am not a fan of how they treat me at times. Actually, I absolutely despise their actions at many occasions.
There are instances where their words leave me gasping for breath in-between crying sessions all alone in my room, and then there are happy times when we sit together watching reality shows and make jokes at the expense of the participants. My mother is amazing at juggling work and house work, my dad is the softest person I know and my brother has the most amazing memory. We have so many great family moments that I feel like a little bitch for ever thinking that I want to move away from them.
But I do. Oh I do.
Recently, my brother has entered his ‘rebellious stage’ and things (for me) have gone from bad to worse. I haven’t exactly had the greatest childhood, but I held in all my misery because I did not want my family to be bothered. Even then, I could recognize that they had their own struggles and though it arguably wasn’t the best decision of my life, I am still proud of my strength at hiding my issues from them. But my brother, though decidedly more shy than me, is very vocal about his discomforts. As a result, I watched him effectively guilt my parents into letting him get away with so many things they’d normally chastise me for. He couldn’t get into the school he wanted, and took out his disappointment at them, who in turn took out their anger on me. For many months, everything I did was wrong. The way I dressed, the ‘tone’ with which I spoke, the way I was too thin, my ‘addiction’ to the internet (Okay, that part is true, but I wouldn’t have turned to it so much if the real world had been a tad less depressing)
They were all little things. Little irritating comments I ignored, but persisted to echo in the back of my head. I tried to understand, I truly did. But I couldn’t help but raise my voice many times. Once I switched on the TV (first time in months) and my brother told my mother that he didn’t study because I was distracting him. She assumed that I had ignored his complaints (he hadn’t expressed the issue to me) and began to chew me out for being the most selfish girl she’d ever known. Mom has a way with spitting out the most venomous words and ignoring my existence afterwards so that they truly sink in. Once we were having lunch and I told her how I wanted to find a partner for myself when I’m older. She looked straight into my eyes and asked- “Ninakk oraale snehikkan kazhivundo?” ( Do you have the capacity to love someone?)
The words give me nightmares to this day.
My father, as I mentioned earlier, is very softhearted. He has this idea rooted in his head that he has to be the perfect son to his family. I understand being grateful to your parents, because (especially in a place like India) people have to have the toughest skin to raise six kids (like his family). But he constantly puts their whims above his own needs. I’ve seen him rush out to take his father to a lawyer (some age-old case lawsuit over macho-pride, I’ve heard) when he himself was extremely unwell. He refuses to acknowledge that he’s being played like a puppet, and I remember sitting in front of the computer, trying to distract myself from morbid rumours spreading around about how his late elder brother had been literally overworked thus to death. I wish he would show the same amount of selfishness he does to us towards his demanding father as well.
Whenever my parents have arguments, my brother disappears into his room. And they turn to me. Arguments between married couples are normal- that I know. But I don’t fancy it ‘normal’ when they both try to win me over to their ‘side’. Any time I try to mediate, I’m being ‘partial’. My father is the worst when it comes to this- not because he says bad things about mom. Rather, he tells me that he doesn’t have much longer to live. He tells me that the stress is bringing him down. He tells me that we will all have to watch while he dies, and only then would we realize his worth. He leaves me feeling more depressed than I’ve ever been, because he gifts me the burden of being privy to his thoughts. It almost feels like he is threatening me with his demise. Then later, he does a complete 180 and leaves to see his father, leaving me- a complete and utter emotional mess- behind, wishing that somehow I could die before things get worse, but too cowardly to take a blade myself.
What I hate (yes, hate) the most about my brother is how he starts these arguments and then disappears. The entire family has spoilt him rotten- they’ve even arranged a private cab for him to school because he hates taking the school bus. People always complain about how the brighter child is more loved by parents, but here it is the exact opposite. Though I’m not extremely bright, I manage to get better grades than him. But I’m proud of my achievements, because though I do not study regularly, I put a lot of time and effort into cramming. My language? Because I pushed myself to read and write a lot. My mathematics skills? I spent hours a day solving problems ahead of my syllabus. Thus I feel it only right that I be proud of my work. My parents translate this as being ‘over confident’. They tell me to not be so full of myself just because I am ‘naturally smart’. If I make a single comment about him lazing around all day instead of preparing as he should, I get called condescending. If I offer help, I’m ‘showing off’. If I don’t, I’m being selfish. They dismiss my worth as something god-given rather than something I’d worked hard to achieve.
I remember the day I finally gathered up enough strength to tell my parents about my being bullied and sexually harassed by that one relative they loved so much. They had been giving me crap all month about how they couldn’t understand my mood swings and pessimism. I thought the honesty would clear it up. Instead, they ended up getting mad at me and telling me it wasn’t anything ‘special’. They made soft jokes about my depression and anxiety.
Yes. I know. I wasn’t trying to be special. I was just trying to be honest. And they still have those relatives coming over. In fact, I don’t even think they remember much. One time mom was talking about how my brother could be being bullied, and I said “I don’t think so” and she turned to me and said “What do you know? You’ve never been bullied!”
I’m treated as a child, and expected to act as an adult. They pour all their anger and frustration into me without caring that when I’m past my capacity, I’ll break break break.
But I’m selfish. I’m the over-confident bratty child who thinks nothing of her parents. I’m the perpetually lazy individual who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about her little brother. I’m the obnoxious devil child who can’t figure out what it means to love. I’m not normal and I’m not human, so it doesn’t matter how much toxicity they through my way. After all, I’m the smart child they don’t have to worry about.
It breaks my heart to type all this, because no matter what, they’re my family. They changed my diapers and fed me and clothed me. They gave me my first words and aided in my first steps. I’m forever grateful to them for all that. My father and his lame jokes, his habit of bursting into song every now and then. My mother and her love for stitching, her always delicious meals and the little laughs she makes at my one liners.My little brother, I adore him. I love listening to him recite historical dates like the alphabets. I admire his obsession with weather. But being with them now hurts too much and I want out. It’s my love for them that gives their words such power to hurt me. Little things, maybe. My troubles may even seem childish and easy to others who manage to read till this point. But anything and anyone detrimental to my mental health is a threat to me.
Yesterday I got attacked at a ‘family meeting’ again. Mom told me that I’ll only understand how a mother feels when I have kids of my own. But I really don’t want any, because I’m afraid of screwing up while raising them. I don’t want to spoil my child rotten. Worse, I don’t want to give birth to a child like myself who becomes the scapegoat.
Oh well. 🙂