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Drain the Pressure from the Swelling - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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March 15th, 2010

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09:45 am - Drain the Pressure from the Swelling
My grandmother just returned from India. My grandmother, who had sent me the blessed locket that I would not pick up. It was her birthday yesterday.

At night, I was playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 when she asked if I would listen to her for a second. "Probably not," I thought, knowing what was coming. She mostly spoke in Gujarati, so I didn't understand 100% of what she was saying.

I could keep the locket in my wallet. I didn't have to wear it. I didn't have to believe. But I could keep it in my wallet. It was blessed. It would make my life better. She had paid a lot for it.

I looked at the ceiling and didn't say anything, trying not to let my resolve weaken. I couldn't give in, or they would know that all they had to do was wear me down.

Did I know that my mom cried? She was always crying that I wouldn't listen to her, so she asked my grandmother to try to get through to me; maybe I would listen to her. Just keep the locket with me and make her happy.

"No," I said. "I get to make my own decisions."

But what kind of decisions was I making! She was my grandmother, my mother's mother, and she knew what she was talking about.

I kept looking at the ceiling, and she told me to get all the stubbornness out of my head. I said that it had been one, two, three months, and I didn't want to talk about the locket anymore. I was done talking about it. I didn't understand why they couldn't take no for an answer.

After all my parents had done for me! They had given me everything! If I asked for money—which I don't—they would send it to me! And this is how I repay them!

I finally lost my cool since she had. "So all of the other things I've done don't mean anything!" I said. "The one time I say no, you can't handle it!"

Then she went off on me for, like, a solid minute in Gujarati, and I didn't catch all of it, but a lot of it was repeating the bits about how much my parents had done for me and how I should just be obedient and respectful of my elders and not have all these independent thoughts. But the very last thing she said, unless I misheard or mistranslated, was something to the extent of "God will show you the error of your ways, mark my words." And then she left and closed the door behind her.

I don't know what came over me, but I began yelling to the empty room. "I'll just fucking die then!" I cried. "Will that make you happy? I'll fucking kill myself tomorrow!" What was I, fifteen? "That will be my fucking punishment! For refusing to wear a fucking locket!"

Then I engaged in stress therapy through killing lots of people and dying a lot. And in bed, just to be dramatic, I thought about telling my parents that I was sick and tired of the fact that they were never proud of or happy for me and they should just get used to the fact that I was a failure and a disappointment and I would never amount to anything and I was not special, and I cried myself to sleep.
Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Current Music: Ladytron - Blue Jeans

(17 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")


[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
Without video game catharsis I would do a lot more harm to the world.

*hugs* Love you, Sunil.

(Also I think you rock and are awesome, even if your family can't see it)

Edited at 2010-03-15 04:49 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
I'm sad that your elders aren't conscious of the emotional abuse they're inflicting on you.

Keep on keepin' on. :-(
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry about this whole ridiculous thing. *hugs*
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, Sunil. I'm so sorry they're putting you through this.

It probably doesn't mean as much since I'm not your parents, but I'm proud of you, and I think you're special. I mean, seriously... you're so smart, and you've got this great job where people LOVE you and how hard you work, and you're supporting yourself and making a living, and you're such an incredible writer, clever and interesting and funny, so much so that about a million people follow you online just to hear what interesting thing you're going to say next.

All that stuff your parents gave to you? That's their JOB, as parents. And showing that you're grateful isn't about obedience, it's about living your own life and owning your own choices. Your parents should take your independence as a compliment, because it means that they did an amazing job raising you to be a capable, smart, functioning adult.

I know that a lot of this is a culture thing, so they don't see it this way. But if life really is all about self-sacrifice... whether it's to your elders or to your children... NOBODY ends up happy.
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
God. Sending you much love from here, Sunil.
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
So sorry about all of this Sunil, you shouldn't have to go through it. Families suck sometimes, even if they are doing it out of what they think is love.
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
More hugs, Sunil. I can't even imagine what you're going through. I am sending happy hassle-free vibes.
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
Man, I'm so sorry about that. But you have to be you, not the imaginary person your family projects on to you. Good for you for standing your ground.

If it's any comfort, the son whose family places impossible or unwanted expectations on him is the classic hero of American movies and TV, so at least you have lots of fictional role models.
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)
So sorry about all of that.

I echo the senitments above that what your parents have done for you is their job as parents, and it doesn't mean you owe them your independence or your life. You are doing nothing wrong, as terrible as this whole thing must be making you feel - and I think you are strong for resisting. Stay strong.
Date:March 15th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
I echo that sentiment as well; the blackmail of "after all I've done for you" is so appalling to me.

To quote Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: "...I owe you nothing, and if you carried that mailbag a million miles, it was no more than what you were supposed to do... because you brought me into this world, and from that day it is you who owed me everything you could ever do for me, just like I will owe my son, if I ever have another."

You aren't supposed to be expected to be grateful to your parents for your own SURVIVAL. That's their JOB. Sheesh.
[User Picture]
Date:March 15th, 2010 10:38 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Hey, you are doing your best to be your own person. They got their own lives; you get to live yours.
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
Your parents are definitely in the wrong here, but you're wrong about one this - you will definitely amount to something and you are special. Don't ever forget that.
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
Mothers are the most stubborn creatures in the world. Hang in there.
Date:March 16th, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
Only family can take us to that edge. Sorry you got pushed over it. I know the feeling of acting like a teenager and not being able to stop it. I guess it is because that was the last time we felt so overwhelmed by emotion or so confined to someone elses's box. On a daily basis :)

Love and strength to you. And, you know, humoring them to make your life less exhausting wouldn't be defeat. It would be a valid survival technique.

Edited at 2010-03-16 05:46 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2010 11:23 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, I say you did the right thing. I'm sorry that didn't mean the same thing as being happy, but that's sometimes the case, of course. Maybe they'll figure out that this is who you are and maybe they won't, but there's no question that they should, and the only way that'll happen is if you do just what you did and stand up for yourself.

That's all I got, guy.
[User Picture]
Date:March 21st, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, honey, I am so so sorry they are still pushing this. I repeat everything I said in my previous comments. All I can think to suggest at this point is to see if there's a mediator who can work with you guys, someone who know both Indian traditions and North American ways -- someone who can help you guys to communicate and at least better understand each others' positions -- because clearly this is a deal-breaker for everyone involved, which is just heartbreaking.

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