Tuesday, May 6, 2014

a cautionary tale

I still live at home with my parents (I know, I know!) and as such, am able to observe them in rather close quarters.  When 2014 knocked at our collective door, we hesitantly answered its call and since then so much has happened within the family, that it's been difficult to come out unscathed.

Unbeknownst to them, my parents have been teaching me invaluable lessons.  Lessons in how not to conduct your life.

My Father is a conventional man.  If ever there was a person that contemplated their own navel into political-geographical-socioeconomic significance - it would be him.  He's a classic overthinker, stubborn and fixed in the logical realm. He can't buy anything without researching its intricacies. He doesn't believe in anything you can't prove, see or test and he doesn't like anything made in China. Conversation. End. In fact, anything shit that ever broke - it's China's fault.  He is the Godfather of preparedness, consideration, hand-on-chin, forehead rubbing, deep problem thinking. He'll think and wait, until his dreams are invaded by the metaphors of his inaction.  From my Father, I learn: don't think so fucking much.

All this, and he's the last one to see that people can be devious and self serving.  He is loyal to an absolute fault, and lives his life thinking people are generally nice, and logical - like him.  He'd have to be stabbed in the front by someone, before believing anything really ill about them. He's booksmart, but incredibly naive. Because his world is full of good people - good things happen, patience is rewarded and loyalty is highly regarded, which is why he's also so shocked when things don't work out that way.  From my Father, I learn: don't be so fucking stupid. The things you want are not going to tap you on the shoulder politely and announce excitedly "weee...here I am" - they are more likely to run over your foot and cause you injury as they speed past you in their red sports car, on their way to somewhere else.

My Mother is a basket of contradictions.  Fist-wielding impatient and stubborn she will sometimes scream for change, excitement and opportunity and then cower in the corner beneath a blanket when it threatens to visit.  She is completely immobilised by change. She is suspicious of everything. She can kill good intention with the power of her mind and converts ideas to apathy effortlessly.   In stark contrast to my Dad, she is reactive, negative and completely unpredictable. From my Mother, I learn: evolve or erupt.

My Mum is also completely unaware of her internal environment.  I fear she is so out of touch with who she is, or what she wants, that the things she grabs for, she only does so because they are there. There's no 'inside' voice; she doesn't give any real thought to forming her own opinion on most things - she exists to serve her family, and she doesn't seem to want an identity removed from that.  I wish I could go back in time, and know my Mum, before she was 'Mum'.  From my Mother, I learn: know yourself; and to thine own self, be true.

I've been learning these lessons for a long time, but cruelly, it was only today, when they all came crashing down to consciousness.  And, when I put them altogether, I think about the sadness of lives led in the shadow of these non-rules.  The remnants of hopes, desires and dreams that are trimmed and discarded out of fear and the unknown. I hate today, I just hate it.

When I learnt some disappointing news this afternoon, I had to leave the confines of the house, for fear of combusting.  I went outside to our 'spare room', the place in our home where Christmas decorations, and exercise equipment goes to die.  After some hysterical laugh/crying, I tried to calm myself down with some basic yoga breathing. Afterwards I lay on the mat, listening to Tuesday afternoon tracks of tweeting birds, barking dogs and cooling breeze, I look upon my view which was completely encased in corrugated iron, aside from one small square of blue sky.  I looked at that tiny square, and I was thankful for it, but I couldn't help feeling like everyday that square gets smaller and smaller. I'm shrinking into this horrible existence, when what I want to do is burn the roof down.

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