Family


What is home? If it’s where the heart is, well, I love lots of people. And they’re spread out all over the place.

I remember my old Psych. teacher saying that when you leave home, you generally get homesick after the first three days, then after the first three weeks, then after the first three months. I don’t know if I’ve felt homesick. Maybe it’s because I’ve gone home a few times, or because I know I can go home if I want to. I do miss my parents and friends a lot sometimes. Is that what homesickness is?

The other day there was a fire in my building. The alarms went off at around 3 am and everyone had to stay out in the cold for almost an hour. When I got up I was groggy and annoyed, but also kind of scared, and I didn’t think to take anything with me. I heard people saying they’d smelled smoke, and I started to worry. After waiting 45 minutes with no news, they herded us into some common rooms. I really started to worry. I thought we would stay there the rest of the night, and that the whole building would be gone or something. The only thing I really cared about in my room was my hard drive. Music and video files would be a pain to replace, but my pictures. Most of them are not backed up. Vacation photos, family photos, photos with friends, pretentious self-portraits, all would be lost if that hard drive was lost. Anyway, We were allowed back into our rooms a short while later. The fire was only in the basement. They think some dumbass threw a cigarette down the trash chute.

This made me think about how computers can sort of be home. I can e-mail my mom, stay connected to friends, listen to the same music I listened to back home, lol at the same websites I loled at back home. It’s sort of unhealthy how much I feel I need the computer/internet, but it connects me to home, whatever it is.

My heart goes out to everyone whose homes have been damaged in the CA fires. I know I’m very lucky that I’ve never been affected by a natural disaster like this. I can’t imagine how devastating that must be, and I’ll be praying for them as they rebuild.

I went home last weekend and it was a bit jarring to suddenly see political signs up everywhere. Especially the pro-prop 8 signs. I guess Orange County really is conservative. I thought that it wouldn’t be because there are wealthier communities and wealthy tends to =more liberal, godless, elite, gotcha, media? IDK. I really dk.

Anyway, I was walking with my aunt and she noticed me burning a hole through my neighbor’s Yes on 8 sign. with my eyes. She started saying how she really hopes it passes, before she remembered that I had voiced my opposition to it before. I told her I really did not see anything wrong with gay marriage, and she said “Oh, just you wait. If they get this, they’re gonna want something else.” I was kind of speechless. It was like that saying “If gay and lesbian people get civil rights, everyone will want them.” Except she was completely serious. I asked her to clarify what exactly “they” will want next. She said she didn’t know. It hurt me how she seemed to be dehumanizing gay people, consciously relegating them(us) to a class that shouldn’t have the same rights. I asked her if she knew any gay people, and she said she had a guy friend who was, but he wasn’t a very close friend and he didn’t act gay. She said she liked him, but she seemed embarrassed to be admitting that she knew a gay guy. I told her that gay people are just like everybody else, and probably most of them don’t even “act gay”. Not that there’s even anything wrong with acting gay, but I didn’t think she’d understand that if she thinks being gay is a choice.

Later we saw a tv ad saying how Obama is against prop 8, and she said that she wouldn’t vote for him anymore. It surprised me, but I guess, what did I expect? She said that gay marriage is the most important issue for her.

I told my mom about what she said, and my mom said that she couldn’t vote anyway. This made me feel bad, because I had forgotten that she wasn’t a citizen, so it was maybe insensitive of me to assume she could vote.

So yeah…I’m really worried that prop 8 will pass. I think that because the no on 8 side got a lot of their funds a lot later than the pro-8 side, they were less able to reach out to voters, especially the people who sent in absentee ballots early. I think our side was too optimistic or maybe complacent; I know I was. Ahhhh, don’t let me down, California.

My parents are sort of fighting right now. Well, my mom is really angry at my dad. She’s been talking to me about how she hates when he hangs out with his co-workers on Sat. nights because she feels like she’s not an important enough part of his life, like they don’t spend enough time together. I suggested that she go with him to their get-togethers but she says she wouldn’t be comfortable because she doesn’t like Filipinos (my parents grew up in the Philippines…and I guess my mom doesn’t like the culture). She told me what she said to him the other night when she found out he was going to another party tonight. I thought it was overly mean and insulting to him and his friends. I really sympathize with her, and I feel bad for her. I think it was wrong of my dad to not tell her about the party until I brought up that I wanted to hang out with my friends that night. But I don’t think she should have said what she did; I think she just should have told him that she misses him and wants to spend more time with him.

I think I feel partly responsible. Before that fight my mom was telling me how she has a problem saying how she feels when people do things that bug her. She sort of joked that she wanted me to be her psychologist. I liked the idea…I mean this is what I wanted, right? For our relationship to progress where she could seek help from me and value my opinions. So I told her that she should tell my dad how she feels because by sharing her feelings she would need to trust him and show herself to be vulnerable. Through this their relationship could be strengthened. (Although I probably didn’t say it so clearly :/)

When I was in middle school my parents were angry with each other for a while. I think it was sort of the same situation, where my mom was annoyed with something my dad kept doing, and he was getting weary of her nagging(sorry mom, but you can be pretty harsh). I could see their frustration, especially my mom’s. One day she took me aside and told me that someday she was going to divorce my dad. I’m still kind of mad at her about this. I mean…isn’t the point of “staying together for the kids” that you don’t want to involve them in your relationship troubles? Why was she telling me that? Middle school doesn’t suck hard enough? It really bothered me. I felt like they were going to break up soon and everything would change and I hated for my family to change and I hated thinking about it. Eventually my parents made up. My mom started having some shoulder and back problems, and my dad takes good care of her, so she said that she appreciates that and sees how much he loves her.

This time around, I don’t know…I really hope that they make up soon. I was talking to my mom this morning and she told me again that she wants to divorce my dad. That hurt, again. I’ve been dealing with a lot of change since middle school, but instead of strengthening me, it almost feels like it’s all breaking me down. Can’t anything stay constant? Be the way I want it to? I’ve just been trying to be really nice and engaging and accommodating to my mom, trying to keep her happy. I think I have to talk to my dad about this. I wouldn’t mention divorce at all, I think that would seriously hurt him and I would probably just fuck it all up. But maybe I should “ground” him and force him to go on dates with my mom. They’ve never been into sentimental relationship stuff, they don’t even really celebrate their anniversaries. Maybe I should make them start.

I really don’t want to think that my mom is serious about this. She asked me if I would be mad if she divorced my dad, and I said yes. I need them to stay together because I need them to take care of each other. They can be so good together. My brothers and I are pretty grown up now. A divorce would hurt me a lot, but I think I would be mostly worried about my parents…growing old…alone. I really hate these thoughts.

Actually. For all my talk of feeling grown up, wanting to be grown up…who knows? I feel like a lost little middle schooler again. Who knows how destroyed I would be? I haven’t been letting myself imagine how this would be. I don’t want to go there. I don’t have a great history of not falling apart.

Another feeling came into my mind that I’ve been trying to push away. What is this? Relief?

It disgusts me. Part of me, a small, mutinous, terrible part of me, thinks a divorce would somehow…make coming out for me easier. Why? I guess…I feel like they wouldn’t be perfect parents so I could be pardoned for not being a perfect child. But this hypothetical coming out situation would still involve so much hurt for my parents. Especially if they couldn’t get through it together.

I wish I could talk to my brothers about this. But the thought also scares me, since it makes the situation more real and serious. I hate that our relationship is like this, that an act of reaching out to them would feel like an act of desperation to me.

Hopefully by throwing this all out there I can put it out of my mind for a while. Although I still need to talk to my dad about it argh. This has been a wordvomit entry brought to you by the hope of me getting to sleep at a decent hour tonight.

I watched the movie “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” with my family tonight. It was kind of awkward…and I guess revealing in a way. When the son was tapdancing and acting all effeminate my mom asked “How can the son be gay when his dad is straight?” I laughed a little and asked her where gay people came from then. She said from having two moms. Sigh. Sometimes I wonder if my parents ever suspect me of being a lesbian. I get self-conscious even. Do I look like a lesbian? My posture? The way I walk? From what my mom said, I’m thinking they have no idea.

Then the part came where Jessica Biel is in her underwear. I think she is very pretty, but I’m not really attracted to her. My mom started saying that she doesn’t find Jessica Biel attractive. Then to illustrate her point she rewound the part. And we watched it again. I was kind of LOLing inside at the irony of the situation. Of my mom condemning gayness yet now, if I was attracted to Jessica Biel, well it would help me to ogle. (haha, dad..he was like ‘wait rewind it again?’) Then my aunt had enough of the gayness and was like ‘why are you even looking at her? Girls aren’t supposed to do that.’ Correct me if I’m wrong, but straight girls look too, right? I mean looking doesn’t necessarily mean you’re attracted. Like, “oh, she has a nice body.” Or, “my, what interesting wall coverings you have.”

Sometimes I wonder if my aunt is gay. People say that some of the most vehement homophobes are closeted themselves. I’ve never known her to have any boyfriends and she’s not really looking for love. Maybe she’s got really high standards or maybe she doesn’t feel a spark with guys. Just sometimes I think…the lady doth protesteth too much.

Anyways, here’s the kicker. My mom says, “Don’t you know i’m half lesbian? I used to have crushes on girls when I was in school.” I don’t know…I wasn’t that surprised. She’d told me before that she had little fixations on pretty and nice girls where she wished she was their friend or she wished she could be like them. I think she just got standard “girl-crushes.” I could be wrong of course, maybe she really is bi. But just…judging from intolerant or ignorant things she’s said, I think she is straight.

If she is bi, I think it might make it even harder for her to accept me if/when I come out to her. She might think that she knows how I feel, and that I could just choose to love a guy and suppress attractions to girls. If she is straight, well, it’s still pretty tough. She could dismiss same-sex attractions as just admiring other girls.

On the trip my mom and I visited with relatives and friends, some of whom my mom hadn’t seen in almost twenty years. This made her nostalgic but she also started talking about what things are going to be like in another twenty years, when I have my own daughter. She also lamented that one of my cousins is still single and in her mid-thirties, and told me how worried she would be if I ended up the same way. And just like that, just when I’d started to think that everything can be alright, all of my anxiety came back.

Our mother-daughter relationship would never be the same. I think in the future I may get the courage and strength to come out and endure a short ostracizing. But I feel like I so need their approval and love…I don’t know how long it would take for them to accept me. I fear that they wouldn’t love me as much, I guess. Most of all, I think I fear for what it would do to them. My parents are worriers. They think that my views and actions are their responsibility. So i’m worried about what the stress of this would do to them. They’re already feeling the bodily effects of getting older.

The next morning we went to a church and lit prayer candles (it was a very pretty and ornate church, but I don’t remember the name of it). I sort of surprised myself. After all that renewed anxiety about myself probably being a lesbian, I did not pray to turn straight. I guess I didn’t really think it would work, but more than that, wishing to be different felt wrong. I prayed to kick ass academically in college, to figure myself out, and to find acceptance and love.

Anyone who’s had homosexual feelings knows the fear and confusion that comes with exploring their sexuality and coming out. Well, here’s my story so far.

I used to be very religious; I was in the youth ministry group after going through confirmation and everything. So when I started feeling these things and suspecting I was gay, I felt very ashamed and scared. I was confused because I didn’t know how to change my feelings, how to be any other way than what I was. I prayed so hard to just be straight, to just be normal. My church taught that homosexuals should pray for God to like…fix them and in the meantime try to suppress all of those feelings. Before I knew I was this way myself, I never thought homosexuals were bad people. Still, while I could accept it in other people, it’s been so much harder to accept it in myself. After a while I got a little angry at God for creating me this way. But now I don’t think God ever left me or condemned me. All I ever felt was my own shame for going against what had been taught to me by the church, so that wasn’t his fault. I don’t feel guilty now, but I still feel scared about what my family will think. I don’t know anyone in my (quite large) extended family who is gay, and I know my parents are anti-gay.

When I brought up gay marriage to them when it was legalized in CA, my brothers supported it because they aren’t religious and said the church shouldn’t interfere with the state. My mom, who is religious, said that she was worried that we weren’t bothered by the sinning and how God would punish the state or something. I’m sorry. The whole eye-rolling teenager thing is cliched and all but sometimes it is warranted. I’m just glad that my brothers were open-minded and accepting of it. I think the world could use a lot more tolerance like that. But I’m still not sure how they feel about gay people. We’re not very close.

Although I think most of my friends would not disown me over this, it would undoubtedly change our relationships, and I’m scared of that. Would they shy away from physical affection? I think of them as nothing more or less than sisters. One friend I know would be weirded out a lot. I was talking to her yesterday about a friend of mine. She asked me if my friend was bi and when I said yes she expressed her disgust. She basically acted like my friend was a freak. I don’t really understand her homophobia though, because she is not really religious or highly scrupled. Is she genuinely grossed out by the prospect of same-sex couples? Are any gay people out there grossed out by straight couple PDA’s? Is this just a function of her not being used to it and being closed-minded?

I think I have a pretty good relationship with my parents, overall, but it could be a lot better. I really respect them and appreciate all they do for me. They take care of me and have always put my brothers and me at the top of their priorities.

However, I feel as though they don’t really know my true self. It’s sort of a weird way to describe it, but it’s almost as if our relationship hasn’t evolved past that of a child and parent. They tell me to do things, not to do things, and I listen. For the most part. But they don’t budge on their rules.

I sort of hide parts of me because they are very traditional and strict, and when we argue they never seem to see my side. I feel as though they don’t even try to understand, as though any disagreement on my part is just a phase. This is really alienating because i’ve pretty much just given up arguing with them, and therefore discussing things with them. I’ve started to hide my life because it’s just been easier that way.

Sometimes I even feel as though all they care about are my grades. I know that’s not true, but school, work, and money are about they only things we talk about. I do want to discuss my life with them. I love getting into deep discussions; I sort of thrive on it. In fact, when I make new friends I sort of can’t be completely myself and come up with jokes easily until I have had some sort of deep conversation with them.

I do have hope that in the future we’ll grow closer and actually have a friendship where I can confide in them. I just don’t know how to command their respect and make them see me as an (well, almost) adult. I want to show them that I make good decisions and do the right thing not because I’m afraid of their retribution, but because I’m smart that way. But that’s the hard part. How do I do that? When I succeed, how do I prove to them that it is my own will and not their endless orders and fussing that gets results? I don’t know how to express this. Sometimes I get so frustrated that I feel like a petulant child screaming, “I’ll do it because I want to, not because you told me!” (stomp stomp stomp). Yup. That’ll show them how mature I am.