sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
Eyes open
Work could be worse, I'll give you that. Looks like my chances of promotion are still pretty much nil - I seem to have pissed off the wrong person and sabotaged myself in doing so, though in truth, I have no idea how I did it because I barely speak to the person in question. It's said that if you get on her bad side, you can kiss your opportunities goodbye, and now, well, she'll say hello to everyone in my row but won't even meet my eyes. I can only conclude that I did something wrong.

I've been advised by M, the quality manager who'se so much like me that it's eerie, that I shouldn't discount promotion so quickly, because for one thing, I have to be at the company for a certain length of time before they'll consider me for anything. But that doesn't tally with what happened to Kat, as she had an info session for an internal promotion that starts early in the new year, and she's been there as long as I have.

Also, the Keener has been granted floorwalking time, which particularly rankles me because she still asks me questions when I walk the floors. The times I do that aere fewer now, though. At first, my sup let me do it a lot. Then it seemed he was only letting me do it until Kat showed up, and then virtually ignored me, like I was a poor substitute for Kat and he'd only tolerate my help until she arrived. Now I'm still being passed over so that the Keener can floorwalk. I'm starting to feel seriously shat on, here.

My sup's likely going to be promoted soon, too, and he commented that he'd get to pick his replacement. It was the next day that the Keener started walking the floors, and I overheard the other sup talking with her about some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that supervisors do. I have no definitive proof, but I'm getting more sure that I'm going to stay an entry-level agent there until I quit, because I keep getting overlooked by those who can help me.

The people around me love my help. They ask me questions even when someone else is walking the floor. That's heartening. But it's ignored by the people who can help me advance, and I don't have enough conclusive proof of being overlooked to approach them about it. If I do, I'll look paranoid and self-centred, I know I will. It'll sound like I think I'm better than other people and want all the attention and accolades for myself.

But there are too many signs adding up to the strong suggestion that somebody doesn't want me advancing.

So I'm doing the only thing I can do. While I'm there, I do my work as well as I can, help people out where I can, and try to catch the eye of supervisors and managers who might help me rise on the corporate ladder. In the meantime, I'm putting resumes out there to other companies, too, who might be able to get me a better job than what I've got now.

For instance, today I managed to find two good-looking jobs on the job bank. One for a technical writer, which I knows pays decently although it's only a temp job. (If it's temporary and work-from-home and I'd get paid by the document rather than the hours I worked, I could technically work that job in addition to my current one, depending on the workload.) The other is a web design job, $16 an hour for 40 hours a week. I know I don't have the best web design skills in the world, but I've done web design before, and the ad did say that all experience levels will be considered. For all I know, I might be the person with the best skills willing to work at the price they're willing to pay.

Besides, I'd be a fool not to apply for those jobs. At worst, I won't get them, and then what was lost but the five minutes that it took to type out a cover letter and send off an email. At best, I'll get the job and I'm sure I'd enjoy it more than the one I have now, and I'd get better pay to boot! After taxes, the web design job would give me about $2000 a month, which is around $600 more than I'm getting right now. That could change my life dramatically. Right now, I can pay the bills and rent and whatnot and still have a little money left over for meds and maybe a treat every now and again. On $2000 a month, I'd have enough money to do all that plus save $500 a month for... I don't know, maybe going back to school, going on a vacation, retirement, anything I please!

But we'll see what happens. Maybe I'll get lucky and get the web design job, and maybe I won't and I'll stay where I am until something better comes along later. But either way, I'm trying.

Ears closed
My mother insists on calling me. Or on getting me to call her. Constantly. Annoyingly. For ridiculous things.

Earlier in the week, she left a message on my voicemail, then posted on my Facebook wall for me to call her. Thinking it was important (because why else would she do that so randomly when she could just email me), I called. Turns out she just wanted to repeat everything she'd already said to my voicemail. *facepalm*

The other night, I sent her a message on Facebook asking if she remembered whether my dad likes a certain kind of candy or not. her reply, half a minute later (showing that she easily had access to the Internet) was, "Call me." I replied no, I was a bit busy, and was there some reason she couldn't answer a simple yes or no question?

She replied, of course, but I imagine she was annoyed that I had the temerity not to call her.

She did the same thing today, only worse. I made a post on Facebook saying that I'd applied for a job. Her reply? "Call me, please."

So I call. All she wanted to know was whether I wanted to go to the mall with her, to keep her company while she shopped for winter boots.

I'd had enough. I asked her to stop doing that. I work on the phones for 42 hours a week, and she's known for years that I both don't like phones and also don't like pointless chitchat, so could she please stop getting me to call her for things that could be easily said through a simple message when she clearly knows I can receive it online.

She got a little huffy and said that she liked talking to me and that she didn't hear from me as much anymore, so it was nice to hear my voice. I bit back a retort about how she hasn't heard from me as much because now I have a job instead of being unemployed, but just repeated my request and told her that she knows I don't like phones.

She reluctantly agreed to stop harassing me.

Hopefully that'll give me a month of blessed silence before she forgets that I'm not at her beck and call every second and she starts calling constantly to chat about nothing once again.
sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
There's a meme going around Facebook right now that makes me feel rather uncomfortable.

And no, I don't mean that ridiculous one where People With Boobs are supposed to change their status to say where they like to put their handbag. I found that one annoying partly because of the assumption that if you have boobs, you're automatically going to have a handbag and be feminine about it, and because I kept being sent reminders about that meme by people who really should know better in regard to my gender identity.

I know that one was supposed to be a follow-up meme to last year's "Post what colour your bra is" meme, designed to confuse guys and raise awareness for breast cancer. This one was supposedly to raise awareness for breast cancer too, but as I posted out at one point, unless women have started detaching their boobs and carrying them around in handbags, there's no correlation. At least the one related to bras had a clear connection to breasts!

But no, the meme that's making me uncomfortable right now is the following: My parents were MEAN to me when I was a kid. They made me do chores, and go to school. They gave me a curfew, made me get a job and work for the things that I wanted. They insisted that I do my best at school, at my job & to take pride in my work. I grew up with morals, a good work ethic & respect for the law, and my elders. I'm thankful everyday for my MEAN parents. Copy and paste if you agree! LOVE & THANK YOU

I see what this is. This is supposed to be an adult mockery of all the kids who rant about how mean and stupid their parents are for not letting them do everything they want, for trying to give kids some responsibility in life. My problem is that my parents actually did most of the things suggested in that meme... and yet were crappy parents and I am not thankful for what they did to me.

My parents were the kind of people who weren't terrible enough to warrant the intervention of the police or social workers (though my mother and I did try when my father started throwing things violently to vent his anger), but were bad enough to make my life very difficult, and some of what they did had very lasting consequences that I'm still trying to sort out amost 10 years after I got out from under their thumbs.

They didn't make me do chores, not exactly. I tried to do some when I was young, as an incentive to both of us to establish a whole, "I do work, you pay me small amounts of money," thing. It worked... for about 3 days. I came up with a chore list and we all agreed on the amount I should be paid for doing them. Then my parents just got to owing too much for what I'd done when they couldn't be bothered to pay me for it, and backed out of the agreement.

I didn't learn to cook anything until I was on my own. I wasn't allowed in the kitchen to cook or bake anything, even in my teens, unless one of them was there supervising me. (Because making a batch of sugar cookies is oh-so-difficult...) That sounds fine in theory, except they always just told me they didn't want to supervise me. In retrospect, that was, purely and simply, because they were being lazy, and it would have cut into their TV-watching time. The fact that I was willing and eager to learn a skill I was almost sure to use at some point in my adult life meant nothing to them. If it interrupted their sitcoms, then it was a no-go.

They made me go to school, and I'd say this is a good thing, except it was illegal for them not to school me and neither of them was interested in homeschooling, so what choice did they have? When I wanted to transfer high schools to avoid the serious bullying problem I had, though, they made sure to express their dissatisfaction at how inconvenient it was for them to call a few people to get me registered at the new school and to make sure my records were sent over.

Note that I made the decision to transfer between school years, so it's not like there even had to be some rush to get me switched in the middle of a semester or anything. But it was inconvenient for them to have me try to get away from people who were physically and verbally abusing me.

Curfew? Sure. I had a curfew. Through most of high school, I was grounded, so my curfew was pretty much as soon as I could get home from school. Why was I grounded a lot? Some legitimate reasons, like skipping classes. Others not so legitimate, like being grounded for a month for accidentally forgetting that I left a banana peel on my bedroom floor for a day when I was at school.

Rei told me once that he was sure I was lying about being grounded so much in high school, that he thought I was just using it as an excuse to not hang out with anyone. To his eyes, and to the eyes of just about everyone else, there was no reason for me to be grounded so much.

Grounding wasn't much of a punishment, I admit. Most of the time, it meant that I just came home after school and didn't hang out with anyone, which just reinforced the idea that social lives are too difficult to maintain. I could still watch TV, I could still read books, all that stuff. And usually they'd let me off the grounding early, for "good behaviour."

Even when I told them not to. I went to my dad, on the last time I was grounded, and told him flat-out not to end the grounding early this time, because I was losing respect for him. "Good behaviour," you see, didn't actually involve me doing anything different than what I would have done anyway, if I wasn't with friends. I came home, watched TV in my room, did my homework, read some, and went to bed. Rinse and repeat. And because I'd been so good, they figured I'd learned my lesson and give me a reprieve.

I told them not to do that. They agreed. And did it anyway. That was the last time they ever grounded me.

No, the punishments to be afraid of weren't the groundings. They were the isolations. Twice in my life, I did something that my parents deemed needed a very harsh punishment. I don't remember what the first once was, but the second was me hiding food in my room so I didn't like, so that I could throw it out later, but I'd forget and so it went moldy. I agree, that deserved punishment. But not what they did.

They removed everything from my room except for my bed and the dresser that held my clothes. My toys, my games, my books, all of it was gone. I wasn't to go out of my room except to go to the bathroom and to eat meals. The rest of the time I was to be quiet in my room.

It was like this for a month. I was 9 at the time. I can't count the amount of times I read my social studies textbook from cover to cover, because I had nothing else to do. Sometimes when my father was out, my mother would sneak out a book or a toy for me, or let me watch half an hour of TV, before he came back. But the rest of the time I was in isolation. I wasn't shunned, exactly, but nobody really went out of their way to talk to me or to try to draw me into some family situation.

I suspect that my father had no real idea what I was doing by myself all that time. On the first day, he called me out of my room in a loud angry voice to demand what I was doing. I remember holding up a textbook as an answer. He didn't check again after that. Maybe he expected me to be crying or something, I don't know. Maybe if I had cried, he'd have relented on the punishment a bit. But facing him down by holding up the only thing he had allowed me to have as entertainment, the school books he couldn't keep away from me, was the only answer I thought to give him. I was meek, I was quiet, and I was messed up.

Let's see, what's next on that meme. Ah, right, working for the things I want, and getting a job. Yes, my parents made me get a job. They, in fact, got me my first job. When I was 15, young enough to still need express parental permission to work. Without even asking me if I wanted a job. I called home one day after school to tell them I'd be at the library for a little while, and was told that I had a job the next day. I asked if they meant an interview, and was told no, a job. My mother had badgered her boss into hiring me at a fast food place.

The thought never crossed my mind to say no. The thought never crossed my mind that I might be allowed to say no. I wasn't even asked if I wanted a job. Just told that I now had one.

This worked out well for my father. He'd told me for years that once I got a job, he'd no longer pay me allowance, and I'd agreed, since it made sense to me that if I was earning my own money, why would I need him to give me more? But once the place that didn't want to hire me in the first place stopped giving me hours and eventually just let me go, he didn't reinstate the allowance, and so if I wanted money at all, even to buy Christmas presents for friends, I didn't have a choice but to get another job.

At least the next job was one I got to look for and choose myself, rather than having it suddenly forced upon me.

Insisting I do my best and take pride in my work? Sort of, in a backwards sense. If insisting that I do my best can be conveyed through punishments if I did less than what they wanted my best to be, then sure, they did that. They didn't encourage, except when I was in elementary school and in the top of my class. Then they encouraged, and gave praise. But when it got into junior high, started doing French Immersion, and started suffering apathy and depression, encouragement gave way to vocal disappointment.

Once, my father said he was so disappointed in me that he didn't even want to hear me speak. I don't even remember what I'd done to warrant that. All I know is specifically, at the time he said it, I was trying to engage him in a talk about what I'd learned and done that day in gym class. He cut me off and told me, in essence, that I wasn't good enough to talk to him.

I grew up with eating disorders, a fear of authority figures, and abandonment issues. I can't love them for that. I can't even thank them for that. They did some good things for me, sure, but sometimes it seems like they were done by accident. I toed the line and learnt morals and ethics, but only from fear of making the wrong decision and getting punished for it, and punished out of proportion to the crime.

When my parents bought me my first computer, they said it was my computer, but that I had to allow them to use it if they needed. I agreed. I didn't know at the moment of that agreement that my mother would be coming into my bedroom every hour to check the status of my father's eBay auctions, not giving me any real time to myself. I didn't know that my father would be obsessed with installing random programs and messing with settings until the whole system crashed and had to have an OS reinstall, meaning that all of my files got deleted about once a month. And I couldn't complain about this, either, without a loud lecture about how selfish I was. I couldn't password-protect anything, even my ICQ account, without demands to know what I wanted to hide from them.

They finally got a new computer for me and I gave them my old one, as was part of that agreement. Great, I thought. Now I can stop worrying that all my stuff's going to disappear, and they can give me some privacy. Then I came home one day and found out that my system had crashed and needed an OS reinstall. Why? My father had downloaded a program on his computer, and then did the same thing to mine to see how it ran differently. A screwy conflict happened, and there went Windows. And I couldn't even put a password on what was purely my system then without accusations and suspicion.

This is not good parenting. It wasn't good parenting then, and it isn't now. I may not have been the easiest child to raise, what with my mental health being shaky at best, but I also could have been a lot worse. I can't be thankful for that.

I can't be thankful for my father greeting me by saying, "Hi, sexy," and then asking why I don't pluck my eyebrows, because they look like two hairy caterpillars on my face.

I can't be thankful for my mother leaving me alone until midnight when I was 12 years old, saying she'd only be gone for a few minutes, so that she could cover a friend's car with branches as a prank. I had no idea where she was, got more worried each minute she was gone, had no way of contacting her, and needed to sleep but was too afraid to. I can't be thankful for the anger she expressed at me when I didn't share in the laughter of her prank.

And that's why the meme makes me uncomfortable. I agree with what it's attempting to do, poking a bit of fun at the kids who insist that they have lousy parents because they're not allowed to stay out until midnight and go drinking and have to keep their bedrooms clean. But I can't, in good conscience, repost that message. I wouldn't mean a word of it. My mother would see it and thank me for being so sweet and kind and go on believing that she's done the right thing all along and that none of my problems were due to her negligence. My father would see it and ask why, if I felt that way, I acted so often as if they did so many things wrong.

This gives me the same feeling that shopping for their birthday cards does. I can't get them the sappy ones that gush about what good parents they were, how much I love them, how thankful I am for everything they did for me, because it's a load of sugar-coated lies. And I don't want to give them lies, no matter how nice they taste, no matter how much better it makes them feel about themselves, because it isn't real.

And then I feel selfish and mean and keep asking myself why I can't just do something nice for a change, make them feel good about themselves even if it's not entirely true, because everyone likes to feel good about themselves sometimes. I feel like a jackass for feeling like they made some monumental fuck-ups and for not just putting it all behind me.

If I had to describe that feeling, I'd sound all emo. It really is like a hollowness in my chest, like somebody stuck this bubble of negativity where my heart should be, and I can't tell if I want to cry or hurt myself for being such a bad person or shout a lot or just ignore it, because all of those options suck.

Family is a complicated issue.
sarasvati: Greyscale image of the Digimon Kaiser. (kaiser-mode)
Yesterday, I got a phone call that consisted of nothing but a recorded message saying that I should call so-and-so at such-and-such number. No company name, nothing regarding what the call was about. I figured it was a scam and just hung up.

They called back today. I called them back. Turns out it was somebody looking for my mother. A Google search of the number brings up references to a pushy collections agency that was looking for my mother in the past.

Last time, I gave them her number and told my mother they'd be calling. She later told me that she called them back, pretended to be me, and told them that whoops, "I" just remembered that the number I gave them was my mother's old phone number and I didn't remember the new one.

I told my mother that under no circumstance was she to commit fraud in my name again.

I've confronted her numerous times in the past about all her creditors and collectors mysteriously getting my phone number when they try to call her. The calls from her bank were one thing, because we bank with the same company and we have a joint account so she can easily transfer money to me when needed. (Must remember to change that to a single account soon...) So I can almost see how they could have made the logical leap to call me, because my name and number are attached to an account she also has access to. But they called a lot. After being told repeatedly that this was not, and never had been, a number at which she could be reached. It wasn't until I left them a message threatening legal action for harassment that they stopped calling here.

Then companies started calling for her which I had no connection to at all. Like these collection companies. Who shouldn't be calling for her at all if she actually did what she said she did and filed for bankruptcy. She says she doesn't give out my number. I can't believe her.

I can't even give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that these companies are looking in the phone book and calling everyone with the same last name as my mother, because the home phone number is listed under Rei's name and not mine. There's no way they should be getting my number and thinking it's a way to contact her unless she's the one giving it to them.

And lying about it to me. She dodges credit card companies and collectors all the time. I've seen her do it. She took her name off her answering service, screens calls, and sometimes even answers the phone and says they called a wrong number. I wouldn't put it past her at all to give them my number in an effort to hold off having to deal with them for another day.

I don't know why. She knows very well that I won't stand for that.

But this collector has her number now. She can deal with them.

But the real kicker came when I looked through my emails after having sent her that message. She sent me one saying that she noticed I had money in my bank account now, and could I please pay her back some of the money I've borrowed over the past few months.

The money only went in today. It's money I've been waiting about 2 months for, is my tax return, and I need it for rent and groceries because I have no other source of income until I find a job. She is often heard to brag that it takes only one of her paycheques to cover her monthly expenses, and the second paycheuqe is hers to do with as she pleases. (It doesn't please her to pay off her credit card bills, of course.) But she asks me within minutes of the money going through if I can pay her back the $80 she apparently so desperately needs. That $80 I owe is slightly more than I get every 2 weeks from EI, that I have to make stretch for groceries when we need more than that anyway.

It drives me nuts that she can't see that I'm in a lousy financial situation here. All she sees is that I miraculously have money, and that she wants it.

... She just called me, actually, and swore that she hadn't given my number to anyone. She sounded angry that I accused her. When I reiterated my evidence that she had, that there's really no other way for people to get this number to contact her (pointing out that the number's listed under Rei's name, for example), she suddenly sounded more contrite. I said that it was obviously a collector because they didn't leave a company name and so couldn't be dodged as easily, and pointed out that they should be calling for her at all if she'd filed for bankruptcy, and she sounded even more contrite. Especially when I told her that I was sure it was the company who called last time when she pretended to be me to get them off her back.

She said she'd call them and sort it out and even threaten them if they keep calling me. It isn't her who should threaten them. It's me who should threaten her. She admitted to causing fraud in my name before. She's a known debt-dodger, a known liar. Hell, I could have charged my own mother with invasion of privacy when she insisted on opening all of my bills years ago because she "was curious." She has no sense of boundaries and little sense of decency and responsibility, I'm sad to say.

I really hope that she's telling the truth when she says she's not giving my number to anyone. But I really can't see any feasible way that all these companies would get my number and think they can reach her here.

[Edit] - Oho! She called me back to let me know how that call went, and how irate she got with them about how they can't keep calling me, etc. She asked them where they got my number in the first place, and apparently they said that she gave it to them, though she followed that with the stunning rebuttal of, "But there's no reason for me to have given you that number."

Yeah, because saying she has no reason completely means she didn't do it.

What I was particularly interested in was her comment of, "I don't use you as a cover anymore." Anymore?! That sounds an awful lot like an admission to having done it in the past, and unless she's talking about the time she pretended to be me, that means she just admitted to having lied not only to various credit companies but also to me.
sarasvati: Itsuki, from Fatal Frame 2 (sad)
It came as no real surprise to, for the first time, consciously understand why I spent so much of my life believing that even those whom I called my best friends were only merely tolerating my presence rather than actually wanting to be around me. At best, I considered myself to be just another tag-along in their social circle. At worst I believed wholeheartedly that they were only putting up with my presence so that they could learn humiliating things to laugh about later.

The reason for this is how my parents treated me.

This Friday, my father got back into the city and asked if I wanted to get together. I sent him a reply (this was through Facebook messaging) that I was free all Saturday and he could just let me know when we could meet up. He'd suggested a local BBQ festival might be fun, and I agreed.

No reply until evening, after I had spent the entire day thinking to myself, "I'll wait another hour and see if he calls. Just one more hour. Maybe he's sent an email." I didn't eat, because I thought that at any moment we'd be going out to eat tasty BBQ food. But that email in the evening said that ooops, he'd been busy all day, and maybe we could get together Sunday instead?

I suppose taking 30 second to call me would have been too much to ask.

My mother called today to express surprise that he and I hadn't met up. I told her I'd sent him a message on Friday and he didn't reply until Saturday, and that I had plans today anyway. "Oh," she said, "well he gave me something to give to you."

Yes, he spent yesterday with my mother. Taking her shopping. Buying all her groceries. Evidently planning to not see me today, really, if he went so far as to give something to my mother to give to me.

"Luck you," I said when she told me that he paid for her groceries. The bitterness in my voice was lost on her. She makes about $500 a month more than she needs. I make $500 too little.

Not the first such incident. The Pride parade was another great example. My mother said she'd come, and even march with me. Then she forgot all about it and made plans to meet up with my father instead. She later sent me an email saying that she must have underestimated how much it meant to me.

That all reminded me of the time last year that I was doing my first stage performance since high school, and she had told me she'd come. She didn't. She apparently spent too long on the phone talking to my father, then lay down for a nap and didn't bother to set the alarm.

But hey, she's willing to pay for a gym membership for me, right? That shows she cares!

Except that the only reason she did it is so she wouldn't have to go by herself, because she felt too intimidated to do so. If someone else was there with her, someone larger than her and therefore not as threatening as all the skinny people she wants to be like, then it's okay.

I'm a convenience item. They take it for granted that I'm going to be there when they want me to be and that I'm just going to happily go away when they've got anything else to do. And by "anything else," I mean such inconsequential things as spending half an hour at Starbucks drinking overpriced coffee beverages, which usually means that any and all plans with me are automatically cancelled, even if both things could be done in a day.

No, it's no wonder that I spent my life thinking that people only tolerated me and didn't actually like me. Even my own parents treated me that way. I'm a pretty little thing to show off. "Look at all she's accomplished, you must be so proud of her, you must be wonderful parents!" "I'm not going to be seen in public with you if you don't dress more nicely." I'm a display piece. Something seen and not heard, and only seen when it's for the benefit of other people. Other than that, I may as well not be here.

And they still can't comprehend why I spent over half of my life suffering from depression, alternating between apathy, half-hearted rebellion, and outright self-harm and suicide attempts. They think themselves good parents, and can't understand why I have so many problems with them and with what they do. They've given me so much, after all, that surely all the other piddly little things mustn't matter anymore.

Of course they don't. To them. I, on the other hand, get a slap in the face when I reach out for parental connections. I must just go on smiling and pretending nothing's wrong, that their slights and oversights don't bother me at all.

Rei's sitting across from me playing Dragon Age. We're not even looking at each other, and we haven't said much, but so far today, he's actually paid more attention to me than my parents have. And cares more about what I have to say and what I feel.

It's odd, though. Sometimes when this sort of thing happens, parts of me shut down and cease to feel. Protection, I suppose, because otherwise I'd probably burst into frustrated tears. But when this happens, Rei can rant for an hour about how lousy my parents are and how badly they treat me and how inconsiderate they are, and it always surprises me because it feels like he's more angry about it than I am. I'd be angrier, but it would just hurt me more.

But maybe if I let myself be angrier, I'd stop hoping that they'd eventually learn and remember that I have a schedule and feelings and ought to be considered as much as themselves. If I stopped hoping for that, then there'd be no real let-down when they didn't do as they said.

But I'm tired of crying. It's selfish, and probably backwards, but I don't want to have to work through this in order to not feel pain because they can't learn. I'd actually rather suppress it, squash it down and let Rei be angry on my behalf, than let myself sob one more time.
sarasvati: (angry)
I'm annoyed beyond belief at my mother right now. I mentioned on Facebook the other day that I applied for a job that sounded awesome. Data entry, overnights (4 nights on, 4 off), $13 an hour. Temporary, but hell, even if it's only for a week that'd give me almost a month's rent money!

So what does she do? She asks me for the link to apply for the job herself. Then deletes that message. I think oh, perhaps she realised that I need the job more than she does, since she currently has a full-time job that pays her almost twice as much as she needs (and yet she's still declaring bankrupcy because she can't curb her spending habits).

But no, today she called me to ask me the location of the temp agency that posted the job, because she wants to know before she sends them a resume.

I fumed. I reminded her that it was only temp work, and she said she didn't recall seeing that on the job ad. I checked while she was on the phone, and yes, it still is. Just temp work. Not guaranteed to last.

"Oh," she said. "That's a shame. When I saw that it was overnights, 4 on and 4 off, I thought, 'Yeah, I can do that!'"

"Yeah," I said in a flat voice. "So can I."

I don't think she got the hint.

She then asked me how many clips I had left on my bus pass. I told her 3, which will get me to and from the cat rescue meeting tonight and to the gym tomorrow. She offered to buy me another clip pass, which I agreed to, because why turn down what I need?

"That ought to get you by until your next installment of EI money," she commented.

Once again, I snapped. "That money goes on groceries. I can't afford to buy anything with it but groceries. I get $72 every two weeks!" I've told her this before, numerous times. It isn't like she doesn't know.

"Oh, how can anybody survive on that little?" she lamented. I fumed some more. She knows all this, though she acted like it was a terrible surprise to hear. I used to be frugal with groceries and get by on about $200 worth of groceries a month for 2 humans, 2 cats, and a bird. Now I have less than 3/4 of that money and have to somehow make it stretch to be enough, and it rarely is. I can't afford a bus pass. I can barely afford what food I manage to buy!

And she knows this. And still whenever I comment that hey, I applied for a really awesome-sounding job and I really hope I get it, she feels the need to try for it to, in spite of the fact that she doesn't need it at all and I need it more than I can fully express.

You'd think she was some competitive high school brat rather than my mother. Well, she acts 15 most of the time anyway, so I suppose that behaviour shouldn't come as a surprise to me.

So many times I've had to censor what I say online. I've been made to feel like hiding is the only way I can exist. If it isn't stalkers following me from site to site, or the worry of employers finding a single less-than-flattering comment about them, it's the risk of my parents finding out anything that they can use against me or for themselves. Now I feel like I can't tell anybody about jobs I interview for and have them wish me good luck, because if I so much as mention it, she'll try to steal the job out from under my nose.

I took a big risk in adding two friends from LJ to my circle here on DW. Not that I think those people would betray me. I wouldn't have added them if I thought that. But it's a connection, and it's a connection that I recoil from a lot because somebody else can trace me, find me, look at everything I say and force me back into that little corner where I have to custom-lock all my entries in order to say anything at all, or else disappear entirely and come back as some other online persona.

I'm starting to feel smothered again. I'm starting to feel like I need to hide and to cut myself off. It isn't just my OCD, I think, that makes me try to compartmentalize every aspect of my life, every hobby. In the past, I've had separate blogs for knitting, sewing, generic crafts, cooking, trying to be frugal, writing, book reviews, and personal journals. It's hard. Too hard, sometimes, to keep it all so apart. I fail a lot of the time. I wonder why I even tried.

Then things like this happen and I remember why I like every bit of my life to stay away from every other bit.

When I was younger, I had a dream about nonexistence. Sometimes a person was winked out of reality and went to a place called The Silence by its inhabitants. It was called that because silence was golden there. It existed out of time, and so I had access to books, games, everything from every day of every year that had ever been or would be. It was a numb place, very alone, where few people saw each other and fewer still communicated.

And when things were bad in my life, I'd summon up the feeling that The Silence gave me, and I'd be fine for a while, pretending that when I was alone in my room, I was there. I had eternity to be with myself, reading and playing and drawing and doing whatever I wanted because I was all I had and all I needed.

I know now that such a thing is a sign of deep psychologic problems. Entirely likely to be related to depression. But sometimes I still wish that I could be there, because when I wasn't real, I didn't have to hide anything. For once, I was free to be me, and I didn't have to worry about being found because I wasn't around for anybody to find.

All this, resurfacing because my mother won't leave well enough alone and always tries to selfishly prevent me from getting a new job by trying to take it for herself. And they'll hire her, too. Not because she's good at what she does. Not because she's reliable or competant. Because she's older, in that age group that's supposed to be reliable and competant, and I'm in the group of delinquants who drink and party every weekend and who can't be trusted. I have never been hired where she has not been. I have been rejected where she got hired.
sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
Sometimes the strangest thought-trains occur to me. I was sitting comfortably, reading Mori Kyoko's memoirs, Yarn: Remembering the Way Home, and I came to a passage about her grandfather walking through the rice paddies in Japan.

And then, unbidden came them memory of trying to converse with my father about something I was interested in: at the time, this was the Pokemon video games. I mentioned how the game was set up so that most often, random encounters only took place in tall grass.

He asked if I was sure that it was just tall grass. Confused, I told him that was what the game said, that was how it had been presented, and I didn't see any reason to think otherwise. He clarified his question, saying that he knew the game was made in Japan, so he thought that they were probably rice paddies instead of patches of grass.

I couldn't begin to wrap my brain around why this would have occured to him as a serious consideration. Did he think Japan didn't have grass? Did he think that all there was to Japan were the things that Westerners think of as "typically Japanese?" Rice, slanted eyes, chopsticks, kimonos, sayonara. Did he think that was all it took to understand the essence of Japan, of every Japanese person?

He denies that he is racist, of course, even when he calls the Chinese students "chinks." He doesn't mean the term in a derogatory fashion, so how could it be taken as such, he reasons. He will glare daggers at me if I say the word "nigger" in an academic or historical sense, but still talks about "damn chinkies" and eating "chinky food" for supper. It's okay for him to be this way, because he means no offense and so nobody should have any reason to take offense.

I can't expect much of this man. He is, after all, the same man who had a legitimate discussion with me about why he thinks the Bible should be a central book for every religion, because it teaches good ethics and has much to teach people. I argued that the same could be said for just about any religious book, which he dismissed as a valid argument because he hadn't read them and so couldn't judge.

He hasn't read the Bible, either, I should say. He's not religious, let alone a Christian. He's one who demands indeniable proof before he'll let himself believe.

He's the same man who insists that "soduko" is just another pronunciation as "sudoku", and one that's just as correct, because according to him, a 'U' and an 'O' are pronounced the same way in Japanese. He bases this on the band "Shounen Knife", and since he pronounces shounen with a short 'o' (as in 'hot' rather than 'oh'), then the same must stand for all words.

All these memories, triggered from a single line in a single book, a line that has nothing to do with racism or stupid parents or stupid people in general. All of it, from "rice paddies."
sarasvati: Itsuki, from Fatal Frame 2 (thoughtful)
I can't say that I ever waited anxiously for Mother's Day to get here so that I could give gifts to my mother, but I used to enjoy it when it did come because of how I chose to express my love for her. It started with sappy storebought cards, of course, and later on I made my own, writing in them little poems that talked about how much I appreciate everything she'd ever done for me, how much I loved her, how great a mother she was. She used to cry happy tears when she read those cards.

Then I stopped being able to do that. Not because creativity left me, no. Because my mother did.

Now, at this time of year, I pass by racks of cards proclaiming the very things I used to enjoy saying, and I feel uncomfortable and bitter. I can no longer say any of the things I used to with a clean conscience, because they would all be lies.

She wasn't always there for me. She would attempt to leave my father and come back to this city, then when holding down a job and taking care of finances became too much of a chore, she would leave to go back with him. Only she wouldn't tell me any of this. I would find out only when I became worried that she hadn't contacted me for weeks at a time. I would call my father's phone number three or four times to find out if he had heard anything from her, and usually then she would pick up the phone and in a subdued voice tell me that indeed she had left, and didn't bother to tell me because she didn't want to hear me get upset.

The first time she did this, she was living with me at the time and made sure to sneak away while I was at work. I came home to find all of her things removed and an email filled with lies as an explanation of why she left.

If this had happened only once, perhaps I could forgive her. But this happened three times, and I can't count the number of times she called me to say she was leaving him, and I only found out she had changed her mind because I asked what was taking her so long.

She is not a great mother. We had made plans, two Christmasses past, to get together and have a nice meal, just the two of us. She forgot about that and made plans to go to Christmas dinner with her new boyfriend's family instead. I had to remind her that she had thus broken our plans.

It shouldn't have come as a surprise. By the point in my life, I should have been used to coming second in every aspect of her life. When I was much younger, she would make plans to do fun things with me, like going to the museum or the park, and then break them at a moment's notice in order to go have a coffee with my father when he returned from one of his numerous trips. She never once tried to fit both things in the day. Even if she only ended up spending an hour with him and still had time to do with me the things she had promised, it didn't matter. I came second. I was the lowest of her priorities.

I can't bring myself to lie and give her a card filled with expressions of emotions I don't feel. I can't bring myself to make her cry happy tears again, letting her think she did the right thing all along and that I bear no grudges, no lasting scars over her negligent and hurtful behaviour. It hurts to see so many adults still loving their parents when I can't even begin to fathom what they feel. The dependent love of a child, yes, I can remember that, but nothing else. I feel especially alone on days like today, days that I am supposed to spend in celebration of my parents and all they did for me.

They raised me with scars and neglect. They raised me with ignorance, and rationalize it still. They did the best they could, they say, and will not apologize for mistakes that have caused lasting damage. Get over it, they tell me. It's been years.

Years of little changing but my age and my distance from them. Years of realizing that I haven't really had parents since I was 12. Caretakers, people who provided a place to live and food to eat, but not parents. Parents are interested in their children. Parents support their children. Parents do not view their child as a convenience or inconvenience, but instead as something to love and nurture and raise.

Parwnts do not, three days after a punishment for a very messy bedroom, interrupt their child's story of what happened that day in gym class by saying, "Don't talk to me. I'm still so angry at you, I don't even want to hear your voice."

Parents do not leave their pre-teen children unattended for hours until after midnight, telling them first that they'll be back "in half an hour," in order to pull childish pranks on a friend.

That is why I dislike this day. I feel toward it as a lot of bitter singles feel on Valentine's Day. This is a day built around the celebration of something I cannot relate to and that those around me feel in abundance. I feel more lonely on days like today than on any other day of the year.


sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)

August 2011

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