I’m so frustrated right now that I could gauge my eyes out. I’m burning with anger, and it might also be a touch of hunger. I’m sad. I’m annoyed. I want to cry from how many negative emotions I’m feeling but most of all I feel guilt. The worst feeling of all. The kind that makes my stomach churn acid into something sickly. Makes my lungs feel heavy. I hate it.
I try to laugh it off, I try not to care so much because otherwise I’d be sad all the fucking time. It’s so fucking annoying. I’m not a bad person. I have to keep telling myself that. But I keep feeling like I am. I’ve hurt my mom. Not intentionally hurt her. I haven’t hit her, I don’t abuse her, we don’t fight, I don’t swear at her, I don’t even raise my voice at her. So what did I do?
She found out something an Indian mother never wants to know. That their unwed daughter isn’t a virgin, and smokes pot.
GOOOOOODDDDDDDD HELP US ALL! IT’S THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD. HER VIRGINITY IS UP IN THE AIR SOMEWHERE. IT’S LOST! IT’S GONE! IT’S FUCKING NEVER COMING BACK! SHE’S NOW THE HOUSEHOLD SLUT! SHE’S A DISGRACE TO THE COMMUNITY! SHE’S NOT THE WOMAN I RAISED HER TO BE! SHE’S A GREAT FUCKING DISAPPOINTMENT! WHO WILL MARRY HER NOW? WILL SHE MARRY THE ONE WHO FUCKED HER? WAS IT A BLACK GUY? IT’S PROBABLY A BLACK GUY. WHO FUCKED HER NO ONE KNOWS. WHERE DOES SHE GO LATE AT NIGHT? WHO KNOWS! PROBABLY SLUTS AROUND WITH HER LEGS WIDE OPEN AS SHE SMOKES GANJA ALL NIGHT LONG. FUCKING BITCH.
^ what my mom thinks of me in a nutshell. No exaggerations. And what can I do? How can I prove to her that despite those things, I’m still capable of doing many other things, the world hasn’t crashed down, I’m still in one piece, and! Believe it or not, I’m not a slut!
And what rattles my brain to no end is the fact that the only way I can get her to stop feeling this way is to succumb to her very old fashioned Indian traditions. And I’m sorry. I’m just not that person. I’m not insulting anyone that follows these traditions. In a way, I envy them. I wish I could just follow the path that my mom wanted me to lead. I wish I could just take every word she said as the only thing on Earth that is as true as the Laws of Physics. But I can’t, and as offensive as it sounds, I find a lot of the traditions sexist, unfair, out dated, and not relevant to the country I’m living in right now.
There’s a fine line to this of course. Losing my mother’s culture. And that probably hurts her a lot. I’ve become what you could say as westernized. But I wouldn’t consider myself completely westernized at all. In fact, there’s a lot of culture I do embrace, there’s a lot I appreciate, and there’s a lot I’m willing to learn about it. But for a culture to tie me down as a housewife who tends to her husband the rest of her waking life is just not in my cards.
I don’t completely agree with everything in Western culture, there’s a lot I don’t agree with, and so I don’t follow that either. I honestly just do whatever feels right to me. I mix and match things I’ve learned along the way. If a Muslim person taught me something from the Qur’an that made sense to me, became something I agreed with, valued, and therefore started to follow. Have I lost my culture? My Indian roots? No. If a Christian person shared a passage from The Bible to me, and I also agreed with the lessons, and I liked what it had to say. Does that make me a Christian? No. If I read a book on Buddhism and valued the philosophies taught in that book and decided that I wanted to try to live my life according to those ideals, have I stopped being a Sikh? No.
At the end of the day there is a lot of overlap with religions and cultures all over the world, and why should I limit myself to any one thing? It doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t even know at the state of my relationship with my mom if I can even say I love her. And I feel guilty about that because I know I should love her. A child should love their mother. Especially with everything she’s done for my sister and I. She raised us on her own, and she never makes us forget it. Constantly guilting us if we don’t do things her way because she’s all alone and works day and night seven days a week. I have her whole sob story memorized, the same old story. She’s like a broken record. Just plays back the same old things over and over again. Never progressing, never moving on. Just focussing on the same old things and confines herself into a toxic environment that she tries to pull my sister and I in.
I got out of that whirlpool years ago. 10 years ago to be exact. I was 14 years old when I decided that the path my mom was taking was not one I was going to be happy with. I’m not saying everything she has ever taught me was wrong. She is the reason I am who I am today. She helped mold me, in her own way. Not necessarily a positive supportive motherly type of way, but in a way where she became someone I never wanted to be and tried to be someone else instead.
But even saying that is not entirely true. Because I also simultaneously wanted to be just as well-liked as her. Everywhere she goes she touches peoples lives. She makes them smile, she makes them happy. She brings them joy. She helps people. I do the same thing. Or I at least strive to. I think I’ve mastered it now, I’m just as charismatic as my mom if not more. Everyone that meets her instantly loves her, they treat her like an old friend. But her and I get used very easily because of how nice we are. We take people in like family, we trust them. And sometimes people take advantage of that. I also picked that up from her, and the only difference is, I can still change. I can still recover and try not to make those same mistakes.
I’ve learned from her mistakes. From the way she chose to raise my sister and I, to the financial mistakes she’s made, to even the way she gets used by some people. I’ve learned to stand up for myself and know my worth in the workforce. I grew some balls somehow and did it. I can’t completely credit my dad for that, but he’s been my rock in the background always supporting me and actually taking the time to get to know me and talk to me during my adolescence. He may not have been physically around, but without him I’d go crazy. I can say for sure I love my dad.
And that too makes me feel guilty. How can I love someone who abandoned our family? How can I love someone that made my mom suffer? How can I love someone that broke my mom’s heart? How can I love someone who wasn’t around when I needed them the most? How can I love him when I had a mother who fed me, paid the bills, put a roof over our heads, tried to do everything she could every single day for us. How could I love him and not her?
I’m tearing up now because this is tearing me apart. I feel so sad that I feel this way about my mom. It’s confusing cause I am fully aware of what she does for me and my sister. I know the sacrifices she’s made for us, and yet I feel no need whatsoever to mend things with her or even try to do things for her. I’m selfish. I’m a selfish bitch and I’m not a good person at all. How can people like me when I’m so mean to my own blood? How can I have friends when I treat my family like shit? Why does anyone like me at all? It’s all a facade. How can I be this way with my mom and another way with others? I’m stone cold to her.
I can’t talk to her. I clam up. We barely communicate. I don’t want to speak to her, I don’t like spending time with her – it always ends up in a fight eventually. I just don’t want to do it anymore I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the up’s and down’s. The only times we’re good is if I’m “compliant” to her rules.
- Go to work. Come home. Never leave the house till it’s time to go to work again.
- Don’t go out late at night. Come home by 10pm. Any later than that and you’re a slut
- Don’t drink. Don’t smoke
- Do housework.
- Don’t talk on the phone unless you want to be eavesdropped on
- Never have sex before marriage
- Don’t date
- Don’t have a boyfriend who’s not Punjabi
- Marry a nice Punjabi guy
- Take care of your mother
When I write them down, they’re pretty straight forward. Not complicated. Not asking for much.
There are many things about those rules I agree with. I’m not a heavy drinker, never have been. I don’t smoke cigarettes they’re disgusting. I do smoke weed yes, but the minute I buy myself a vape, that will change. Yes I should pitch in and do housework. We all live there, we’re all a team. We gotta maintain the house together. I completely agree. Taking care of my mother: that’s a hard one. Mostly because of the time’s we’re in and how incapable she is of having any sort of self motivation.
The problem of “taking care of my mother” is that she expects us to do everything for her! Create a schedule for her to exercise, but not only that, we have to be there and exercise with her! It doesn’t sound so bad cause you gotta spend time with your mom right? But everyone’s schedules in the house is different. We work on different schedules it’s hard to coordinate. Somedays I’m tired, other days she is.
And now as I’m writing this, I can see myself being a whiny little bitch. How much effort does it take to spend a little time with someone that does so much for you? Even just watching one of her stupid Indian saga shows, or helping her exercise? I just have a complete lack of effort with her. I don’t spend even a single day of the week with her, my time gets consumed with everything else.
I go to work, I want to read, I want to be on my phone, I want to go out explore and enjoy my youth, I want to be with my favourite person, I want to exercise on my own time, I want to try new things, I want to watch different shows, I want to live in another country.
I have so many things that I want to do for myself that I get caught up in it and forget that I have a place to come home to everyday because of my mom. She irritates the hell out of me. She makes no sense sometimes when it comes to her cultural ideals. But she’s trying. And I don’t try at all.
I think my guilty conscious has been feeling this way because of it. Writing it down has really helped me see how stupid all of this is. All this anger and frustration over something so frivolous. Would all of this even matter anymore when she’s gone? No. I need to be with her while she’s alive. I don’t know how. I don’t know what I’m going to do. But I have to try somehow. I just don’t know when. Maybe I’ll come home an evening or two a week and spend some time with her. Just to let her know I’m still her daughter. I gotta fit it in my calendar. I only have one mom. And I can’t waste it.
Here’s to trying to lift that weight off my chest.
The last thing in my life that I need to make right before I’m truly on set to becoming a better person.