Underneath my yellow skin

But faaaaaaamily

Family is considered sacrosanct in society. At least, the idea of family is. It’s given lip service and dragged up any time a Republican resigns in disgrace (as in spending more time with his family–and it’s nearly always a ‘his’). Prejudicial attitudes are wrapped in faux concern for the children, which is laughable because it’s always things like trans women in the bathroom–which has no affect on anyone other than the trans woman who would just like to use the right bathroom, thank you very much.

Ahem.

When I woke up in the hospital and realized my parents were in Minnesota, let’s just say my first reaction was not one of gratitude. In the Caring Bridge journal (which I read later), there was mention of how great it is to have family around is such difficult times. That is predicated on it being a supportive and helpful family, which is most emphatically not the case with my family. Or rather, one member of my family.

Let me illustrate with a story. The second or third day I woke up, my parents came to visit me. My father started rambling about missing my childhood and wanting to bring me to Taiwan so he could protect me and we could be a family. Keep in mind that I’ve lived in Minnesota for the vast majority of my life and consider it my home. Also, there’s a reason I only talked to my parents once or twice a month before I landed in the hospital–and it wasn’t for a lack of time to chat. I had plenty of that. The idea of being dragged off to Taiwan was horrifying to me. The last time my brother and his family went to Taiwan, I most adamantly refused to go. Why? Because the last time I went to Taiwan, I became deeply suicidal and had to stop myself from walking into the ocean. I’m not being flippant or hyperbolic here. I was deeply depressed the entire time I was there and I vowed never to return. I would qualify that now, but the idea of living anywhere near my parents, permanently, is the stuff nightmares are made of.



Now, if my father had mentioned it once and then let it go, it wouldn’t have been so bad. Still not the right time (though there never would have been a right time), but I would have been able to get over it. Instead, he would not stop going on about it (my mom was in the bathroom). I had just woken up from a week of being unconscious, was drugged to the gills , and still not entirely sure what the fuck happened to me. I was discombobulated and frightened, and the last thing I  needed was someone who refused to shut the fuck up about ripping me away from the only home I knew.

I’m putting it in as brutal as terms as possible to try to get across how much it bothered me. Here’s the thing. I knew the second I saw my father that it was going to be a chore. Before the pandemic, my parents came back to visit for six weeks every summer. Or rather, they planned to come for six weeks, but they rarely made it the whole time before my father started agitating to go back to Taiwan. But when he’s there, apparently, he talks about coming here.

It’s been five-and-a-half weeks since I’ve been home. That is bizarre to me because it feels simultaneously much longer and much shorter than that. Anyway, the first time I heard my parents were staying for three months (one was me in the hospital), I knew it was going to be a rough time.

Here is where I circle back to the main point of this post–family is often better in theory than in reality. In the Caring Bridge journal, there were a few people saying how great it was that my family was coming to be with me. In theory, yes. In reality, no. I would have been able to deal with it if it was just my mother on her own, but no. It had to be both of them. And, to be honest. the negative of having him around completely wipes any purported positives of having my mother around.

90% of her time is spent dancing around my father and catering to his issues. If he needs something at the same time that I do, he will win out every time. My brother and I both have known since we were little that my father comes first with my mother. So for all her lip service about wanting to be here for me, that’s only if it doesn’t interfere with her godly duty to make sure my father does not experience one second of discomfort.

You may think I’m exaggerating or being unkind to my father. I’m underselling it if anything, though you would be right on the second point. I have no kindness in my heart towards my father because he is not capable of empathy at all. His big spiel about dragging me to Taiwan? That was to make him feel better about being a shitty father. It had nothing to do with me or what I wanted. Another time, we got in an argument about me living with someone (I am very much against it). He started shouting about how much this experience had affected him and my mother–which, I don’t doubt is true. I an only imagine how hard it was for them. Except, I’m the one it actually fucking happened to! I am not the person he should be complaining about the experience to because I will be able to trump him every time in this concern. But, to him, my pain was nothing compared to his, as incredible as it may sound. That’s the nature of a narcissist, though–nothing is as important as them and their feelings.

I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be. Not all the time, but once in a while, there’s a huge blow-out with my father shouting and my mother crying. I get pulled in the middle and I end up being mad at both my parents for very different reasons. This happened yesterday and I was contemplating flying out to visit Ian, but I could not leave Shadow behind. My father loves Shadow, but I don’t trust him (my father) not to leave a door open or something like that.

They are supposed to be leaving the first week of December. I am more than halfway through their time here and should be able to do the back half with some distress/duress. I mean, I fucking survived being dead twice and  being unconscious for a week, so I should be able to survive this. My fear is that my mom will balk at the end and insist on staying longer. Selfishly, I’m hoping my father really pushes to go back on time if no t earlier. They’ll have to quarantine in a hotel for fourteen days when they return because Taiwan has taken the pandemic seriously and are at the top of nations in dealing with it. Typically, my father has been complaining about being forced to quarantine when they get back, comparing it to prison. He says Americans wouldn’t stand for it as an attack on their freedoms. I retorted that given the situation with the pandemic in America, that’s not the best comparison to make.

What’s more, again, know you’re fucking audience. I’m sympathetic to the fact that they’re required to quarantine separately unless they can get a note from their doctor saying she needs to be with him for medical reasons (which they got) because they live together. They’re going to the same home. They spend so much of their time together; it doesn’t make sense for them to quarantine separately. That said, I spent two weeks in a hospital, one of those fucking unconscious. I was on death’s door twice and had to be dragged back into the land of the living. So pardon me if I’m not too sympathetic to the idea of quarantining in a hotel room in which you can freely roam.

I can’t wait until they leave. It’s in part because of the family dynamics, but it’s also because I am jonesing for my alone time. It cannot come soon enough.

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