We were driving back from San Diego. I wasn''t really into the whole trip, mostly because I had other plans in mind. However, it was a chance to spend time with family, so I went. It was smooth on the way there, but when we arrived, I felt like crap. My parents were more focused on our purpose of going: to meet a jeweler. So I am left asking, "why am I here?"
I''m not a very big eater. So when we all went to get VIetnamese food, I wasn''t very enthusiastic. But I actually liked some food. I didn''t eat all of it, but I had what was good. But my parents were worried. They fear that I have an eating disorder or something. I kept telling them I was eating, in fact they could visibly see my plate. Since I do not speak the native language of my parents, they started talking to the rest of the guests about my tastes in the native language. I couldn''t understand what they were saying, but they WERE talking about me.
Next day, same thing happened at another Vietnamese restaurant. Except this time the other guests were concerned about me now. They believed what my parents said, and they haven''t even spoken one word to me. I was getting ticked off. I was about to lash out at the guests, I''m not inferior. I''m not a child. And I''m certainly not sick. I simply do not like Vietnamese food. I stormed out of the restaurant and had to call some friends to calm myself down. It wasn''t just because of the food that I was irritated. All of my life, when I was around my parents, they always spoke in the native language. I could never associate with guests because I could never understand them. And as such, I was looked upon as a mute child with no social skills or something. Sure, I could pick up a gesture or two, but that was about it. I felt so alone there. Where''s my connection? Why am I stuck in a world where I am totally ignored?
I kept going until today, when we drove back home. Without the guests, things were slowly coming back to normal. We were joking as a family, talking about fun things, connecting. But then the tiniest thing made my father snap on me. We were talking about a story and I began asking questions about it. I asked about my involvement in the story… and he started getting defensive on me. He wanted me to understand that it was a happy story and that I was ruining it by asking questions. But I wasn''t trying to ruin the story, I was only asking questions. Every time I explained this he kept getting more and more defensive, raising his voice and getting more aggressive. He then accused me of being heartless, ungrateful, and a horrible son for making him so agitated over a happy moment he was having.
I was just asking questions. I kept repeating that point, and he kept getting more aggressive. I wasn''t going to stoop to his level of accusations and anger. I knew I wasn''t doing anything wrong, I was being rational. After more ranting and berating of me, I then retaliated by asking further questions about his accusations: how exactly was I being heartless? Ungrateful? Horrible? He then pointed out the Vietnamese restaurant. After the event at the restaurant, I publicly announced to my dad that every time we go out to eat, I will announce publicly what I am eating and at what time, so that my parents can acknowledge that I am, in fact, eating. My dad apparently took offense to that suggestion and used that as an example of my heartlessness. I tried to retaliate. I was going to say that the suggestion was only an exaggeration that reflected upon my parents'' own exaggerations, but before I could say that, my dad told me to shut up. He then hit me 3 times in the back of the head each time I said no.
For as long as I can remember, I was always told to shut up. I could never ask questions, I could never counterpoint, I could never get my point across. It was always my dad, the successful doctor, the most beloved member of the family, the one who was always right and always got his way. But this time, I wasn''t going to let him just end it. I firmly stood my ground in that if we just stopped it now, progress wouldn''t be made, things would just go back to square one, and most importantly, he would continue thinking I am a horrible person.
The argument then turned into how I just keep defying my dad. I wouldn''t really call it "defying," more so much "questioning." All his life he was the leader, the decider, and thus, no one ever really questioned him. And the few that do just get berated by him until he just got his way. I stood up, at least. I knew he was wrong in some aspects, and I intended to help him correct his ways. Sadly, he thinks that I''m just being a rebellious ingrate and ignores my opinions. He keeps mentioning his 50th birthday, and how much it sucked for him in that I ruined it for him. He''s tearing up at this point, and oddly enough, I didn''t really care. For the past 19 years, every time my dad would yell at me, I''d cry. And he would tell me to shut up and suck it up, without even considering my feelings. And now here he is, about to probably hit me again as he''s crying. And I didn''t raise my voice once. I simply kept counter-pointing everything he tried to do. How he kept interrupting my point so I couldn''t make an argument, how he ignores everything I just said to him, and how he makes me for a monster when the proof isn''t there. By the time we were done yelling, our house was in view and he just stormed in. I walked to the nearest convenience store to buy a drink, while calling some friends that would calm me down.
Maybe he''s right, maybe I am a horrible person. I admit I have become emotionless, but that''s because I''ve been depressed for lord knows how long. I find social displays of affection awkward, and I never hug people or say good morning or say hello sometimes. As much as I hate arguing with my dad, ultimately I hate myself. I hate myself for how I feel, how I perceive the world, how I was brought up into the way I am, for the grim future ahead, and how there''s no end in sight of this persistent storm of emotions and hatred I have.