“She loves to be with you.” One of my family members had stated that sentence in a mass e-mail sent to everyone in the “family group” which unfortunately also included me. That “she” happens to be me; and the e-mail was addressed to another set of family members who I had a disagreement with. This disagreement or conflict, rather, eventually led to an ugly “separation” that lasted for some years now.
I felt slighted. I am already of adult age (in fact, way beyond that!) and why would some people still want to put words in my mouth? Why was I not allowed to have my own time when I can comfortably say that sentence, “She loves to be with you”, and change that “she” to “I”, and address it to whom it should have been directly addressed to? Why does someone else have to say it for me—despite the seemingly good intentions. Why? I probably need not ask. I think I know the answer to this question. It’s probably because of the typical cultural norms of Blahlandia—the (fictionalized) country of my supposed origins. Despite my age, I am still expected to continue to respect my elders and adhere to their advices. I will continue to be their “child” in their eyes. And despite having grown up in a totally different country other than Blahlandia—to them I will always be from Blahlandia and a Blahlandian who follows Blahlandian ways (from an insider’s viewpoint and being non-culturally relative, I would say that some of these ways are quite outlandish indeed!).
One of the reasons I had escaped to New York City was to flee my annoying family members. There is no one else here but me. I am free from family interrogations and far from their gossipy “keeping-up-with-the-Joneses” friends. But yet, their words travel through the phone and e-mails like a never-ending plague.
Some of their e-mails just irk me. Especially those that provide direct recommendations about adhering to certain religious beliefs and ways. They also tend to patch up my own relations with certain relatives who I had conflict with—and as usual, I wasn’t even consulted!
I had been thinking over and over again about this annoying situation for a while. I cannot directly say anything to “them”. It would be utterly useless. My words would fall on deaf ears. And this would still continue as if I had not spoken. So therefore, I decided to just sit down and write and rant what I think and feel.
Unfortunately, I have no concluding statement for this write-up that should have included wise advices to those who may be in a similar position as me. Anyways, I might as well end this brief write-up with some questions or statements that arose from self-reflection. I am not sure if it’s because of work-related stress and difficult living conditions that caused me to have less patience with such matters. Am I being selfish or have I become too Americanized or Westernized that I no longer see the traditional values of Blahlandia as something important? Have I become too strongly opinionated?