My Pants and My Mom, Part 2 (the Happy Anti-Ending)

This takes place roughly two days after this incident. My mom and I are in the car; she is driving, and I am in the passenger seat.

“Did you see your AP Psychology grade?” she asks.

I shake my head.

“You have a 99%,” she says,” I bet you’re at the top of the class.”

“Teachers love students who work hard,” she goes on,” I’m sure it brings your teacher great happiness to have a student who works as hard as you do.”

I nod. Usually, when I’m with my mom, I don’t speak. Not because I’m afraid, though that is the case some times, but because that’s just how it is. She talks. I listen.

“I saw some people on the red carpet,” she says. I assume she is referring to the Hollywood stars.

“They wear black pants with white shirts like you wanted,” she says,” when I saw them, I thought, maybe you do have some fashion sense.”

The infamous black pants. Perhaps I will post a picture of me wearing them.

Today, I lied to my doctor. I was getting my annual physical done for tennis, and she was asking me questions about my personal life and my health so that she could give me her approval to play. My mom was in the room with us, sitting at my side.

She asked pretty standard questions at first. How much sleep do you get? Six or seven hours a night. What’s your favorite subject? English. What’s your least favorite subject? Physics. She laughed, and made a joke about how that’s what keeps the world spinning around.

“Do you have any conflict in the family?”

A small part of me wanted to say “Yes!” and blab about every single time my mom has put me down or called me names or, well, emotionally abused me. Sort of like Frances from Bitter Melon by Cara Chow. But a bigger part of me – or maybe a smaller, yet stronger part of me – resisted. I’m not sure why. Maybe because of being raised with a more collectivist as opposed to individualist mindset. Maybe I was scared of what would happen with my mom less than a foot away from me. Maybe I was simply too weak. Either way, I said no.

I don’t lie to myself though. I know there is conflict in my family, and lots of it. I won’t go into too much personal detail, because this is the internet and I think everyone got a good enough picture from my last post, but its there.

A lot of people like to use a roller coaster as a metaphor for unstable relationships. With my mom, I feel like I’m always at the top of a roller coaster (without the whole feel-good adrenaline thing… I’m not a roller coaster kind of guy). I never know what will happen next. I don’t know whether closing the car door too softly will cause an eruption of insults, or if my B+ in Physics will portend an avalanche of emotional attacks. I don’t know if she’ll indirectly somewhat-praise me like she did in the car today. It is difficult and destructive and dangerous. But it can be sad and bittersweet and even a little bit rewarding, too.

There are always pros and cons in this type of situation. When I was younger, the cons always outweighed the pros. I used to be blinded by everything my mom told me, believing every insult she said to me, even if she didn’t think they were true herself. I thought the world wasn’t a stable and safe place, and I thought that I would be better off… somewhere else. I wasn’t sure why I was alive.

Yet there are positives too. My passion for reading was born as an escape plan from reality, and has developed into a (hopefully!) lifelong love. My work ethic, which was embedded into me by a fear of failure and its punishments, has become internal, along with my drive to succeed. My eyes were opened to not only how bad I have it but how much worse (a lot, lot worse) others have it – and now, I dedicate my life to making a change.

The story of me and my mom does not have an ending. It is a cycle, a cycle that has good moments and bad moments. With my first post, I showed one of the bad ones – and with this post, a good one. My goal was to give as unbiased a perspective I could possibly give, and hopefully I have accomplished that. Thank you so much to everyone who commented on the first “installment” of this really personal and revealing story, I haven’t read all of them yet but your support means the world to me.

I said that my mom and I won’t have an ending, and that our relationship is a cycle. But maybe, one day, I will escape the cycle – and that will be our ending. Who knows? Tomorrow is another day.

*edit: okay, so, in the end, after throwing another screaming fit my mom decided to force me to wear another pair of pants. But, that’s okay, they’re just pants – and I’ll have plenty of opportunities to choose my own clothing in the future. In the big picture, no big deal at all. There is always hope.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “My Pants and My Mom, Part 2 (the Happy Anti-Ending)

  1. Indeed, tomorrow is another day, with new possibilities that lie ahead. I’m glad that you understand why your mom does and says the things she does, and that you really think everything through, making you the wiser. What’s important is that you know who you are and who you want to be and that you love your mom and she loves you too, she just has her own way of showing it.
    You’ll make it through, Thomas.

    P.S: Nice pants by the way. Nothing looks wrong with it from what I can see.

    • Thanks Devina! Unfortunately my mom is going to return the pants (or burn them, because the receipt is supposedly gone, so…) but that’s okay. Only a year and a half until I travel to college!

  2. You know, this was actually a very enlightening read. The whole pants dilemma seems to have brought out quite a lot from you.

    Well, on some levels I suppose you and I have quite a few similarities (our moms are controlling, even if yours is significantly more than mine…) But I’m also an idealist in the sense that I rely too much on luck. 😐 I’m not afraid of failure enough to try my hardest in school. (I know that no matter what I’ll get into college, the question is whether or not it will be the one I want to go to). Heck, my mom is lecturing me now about going into Honors Physics because of my crappy grades. But anyway…

    Thankfully, college will be upon us in less time than you think, so you’ll be able to get your butt out of your house and away from your mom for the time. 😀

    Speaking of which, this reminds me of my best friend who has a scarily similar situation with her dad as yours with your mom. Just remembered that. The only difference is that your mom doesn’t seem to being saying any of the hurtful things out of malcontent but rather because she loves you and wants you to succeed. Her dad just says stuff like that because apparently his dad threw him down stairs and got drunk a lot, which is why my friend’s dad is so messed up.

    Sighs. This whole talk of parents being mean to their kids makes me sad. :C

    • By the way those pants look absolutely normal. xD

      • Aw, I hope you find a way to cope with the pressure your mom places on you! Don’t feel alone about Honors Physics though, it’s not my strongest subject either. Cheers to college!

        As for your friend, have you tried getting her help? She could be in serious danger if the abuse is/becomes physical, and even then it’s not a healthy situation to be in. It’s not surprising that her father may have had a history of abuse himself, as the behavior can be passed down from parent to child if nothing is done to correct it. I will be hoping for her!

        Thank you for reading and commenting like always! (:

  3. Well, that was sweet to hear from your Mom. 🙂

    I liked how your referred to your relationship as a cycle, having both good and bad moments. I’m glad you have a balanced perspective of what you and you’re mother is going though. Maybe I don’t really know what you’re going through with your mother, but I truly hope the best for both you.

    Keep strong.

  4. I started crying today when my friend walked me home, because I had the most awful feeling in my stomach and I absolutely did not want to be alone with my dad.

    My mom is in China right now, which means my dad has all the authority over me. Its not like he mistreats me on daily basis, well, not to a severe extent, but sometimes he just…yells at me and can’t stop yelling, even when I’m sobbing in front of him and…I’m not really going to get into that. But Monday night was one of those nights, and ever since then, I’ve been super cautious around him, steeling myself for another lecture.

    My goal was the same as yours, originally, go to college and leaving my familial issues behind. But, today… I was afraid to go to my house. I don’t think I can handle this anymore.

    Both my mom and my dad have been talking about divorce (to me, but not with my brother, and I don’t know if they have discussed with my brother). My mom is on the tipping point of deciding what to do, and I know that I could convince her to make it final. But, so far I have yet to mention anything to her, because I still can’t bear the idea of a divorce, even though I simultaneously want one so, so much.

    ANYWAY, I DIGRESS: excellent post as usual, it gives me all the feelings, *group hugs*. And also, I love those pants. And the fact that you quoted Gone with the Wind at the end. Oh my god, I love that book.

    • Ah, I apologize for getting back to this so late! Hopefully you will receive this reply and if not I will probably contact you via Facebook. (:

      It seems like you have a good support group of friends (from what I’ve seen on Facebook), do you think that you can trust them with your situation? If the going gets too rough with your dad, you should definitely call them and have one of them pick you up or extricate you from the situation. There is always 911, and your situation does seem like it could lead to an emergency.

      Is your mom more considerate toward you than your dad? If so, you should talk to her and go over the pros and cons of a divorce. Unless she still loves him, of course, but either way you need to get her to listen to you regarding your dad’s abuse… other wise it will simply continue. Have you tried telling your dad how miserable you feel when he yells at you? A commenter suggested a great idea – perhaps the next time he screams at you, take out a video camera and start recording, and see if he still tries to yell at you.

      Keep me updated! I will have you in my hopes, and I love Gone With the Wind too! Another book we both like. (:

  5. Alex

    Thomas,
    Despite the emotional trauma you have been through, it’s nice to see that you are willing to try to understand your mom and not bash her like most people would. You seem like such a mature person! I can relate to you wanting to go to college to get away since I chose a college somewhat farther away to also get away from my parents since (like most Asian parents) they also pressure me to do well in school. At least for me, college has made me MUUUUCH happier person (and here’s where I try to avoid making a shameless plug for you to apply to my school lol) so good luck with your applications!

    Also, when you wrote about how the pants were too tight, I imagined those skinny jeans that SHINee is (in)famous for wearing….not those…..those actually look like there’s…*GAAASP* breathing space for your legs.
    Also, if what I’m writing doesn’t make sense, I apologize since I’m up so late. ha ha….

    • Alex

      Another thing that I wanted to add….is that probably when you’re farther away from your mom, you’ll be able to reflect upon with a clearer head and if possible, when you’re ready, you should have a talk with her. Sometimes, I don’t think our parents realize how fragile we can be on the inside when it comes to their words.

      • Thanks for the input Alex! I do try to avoid senselessly bashing her, not only because she doesn’t deserve that but also because it would make me seem like an immature teenager… which I’m not (well, the immature part. I am a teen.) The fact that you’re doing well at college gives me hope for the future, as I’m working as hard as possible to attain that acceptance later next year. (:

        I am hoping that my mom will mellow out with time, I think she’s emotionally unbalanced and possibly bipolar. Maybe if I gather the courage I will have a talk to her about it, but if I attempted anything like that now it would not be pretty. I will definitely consider it though.

        PS: If I dared to wear SHINee-style pants, my legs would probably be cut off.

        PPS: I am kind of curious as to what college you go to now. -_-

        • Alex

          Where are you thinking of applying? Haha, applying to college was a fun process. I remember compulsively checking USNews college rankings and going on forums about what colleges look for, what they offer, etc.

          I agree with you that it’s easier to talk to parents later on since they can’t treat you like a little kid (as much) and since you’re farther apart, they tend to be nicer for the most part…but of course one thing doesn’t change when it concerns academics. Parents during high school: “DON’T SCREW UP AT ALL OR ELSE YOU WON’T GET INTO COLLEGE AND END UP BEING A HOMELESS PERSON WHO EATS OUT OF TRASH CANS”
          Parents now: “DON’T SCREW UP AT ALL OR ELSE YOU WON’T BE ACCEPTED TO DENTAL SCHOOL AND YOU’LL END UP AS A CASHIER AND LIVE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK WITH NO LUXURIES AT ALL.”

          Anyways, on a happier note, I do wonder how SHINee and other groups manage to dance with such tight pants.
          haha, I go to Washington University in St. Louis (gah, it’s such a mouthful!). It’s AWESOME I TELL YOU. YOU SHOULD APPLY. The people are wonderful (well most of them at least since we can’t expect everyone to be nice, happy pandas). The campus is beautiful. Okay, maybe I’m just seeing things through rose-tinted glasses, but yes, I BELIEVE that it’s awesome. All you have to do is belieeeeeeve (in the power of friendship and magic)

          • Sorry to respond to this comment so late! Because you attend such a prestigious private school (yep, I researched it a little) I’m sure you understand my struggle to keep up with the SATs and AP/Honors classes to handle too…

            My main priority is to get into WM, because it’s in-state (making it affordable) and a public Ivy that focuses on the liberal arts. Recently I’m thinking of applying to some of the Ivies and a few other out-of-state schools just to see if I can get in – who knows, perhaps I’ll end up somewhere on the opposite side of the country.

            As for the parents thing, I see where you’re coming from. My mom is already telling me about how hard I’ll need to work in college in order to be successful… which is funny, because mentally, I’m already preparing myself to go all out academically in college – sort of like what I’m doing now.

            Thanks for your awesome and advice-bearing comments, I appreciate them a lot! Once again, sorry for responding so slowly… -_-

            • Alex

              High school just feels like it was years and years ago….but yes, keeping up with classes and studying for the SATs is very stressful. I don’t know about you, but I’m guessing that you probably feel this way or have felt this way, but not getting into a decent college = failure in life. Also….(though this is really really bad) I’ve just mellowed out so much in college that I’ve gotten so much lazier, so I hope that doesn’t happen to you *fingers crossed*

              ugggh, higher education is just so expensive now, and the costs just keep going up and up. One good thing about Wash U though is that it’s very good about financial aid – there is no way I would have been able to attend if it wasn’t for how generous they were. And I realized I didn’t mention this last time…..but we have a student group that does mainly kpop dance covers. One of the dances they covered last year was Lucifer ^.^

              Good luck with applications and classes!

              • Yeah… sometimes I feel that way about college, but recently I’ve realized how unhealthy that style of thinking is, because irrespective of what college one decides to attend, they can still make the best out of anywhere they go with he right amount of work and effort. I’m not saying that I’ve decided to aim for a mediocre university or that I’m going to stop showing effort, but I guess I’m starting to mellow out a little bit too.

                It is so expensive! I have heard good thing about Wash U’s financial aid, though they probably wouldn’t do much for me (if I were to get in in the first place, which is doubtful.) And you’re so lucky, do you get to watch them perform often?

                Sorry for the late reply, and thank you for your support!

  6. Pingback: My Pants and My Mom | the quiet voice

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