Sunday, May 31, 2009

Loren: Hunkering down with my shoes

Disclaimer: This is kind of Personal, and the stuff I say would probably not be approved by most - but the general public have had the pleasure of a normal family. Mine is not normal, not just by what I have written here, but much beyond that. So, an abnormal family tends to beget abnormalities. And of course, I am one as such.

This bit of information may or may not have been gleaned out of me in the previous posts, but here it goes.

I am half malay, half chinese. My father is a Muslim, which means that being the fruit of his loins (mild eww), I am automatically a Muslim. Allegedly. Personally, despite religious education and many years of living as a good Muslim girl - I don't believe in any of it, and I never have. Perhaps someday in the future, the Faith gene will hit me, but until then, I have pretty much strayed the path of all things Muslim.

I drink, I dye my hair, I wear 'inappropriate clothing' (anything below the neck, above wrist and above ankle is inappropriate), I wear make up, I don't pray, I pluck my eyebrows and shave my legs, I have le sex, and I eat bacon. Oink.

I suppose things wouldn't be so awful, if my father isn't a religious maniac. I use the word mildly, but he is in the very essence of the word. Till this day my father mutters under his breath about my uncovered hair when I step out of the house. He frowns upon the jeans I wear because they show that, err, I have legs. 

Which is why I am so happy, to be in a whole other country away from my family. I wish to say here, "Believe me when I say that I love my family, BUT...", however aside from my sister, my family tends to propel me away from them rather than towards them. Again, maybe the Filial Piety gene will activate when I'm older, but for many understandable occurrences and experiences in the past, I am not a candidate for Happy Family. I am happier away from them, in a country which judges me for who I am, not whose daughter I am, or the religion that is printed out on my identification card. And thanks to the general ignorance of australians here, and my chinese blood, I hardly look malay. I look like a strange chinese, but still classified as 'chinese' in the eyes of strangers.

The point of this little information session, is to show a little of my background, so the underlying dread in next sentence I type out, will be felt and understood - slightly.

In two hours, my parents will be touching down upon Melbourne soil.

When they are here, I experience what my life would be like if I were with my parents in any country.

1. Back to praying five times a day. Scheduling meals, travel, work, meetings - all around the prayer times.
2. Back to wearing stuff that overs everything. (thankfully, its winter, so covering up is easy to do.)
3. No eating chicken/beef/lamb in restaurants unless the place is marked Halal. Even then, order what my father orders.
4. Curfew.
5. Having scary pop quizzes like, "What prayer do you recite before you eat?!"
6. No make up.
7. No lounging and looking unproductive.
8. Only grocery shop at halal places.
9. Hiding my books, shoes, clothes.
10. And a new one, no playing of music louder than an audible decibel. I'm pretty certain my father only deems listening to prayer music as the only acceptable form of music.

And that's just my father.
My mother, the chinese, brings down her neuroses, her paranoia, her moodiness, her emotional outbursts, her nosiness, her stinginess - into full force. As a charming bonus, she's getting older, and her memory is failing her. So rein in your temper and chew on a rubber strap, because you will play, "Ten Thousand Questions" repetitively. Expect every drawer, box, closet, sheet of paper, to be pawed through by her. Express irritation and she roars back with the infallible chinese logic, "I AM YOUR PARENT, YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE ANY SECRETS FROM ME/I CAN DO ANYTHING TO YOU THAT I WANT!"

The only good thing about this is that I tend to see this all as training to Becoming A Better Person. To hone the following abilities:
To remain calm in the face of an emotional raving lunatic, 
to use logic and not emotion to settle a situation,
to not retaliate when violence is doled out, 
to smile through my unhappiness, 
to put others before myself, 
to find compassion for difficult people, 
to put on a mask for all situations , 
to be extremely diplomatic, 
to suppress everything,
to dig for the smallest bit of good in any situation,
to be sneaky and manipulative.

It goes without saying that my parents test the ropes of my patience by weaving it into a trampoline and bouncing up and down on it happily. As a result, my patience on a general scale is, I would say, industrial strength. (I dont know if Tilly would agree though.) Its a tad trickier this time as well, because volatile Brother Dick is here....and everything is more difficult with him involved. If my mother coddles me,  or if I mildly defend her, or ask him to be patient with her, he immediately feels "Loren is being a Suck Up". Which I suppose, I am, because despite everything, I would like my mother to be happy. 

On the other side, if I defend my brother, my mother would feel betrayed and then automatically go out to become the most sulky 50 something year old woman-child you have ever seen. The kind that makes it her duty to drag everyone's moods down with her, until we're all dragging our feet with thunder clouds over our heads......and then she smiles in delight.

Is there anything I am looking forward to with them?
The answer clicks in my brain without trouble.

Their departure. 

Kinda of an exfoliation for my feelings in Melbourne. After they have been here, and left again, I will be filled with a renewed appreciation and love for Melbourne.

As mentioned in the very beginning, I am not a religious person, but please God, or whatever Entity that is doling out favors, please let these seven days pass smoothly without trouble, or heart pain. If I go by the Bible, He created the world in seven days, dont let my parents destroy mine in the same seven.

(And if I could just get those Ann D boots as a reward for not slitting my throat with a paper clip, that would be a super bonus.)


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