[Challenge] Day 03 – Your Parents

Okie dokie! Day Three of the Thirty Day Challenge that at his point became the three month challenge let me just cram everything into one day type of ordeal. Consider this challenge failed but I’m going to continue it anyways. Cause content. 🙂

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Day 03 is about my parents, aye? Well strap yourselves in. It’s a loooooooooooong ride, and a really bumpy and angsty, and quite dramatic story. My parents are two really interesting people. As in probably interesting to you, not really for me. Let me see where do I start?

I come from a Vietnamese household, my dad being completely Vietnamese although he says he might be slightly French somewhere. I have no clue how but whatever. While my mom is Half Chinese, and Half Vietnamese. I have been told that my great great great grandmother might have been Japanese but I have no idea. The ancestry stuff doesn’t really work for me, I don’t think, because when Asians immigrated to this country many of them all changed their names so who knows even. -shrugs-

Anyways, so yeah Vietnamese families. Which means large gatherings, where the women sit in the kitchen and gossip about the rest of the family and their nail salons. And men sit in the living room watching sports, or singing some karaoke while drinking beer more specifically Heinekens. Sometimes even gambling by playing some poker or some vietnamese gambling games. Growing up that was the environment I was in, and it had its pros and cons.

Let’s start with my mom. She immigrated over here from Vietnam around the time of the Vietnam war. In an effort to escape, she boarded a small boat with many others and they tried to leave the country as fast as possible. On the boat ride, there were many pirate attacks, there was no food, no water. And at times they had to make due with bodily fluids. And the pirate attacks resulted in rapes, assaults, and even trafficking. Fortunately for her, she made it to Malaysia and from there was sponsored by my grandfather who was already in California to come over to the U.S. She lived in Cali for awhile before she met my dad though the internet. It’s sort of weird this part of the story because the details are fuzzy, but anyways they met online. And he “fell in love” with her through that. So she sent him a photo, a group photo, of her with her friends. And was like “If you can pick out which one is me, then I’ll marry you.” And he had no clue which one she was so he asked my aunt, and she picked the right person for him. Then they got married. As for my dad, I have no idea what his backstory is. All I know is that he came over here, sometime before her, and he lived in Massachusetts with a few friends. He went to school (supposedly) up until high school, I believe it was Junior year. But then he dropped out and became a factory worker. He was previously engaged (or married?) and was going to have a child with this woman, when they both (or just the daughter) died during labor. But he and mom went back to Vietnam to get married, and settled in Boston. And then they had me!

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^ Literally the only baby photo I show anyone, because it’s my favorite one. Look even my onesie is my aesthetic today! 🙂

Anyways we lived in my aunt’s house in the attic for a small chunk of my younger years, but it was an awkward living space because although we all get along fine. Three families living under one roof isn’t something that is ideal, especially when everyone has their own thoughts and opinions. So we moved out eventually to our own place which is fine. But since we moved quite often, I was restless. I was a sickly child, that’s the one thing about being an Asian child being raised in an Asian family that sucks really. Because I wish I knew that I had anxiety when I was a child, it was save me a lot of time. I got sick quite often, from nervous stomach aches, to throwing up, to being clumsy and falling over the place. And the worse of all. The ECZEMA. Which now I know is stress Eczema but back then it would’ve be nice to know.

My father, who was never really that close to me anyways, had started drinking a whole lot more. Like a lot, and now looking back it was almost as if out of nowhere. He started drinking more and caring less for my mother and I. So whenever I got sick and had to go to the doctor’s or even the ER here and there. Instead of being concerned as many parents are, he yelled at me instead. He complained that I was always sick, and it was stupid driving me to the hospital. Making me cry the whole way there. He became meaner, louder, angrier, and more whiny. But I repressed those angry feelings I was feeling instead of letting it overtake my relationship with him because as my mom always says, “He’s your dad, without him you wouldn’t exist.” And so up to the end of my childhood I repressed it, I didn’t argue back I just pretended like everything was okay instead of talking about it to anyone. The end of my childhood which I can place at the age of eleven was when all hell broke loose in our family.

My father had met new people in the neighborhood, seemingly out of nowhere there were these two new women that joined the “drinking group” as I call it. Usually it was my father, the uncles, and his friends. But these two were the new addition to the group, and it was almost strange how different my father became from the person he was towards me and my mom. At our house, he never cooked ever, never cleaned, never say please or thank you. Even asking him to drive me to school or to go somewhere was daunting. He would eventually do it, but complain and swear from the moon and back about it. However in front of this woman, he was sweet. He cleaned her house, took her shopping, bought her children phones, cooked for her. And it was weird to see it, and I didn’t think anything of it really other than wow, these people must be pretty amazing. As an eleven year old, to me it was innocent interactions, she must be a great friend to him. Let’s call her Trudy (cause I don’t know a Trudy lmao). Anyways, so Trudy was suddenly this new character in the group and I was like whatever another drinking partner. Repress. Who again?

But then he started sleeping over at her house, when he got too drunk. Since the group took turns with who’s house they’re drinking at. So he started sleeping at her house whenever it was at her house, and my mom obviously looked a bit more worried. Still I didn’t get it because like, why would I? She’s like one of the guys, one of the uncles they’re just hanging out like friends. What even is scandals, what even is an affair?

Then came the actual breaking point. Before everything came spiraling down it hit it’s peak and my epiphany. It was like any other day, and I don’t remember feeling anything that day. So I went to bed that night without any thoughts, it’s just whatever. Until I was woken up at three in the morning. To see my mom looming over me, and I was confused and confused. She yanked me out of bed, and said to me. “We’re going to go find your father.” And I remember protesting with her that it’s three in the morning and we live in a dangerous neighborhood filled with thugs and gang violence. And that we can just find him in the morning, like he’ll be okay on his own. But she threw her jacket at me, and me, holding in tears, put the jacket on, and followed her outside as we marched silently towards Trudy’s house.

Her house number glaring at us, as we arrived. I heard loud noises from inside, most definitely from the Karaoke machine. My mother knocked shouting it was her and all we heard were footsteps and my mother spotted my father trying to jump over the fence to run away. She left me in the living room with the other woman, who just smiled at me. “We’re not doing anything sweet, just hanging out.” She said trying to explain the situation, I just looked at her and then looked on as my mom dragged my father back into the living room. She was crying, and he didn’t say anything. What gave him away were his shoes at the front of the house (you know cause Asians don’t wear shoes inside the house). So she knew he was there, and he tried to escape like he wasn’t there. She screamed at him, “Look at you! Why would you do this! Where is she!?” She hiccuped while screaming and crying, while I just stood there and watched the other woman who comforted me earlier responded for him. “It’s just us! Just us hanging out.” She slurred her words, she was super drunk. I looked around and up the stairs to where Trudy was no doubt hiding and I just stared back at my parents. My mother grabbed one of his shoes, which shocked me, and started hitting him with the shoe. I couldn’t tell if the shoe actually hit him, but she kept going while screaming: “Look at him, Cindy. This is your father, your sorry excuse for a father. Look at him!” She cried out, and he remained silent. He didn’t say anything or even look at her or me. I wasn’t crying, I wasn’t feeling anything. It was just cold. I was only in shorts and a shirt and the jacket my mom threw at me. I felt almost numb as I watched on. I don’t know what happened afterwards. It’s almost like my life became episodes.

The next episode was when I overheard my parents fighting in their room, I opened the door and walked in to see what happened. In case anything bad happened, specifically to my mother. For some reason in my mind, she became a little child I had to protect. Maybe it was because she slept in my bed with me everyday crying and holding me so tight, it was almost suffocating. Or maybe because we depend on my father financially, for transportation, and for other areas of life. So my mother must have felt lost and unsure about what’s in store for the future. But I came in with the home phone in hand just in case I had to call the police, thoughts of possible abuse plaguing my thoughts. My father looked at me and laughed almost bitterly screaming. “What are you going to call the police on your own father? You’re exactly like your mother! She’s corrupted you!” He screamed furiously. Prior to my entrance they had been arguing over red panties in the laundry basket, that did not belong to my mother and not myself. He pushed her and glared at me before leaving the house. He stormed out and slammed doors. I felt my heart race and looked over at my mom who continued to cry. I went over to hug her, and back into that suffocating hug. I hated it but felt obligated to give her one anyways.

After this episode came the end all episode, where I actively participated. At this point, it was when I decided that I hated my father wholeheartedly and fought back. My parents were arguing, again. And usually I would ignore it since it happened a lot, if there weren’t any crying it was whatever. Arguing was a daily reminder that my parents hated each other and that my family wasn’t at all what I wanted it to be. I tried ignoring it, but then I heard something loud. Like a loud impact noise, so I quickly scrambled onto my feet and ran over to see my mom sitting on the floor and my father standing near her but not over her. The wall with a hole in it, and I snapped. I remember screaming at him that he was a good for nothing father, a deadbeat (closely translated from Vietnamese). He never does anything good for me and my mother, I told him to look at her, and reflect. I screamed at him that I hated him and never wanted to see him again. I told him to move out, and that he should leave both of us alone. That all he does is drink, and make us miserable. He responded back to every statement of course but the part that stood out the most was: “You are exactly like your mother, your mother’s family are all dogs. DOGS. You are a bitch just like every single one of them.” I remember launching myself at him and my mother holding me back crying, telling me to stop. I remember grabbing his clothes and throwing it outside. Every single time thrown into a trash can or a bag and thrown outside.

He left after calling me an ungrateful, spoiled, and bitchy child. He went to go live with Trudy as I was told, my mother stopped crying but she became almost a shell of what she was before. Almost sad and going through life without any meaning. And then one day when I got home from school about two weeks after the incident, I saw my father drunk passed out in the middle of our living room with a blanket over him sleeping like nothing’s happened. My mother came out and apologized to me, that she wasn’t strong enough to turn him down. And he still had the key to the house.

From then on nothing remained normal, from what I heard Trudy hated how lazy, dirty, and loud he was. She told him to hit the road, and kicked him out and he came back knowing my mom had no strength to say no. He was somewhat nice at first to try and med things but then it all went back to the same father that yelled at me as a five year old kid for getting sick on the way to the ER. He drank even more, heartbreak I guess, and became volatile to be around. He picked fights, especially with me and expected me to be sweet and nice to him. Like “Hey Dad! You know I love you right!” But I would never say that especially since most of my “childhood” and “preteen” times were just him screaming at my mother and me whilst pissed drunk. I had no fond memories. My mother tried to get me to try and open up to him, and failed and is failing to this day. We never talk about the even almost a decade ago. Since I’m twenty now, and my relationship with my father has somewhat changed. He’s recently reached an all time low with one of his drinking friends, and saw Trudy at a wedding where she ignored him while greeting us. And he’s now trying to be nice for a change. He’s really trying and I can see he’s trying to mend his relationships with my mother, and myself. My mother is happier, although they still argue over frivolous things it’s whatever. They only started sharing a bed again two months ago. I, on the other hand, still very much dislike him. It’s almost become almost instinctual? If that makes sense, instinctual hatred, like just his voice or face irritates me. He doesn’t even have to do anything. It’s a very straining relationship we have. I don’t think we’ll reconcile anytime soon. I don’t think it’s possible at this point.

As for my mother, she’s something. I can’t explain it. She’s a mother, for one. She is overprotective and clingy. But for me, it’s worse than that. She clings to the point where there’s no room to breathe, she won’t go anywhere without me, she fakes illness so that I stay home and take care of her. She has even resulted to crying so that she can hug me. And it’s weird because since the events of last decade, when I comforted her every night and hugged her and spent so much time protecting her. I can’t even hug her or say I love you, without feeling like I want to throw up. It almost hurts or feels uncomfortable when I say it. It’s like I don’t mean it. Which is how I feel with a lot of people when they want to hug me, it’s sentimental and unless I’m in the mood for it. It’s awkward and gross. I don’t know when I started feeling like that, but it happened sometime after the event a decade ago happened.

But then she became more than emotional dependent on me, it became financially dependent. And that’s when my feelings of anger started harboring inside of me. It’s almost like I hold all of my feelings in until it explodes and when it does it’s over the smallest things. But anyways, I started my first job in 9th grade, AKA freshmen year. And when she told me she took my paychecks to save up for my college career I didn’t think too much of it. To be honest I was a spoiled brat, being an only child, I wanted so many things as I was little so my mom yelling at me and telling me that we have to be tight on money made sense. So I let her take the paychecks, and once that job was over. She helped me create a bank account for myself, and I was like “Great! Now I can save my own money.” But then the next job I had, she asked for the paychecks because my father wasn’t giving her any money for her bills and she was far in debt. So I was like I don’t need this money for anything really, so yeah take it if you need it. So she did and then my next job, I started to tell her that these paychecks were for college savings so I had a purpose for saving them now. However my parents had another fight that time, and he left the house more to drink outside at his friends’ houses instead of being at home. So she took up gambling, and I want to say she had an addiction but I might be wrong. She went often with my aunt who also had a husband that wronged her, and they gambled the night away. Until she ran out of money, and couldn’t borrow money from my aunt anymore. She asked me for my money, and really I could’ve said no. But she told me: “Since your dad has drinking to have fun, and you have your friends. I just want to have fun too.” And out of guilt I gave her two hundred after two hundred. And suddenly my paychecks from my following two jobs were gone.

And then until recently since I started Macy’s. She took my first two paychecks with the excuse that it’s for bills, which I don’t know if she really paid the bills with it or not. My frustration blew up. I started to realize that why is it that I am in college and withholding myself from buying a coffee at dunkin donuts, or sale clothes but I can give her four hundred to one thousand dollars every time she asked. I have had the same clothes, and shoes for seven years. And I get guilty even buying a grande at Starbucks. And every time I shop with her she yells at me saying that this stuff isn’t necessary that I don’t need clothes, shoes, or food. I am perfectly fine just eating plain rice with soy sauce, or wearing shoes where the soles are nearly torn off. Yet she can use the hundreds I give her to buy lottery tickets, and go to the casino. So when she asked me for money the next time, I called her out for it. I asked her why she needed it, she said something about being in debt to my aunt in which I explained to her that I can help her out with that when I’m out of college with a career and an actual salary instead of part-time at Macy’s. She said I was being greedy and that I didn’t want to help her.

Then my college bills came out, to be a total of a whopping $2,250. And guess what? She flipped out on me. She screamed at me saying that my college just wants to scam her of her money, and that I chose a stupid college and that I should’ve just went to Suffolk instead but no I wanted to go for an unstable artsy job. (Mind you I’m a marketing communications major, with a minor in business). She screamed at me for a solid 2 hours, which she does every time my college bills come out which has been two times prior to this one. So I calmly said: “Look this happens every single time. We still have to pay it, why must you complain every time?” Which I guess now that I wrote it sounds a bit snappy but anyways, she continued screaming about how much money that is and how I’m a waste of money. Until I snapped and said: “SO DON’T PAY IT, I’ll drop out of college! Happy?!” And she then called me ungrateful and a disrespectful child. And it wasn’t until, guess who?

My father.

He heard us from the other room, and for once said something that impressed me.

“WE HAVE TO PAY FOR IT ANYWAYS, WHY DO YOU KEEP YELLING AT HER FOR? YOU DO THIS EVERY SINGLE BILL? SHE’S EXPLAINED IT ALREADY!” And my mother went silent.

I thought that was the end, my father promised he’ll pay one thousand five hundred, and he wanted my mother to pay the rest. Which was okay, and she said she couldn’t give me seven hundred which I understood so I told her give me five hundred and I’ll over the rest, which was okay. But then she wanted us to deposit all of our money into her card, my father had no idea about this. But I was like: “Why can’t we just put it on my card and deposit it to the campus directly instead of write a check?” And she gave me some vague reason. But I found out, it’s because that she has enough money to pay the seven hundred and a bit extra and that she’s just using the money I give her as a way to get more money.

You know it’s sad when your mom calls you and instead of “Hey how’s college?” You hear “How much is in your bank account?”

-slow claps-

Although I do want to thank them for some part, despite being the two most annoying people in my life. I think that I do get some of my strengths, from them. They taught be how to me realistic, but at the same time hasn’t physically stopped me from dreaming or anything like that. Although they do have their doubts, I’ll prove them wrong one day. I’m pretty strong willed, ambitious, and often times quite patient (although it depends on the person and how many times), and I guess I am a pretty articulate person. 🙂

And that’s how my relationship with my mother and father are.

Updated to today.

Until next time! Good vibes!
(I think this post helped me learn more about myself actually)

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One thought on “[Challenge] Day 03 – Your Parents

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