Against All

Okay. It’s been a year since I last wrote here. Lots of things have happened, believe me, and most of them were pretty hard to deal with. I’m not one to look for conflict and I avoid it as much as possible, either by ignoring or letting go of things that bother me and trying to find inner peace that way. This past year I found that this caused me more of a problem compared to if I had faced them head on. I’ve told you a few times how I can be such a coward and this is possibly my worst failing. My inability to deal with conflict can really affect the relationships around me and sadly, this affected the one relationship I thought would hold through any hardships, to the end of time: the relationship between me and my best friend.

This will sound cliche, but it got worse when I started dating this guy in a more serious tone. The little jabs and stirring up stuff that had happened before I started dating my now boyfriend was something I had attributed to maybe she wasn’t doing it on purpose, but the one thought that nagged at me–and still does–is this: the things she did was not something I would ever dream of doing to her because I would know it was hurtful. And I would never do anything to hurt the one person that I have complete loyalty to. In order to stop myself from stressing over it or having flashbacks, I accepted that fact that it had happened (for my peace of mind) and reminded myself that I that I love her always, being my best friend and all. The tension kind of ebbed and flowed just under the radar for a bit. It eventually disappeared and was unseen for the most part of these past few years.

After a few months of dating, my best friend let me know that she didn’t trust him and even if that hurt a bit, I could understand that. She attributed her distrust to how so eagerly he had wanted his friends and family to get to know me and how moody he got after 1 meeting. I happened to discuss with her the fact that he started mentioning this after the third week of dating. When I told him to cool it down, he did and stopped asking me to come hang out with his pals. When I brought him home for the first time after about 6 months of dating, on my birthday, my sister was not very personable. Prior to this he already had an idea of how he popular he was with my best friend and sister aka not a lot. He had seen me cry because of it. I was struggling between spending time between them (boyfriend vs. bestie & sis) coz I only had so much days off since I was working full time. It took a toll on me knowing they didn’t like him and they always end up being quiet when I start talking about him. It got to a point where I got uncomfortable mentioning his name because I knew they wouldn’t comment anything good or otherwise. So this is where it started getting horrible. Somehow my not mentioning him made me “secretive” and my best friend even said–towards the last months of this tense environment–she didn’t trust me anymore. And what I couldn’t tell her was, I couldn’t trust her anymore either, because of what happened somewhere in those 7-8 months of me dating my boyfriend. She had a lot of passive aggressive things that she did and when we had our “talks” 2-3 times, she was always justifying her actions with very illogical reasoning. One time I mentioned why she couldn’t respond to my texts after 3-4 days of constant texting and she told me “you don’t know if I was out of the country, how do you that I could reply to you those days”. That was even with me explaining that I texted her mom to make sure she was ok and not dying somewhere (coz she gave me heat for a similar thing happening and she said she was sick). And she always insisted that I was forcing him on her whenever I would mention “we” (mike and I) in my texts; which was very confusing altogether. There was a lot of those and weird distant one word replies when I had some good news to share: “ok good for you” or “no thanks I’m busy” if I invite her to do something, when normally we were both the emoji-filled texters towards each other and normally she talks a lot. She stopped texting me unless I was texting her. So I also got tired of this begging for her attention thing that I was doing and I also stopped texting her unless I had something important to say.  This became very obvious in my family as she had almost stopped going to my house when we would normally be there every time I was on a day off. This took quite a bit of toll on me and I was crying almost every week thinking about it from day to day.. I started getting sickly around those times and this is from someone who rarely got sick; not even a cold would stick to me. My boyfriend of course was stressing out too coz I was getting so stressed out and he kept telling me that my best friend wasn’t acting like a best friend and I would silently agree with him but I always defended her to him, giving her excuses like “oh she’s not used to me having not enough time for her” or “she’s been my best friend for over 10 years”.. It was a terrible terrible time. There’s more to tell, but you get the idea..

Then there’s my family. To them, me and my boyfriend were not a good match. Let’s call him “Jon Snow” (lol yes, Game of Thrones ftw) and he was still in university… meanwhile I’ve had my career for over 6 years now. Understandably, my family worried about his stability in life. I talked to my mom, told her to relax, we were just dating, but she never did. Even though she talked to him whenever he was in our house and treated him like a guest, whenever he wasn’t, she had a totally different view of him. She’d say things like, “who’s paying for this?” and “how does he have money to always go out?” or “isn’t he working today?” All these things started coming out of her when I started going out more. Jon Snow and I went out a lot at the first 6 months or so then afterwards we got lazy and just started watching TV series or movies at his place. And I understood too that, being a student, he didn’t have much to his name and that was completely fine with me. The amount of cuddling actually got me addicted to his armpit smell lol.

To me, I never factored in his financial situation to decide if I liked him, and maybe that’s wrong but I truly didn’t even think of it as an issue. Of course, my family thought otherwise. When I talk to my mom, she would say stuff like, “how will he support you?” I felt like telling her, I don’t need to depend on a man to support me; I can support myself just fine. And he was trying to finish his schooling, that was the entire point for me. I loved that he listened well, communicated very well and was very patient with me and my family/friend. The entire thing was frustrating for him too, coz he’s always treated like a ghost in my house. My sister won’t ever talk to him, my mom is not happy I’m dating him and says things to me behind his back and my brother thinks I’m letting myself be used financially. only my dad seems to be more on the neutral side of things.

Well… that was a long post. I’ll rant more on this later. For now, my heart and my mind are tired.

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Gotta Pass!

LOL. I’m in a course again, but this is mandatory to work in my new cardiac surgery unit. I’ve been working there for 6 months now and so here I am, studying again. Well, on a break, really since I’m writing on here.. Exam is on Wednesday! Three days to finish up :/ So far, managing pretty good with the notes. Doing more rhythm strips today and still tonight! It gets confusing if I keep at it for long periods of time so I time quite a few breaks in (long enough for a movie sometimes lol). *Sigh* Life, eh? On the other hand, me, my bestie and my sister did a little “transformation station” thing a couple weeks back, with a general purpose to uncover and address some of our own bad habits.

My bestie and I had a few drinks and my sister wanted to go for a drive so I said, ok I’ll go if she drove (coz she was the only sober one lol). It went rather weirdly. Found out stuff that I sort of suspected already and some things that were way out there. So my bestie thought the growing craziness in me was brought on by my recent guy problems (yes, the guy I started dating turned out to be a player; surprise, surprise) but when I told her that was completely wrong, I had to explain all over again what I had mentioned to her right before I finished it with the guy. And then I was right in suspecting she was getting irritated or affected by it quite a bit; I told her I could tell. I’m pretty observant and the slight changes were: she was getting offended easily, and getting restless, also being slightly distant. I won’t specify; but I noticed because we’ve been friends for over 10 years now lol so I can tell.. I just didn’t show her that I noticed, which kinda hurt but I knew there was a reason for it so I tried not to take it personally.

I’m telling you, this drive and talk therapy thing was working (I had a bit to drink too but I wasn’t driving! I was lolling around in the back seat). And then I also found out she sort of grudged against having to take care of her brother when she was young and I can see why; missing her childhood like that must’ve been hard too. She coped pretty good though, and learned to let go of things much faster than I did. I still hold some anger towards my parents and every time I see them, it’s triggered at the back of my mind.

Then the most interesting thing to try to deal with was my sister’s issue. Oh, man, was that a can of worms or what! She tells us that she’s tired of feeling like the scapegoat of the family and having all her failures rubbed in her face ever so often. I apologized for everyone who’s done that to her (most of the family, really) and said I would tell them to stop if that bothered her the most. She was crying as though someone died, that’s how bad it was. Then she wouldn’t listen to what I say and kept repeating the same thing over and over. So I tried several approaches to get her to see another point of view (as to why we were “always hounding” her or always on her about her homework and stuff for school). It actually gave me a headache, because I started crying coz I felt bad that she felt like that and then having to explain and re-explain myself over and over again was getting tiresome. There was a point where I thought nothing I say will get through anyway, so I might as well give up. But I didn’t. We kept going until I was sure she didn’t feel so bad anymore. Could not have done it without my bestie being the middleman/referee when my voice started getting desperate lol. We tried to address a lot of things she mentioned, but it all comes down to what she learns from it, if she’ll take any of the advice we gave her and if she’ll actually start thinking about consequences of her decisions. We’ll have to wait and see..

 

Almost There

The year 2015 is almost done! This is probably one of the rockiest, craziest year for me… There’s been trouble with family and with myself lol. Over the summer, the family wasn’t very much like a family and family being my number 1 priority, it was hard on my soul, my heart and my mind. It was always there, I could never really put it in the back of my mind no matter how hard I tried. The issue at hand has been around for years, ever since I was a little girl and I’ve always urged my mom to just get a divorce since she didn’t seem happy anymore. But she always had excuses. And for me, I had enough of trying to pretend like everything was okay. I found a way to distract myself and I started meeting people from online and dating them. It was short lived but it did the job. I was worry free for a good three months; the entire summer. Of course, meeting those people didn’t come without any signs of trouble and I somehow overlooked that from my wanting to at least not be thinking about my family troubles at the moment. So I kept on going, knowing in the back of my mind that I would be fairly disappointed at the end, but I thought that would be a fairly small price to pay in the long run. Which eventually did get to that point. I shed a tear or two, was missing the guy then hating the guy, back and forth for a good month or so. Then I told myself, enough with the self pity. It’s time for me to re-prioritize my life again. Having been distracted long enough from my family issues gave me a sort of outsider look to the entire thing and I figured, I really have to get away from the life-sucking environment at home. And so that’s how I got to this point. Now, I had all my ducks in a row and for a good three months and I realized I still had my dating profile. I had to log back in to delete the damn thing and of course, the moment you log in, you are met with a barrage of messages from X number of guys. I was fairly confident I didn’t want to date anyone at the time so I looked through them and was mostly replying to the most entertaining messages. This one guy scared the hell out of me and said there was another account that had my pictures. He couldn’t send me pics through the app and so I gave him my fake phone number so he could send me a snapshot of the account. I was laughing so much but I was kinda annoyed he got my fake number. It wasn’t even my pictures; it was a totally different girl. I bugged him about his eyes needing to be corrected lol. Long story short, I am now dating this guy. I like him but at the same time, I’m wary coz of how sneaky he can get. Not really expecting much out of it, but he is a lot of fun to talk to. We’ll see what the new year brings. Happy New Year everyone!!

Guts and Gutlessness

Ok that’s a bit too much for a title, but hear me out. I am the most cowardly person when it comes to dealing with my own mother. She and I hasn’t been seeing eye to eyes these past year and it is driving me insane! It all started with a legitimate reason for my sudden change on how I viewed her. Before that happened, I knew her to be a strong, caring (in her own tough way), and wanted the best for everyone. And now all I see is someone who had manipulated my thoughts, actions and emotions into what she wanted. I’m not trying to be hateful, and I do want our relationship to get better because I do love her, I just don’t appreciate it when she tries to get everyone to do what she wants either through guilt trips or using other people against us.

For the longest time, she would always tell me “You’ll take care of me when I’m old, right? You’ll let me live with you?” After years and years of this, I felt so much pressure. I felt so much pressure to do well in life, which, in hindsight, is not such a bad thing but the motivation behind it is all wrong, don’t you agree? She never once hounded my oldest brother about it and when I found the courage one day to ask her this question, she answered, “I can’t rely on him, you know that.” I was disappointed, to say the least. Instead of feeling like she was seeing me in such a good light, I just saw how she wanted to be comfortable. My brother is the type to just go with the flow, and not push himself any more than necessary. I could never rely on him financially, let’s say if I needed $5000 for a debt. They would hassle, scold and nag me to figure out a way to get that repaid or reduced. If it was my brother who needed the same thing, I would be a bit hesitant at first but I’d shell it out. Why? Because my mother drilled into me the important of sticking together as a family. And that’s how I treat all of them, very important but I try not to show it because I find they abuse that.

For example, my mom knows that guilt trips work on me like magic. I cannot, in good conscience, let other people suffer when I know I have something to give. This is after she’s told me all the sad history that this particular person (usually a distant relative) and then I can’t undo that knowledge and my conscience kicks in and I start feeling guilty that I’m doing well and I can’t even spare a few hundred dollars to help this person out. It’s not that I abhor the giving part, I don’t mind it actually. It’s how she haggles ONLY me for this that pisses me off. She knows my other siblings won’t do the same because they can tolerate talking back to her, and I couldn’t seem to do that. She knew me enough to do things like that, but not enough to know how I truly felt when she did do those things.

Somehow I managed to live with her like that, and I’ve even learned to accept that she will always be that way. For years, I lived my life putting her first when I make major decisions. When I bought my car, it was primarily so I could drive her to work if my dad didn’t want to (if you’ve read my older post, there’s a much bigger reason but eventually comes down to this). See what I mean? Even now, as I’m getting ready to buy my own place, I still worry about their bills coz I pay them currently and help with the groceries as well. So I have to figure out how the’ll be able to manage without my income to help them out.

What changed my view of my mom was both what she said and what she didn’t say. We had talked to her about divorcing my dad for various reasons (mostly his fault) and then talked to my dad separately about it. It was a very turbulent time for all of us, and for me, I just wanted it to be over so we could all move on. Keep in mind, I was with my mom on this 120%, I was ready to back her up even with what I know, because I  knew she made the right choice, even with how she was prior to this. (This threat to break the family has been ongoing. Imagine the stress of that when you’re around the people that are screaming and hurting each other all the time and in the process, hurting you by not thinking about how this affects you as it drags on and on and on.)

Anyways, it was during our talk that I finally realized she was never really intent on leaving my dad if she didn’t get to live the same way as she is. I was all for it and I told her she’d have to start going by bus to work again, we’d have to live in a small apartment when they sell the house, and we might have to start our life over again. Now to get a view of her life is right now: She gets dropped off and picked up from work coz she doesn’t know how to drive, we travel every year together as family (with me and my brother) handling most everything aside from her flight tickets (they have air miles), we live in a brand new house. You can see the difference it’ll make, right? But I didn’t even worry about those things because the emotional toll it was taking was so hard on me and I could barely think of anything else in my daily living. When we finally asked her if she was going to separate, she said “I can’t leave him; I don’t know what he’ll do to himself.” She was using my dad as an excuse to hide the fact that she won’t be content if she’s not living the same lifestyle if they went ahead with the divorce.

That was the turning point for me. I thought, if you’d rather be living a lie and stay miserable, I can’t support such a decision and I won’t stay in this kind of environment anymore. I’d never said those things aloud and I think that part is my mistake. She has no idea what the reason is for my cold demeanour when I’m around her. Because ever since then, every time she talked to me, all I can think of is “How could you lead us on like that the entire time?” And I can’t seem to stop the numbness, the lack of love and the seething anger that I get when I see her or hear her voice. It’s continually progressing even now. I’ve tried forgiving her and accept her as she is (for my own sanity’s sake) but it screwed with my mind that I started feeling guilty for my current decision of wanting to leave.

It’s hard to admit that I don’t have a good relationship with my mom, because she’s the one that I had trusted most when I was a kid. And now that that’s broken, it saddens me even though I want to get away as fast as I can. I lack that good communication with her, but history taught me that she’d get mad at me and end the conversation with a guilt trip every time I tried to talk to her about these things. To me, I feel like if she changed herself for the better, I would consciously try my best to see past our rough patches and make it work again. I mean I miss hugging her, having family gossips with her, or her crazy funny side.  But since that is not happening yet, I think I have to distance myself if I don’t want to hate her for the rest of my life.

My gutlessness is in that I can’t tell her I’m leaving unless everything is all set and I’m ready to go. But it’s because I know her enough that she would try to do something to stop it had I told her of that decision early. I’m giving her a month’s notice but no more. I know she’ll be hurt, but she had already made her choice so I’m making mine. For my own well being, I want to have a peaceful home environment and a quiet that would be good for meditation. None of this, swearing at each other in front of us, the yelling and constant pretence of being a happy family. I’m exhausted and I need the change.

A Hard Choice To Make

Let’s say you are in a certain situation. You get along pretty well with your immediate family, at most. Your parents are good together when the going’s good, but they are horrible when they don’t get along. Yelling and screaming, along with name calling, even in the night, when they are about to go to sleep. Your siblings are good people, but the laziness means you do the house chores by yourself even when they are on their day off as well. You feel bad for your mother, who is the only other house cleaner when you’re not around or at work. You know she stresses out about this because technically, she’s chronically sick and the rest of the people at home are adults, who can but will not help with the house chores or cooking unless instructed to. You all work different schedule so it’s never the same person on the same day off. The house is a 2 storey with a basement. Having 5 adults in there means a messy house because 3 of them do not have the initiative to help around. You’ll have to either yell at them or pretty much beg them to help, which you’ve done for years and honestly, you’re just fed up with it so you don’t bother anymore and just do it yourself to avoid the stress. Now the choice is this: do you leave them; move out on your own so they can learn (hopefully) to do things for themselves, knowing that your mom will be the person who will be most affected, since no one will be helping her anymore? Or do you stay to avoid stressing out your mom, but you pretty much let the others get away with being lazy, because you know you won’t be lecturing them anymore after years of trying?

It’s a hard choice, but I think it’s necessary for those 3 to realize that they can’t live like that forever. It bothers me that they don’t even think they should be doing those things, when you get them to do one thing, they’re done and will often say, “It’s your turn this time, I did it last time.” It’s not so dysfunctional when we get together, watch a movie, go to church, eat out, etc, but when it comes to those things, they don’t think of it as a mandatory thing. I feel like they don’t know the rule of division of labour. If all they do is eat and sleep and go to work, then I don’t think I can live like that anymore. It’s not fair to my mom and to myself. I wish my mom could move out to her own apartment so those three could see how it is just by themselves. I’m sure they’ll survive (LOL) but they won’t be as clean with their living space and there will be a lot of finger-pointing and swearing around dinner time when there’s no food ready, or impromptu laundry days because nobody will think to do it weekly. I think I will need to come home a few days a week to help my mom out, but they don’t need to know that.

Ok, the plan is to save for at least 4 months of rent money ($4000) so that if/when I change jobs early next year, it won’t be so hard on me. I’m thinking early June 2014 to try out the moving thing? I don’t have much stuff.. just a lot of clothes. and books. and shoes. I can’t wait to buy my future furniture! If I can find a house for rent, and a roommate, that’ll be awesome! I hate apartments.. I’m a hermit so, as little human interaction as possible is great. Ahahaha!! No, I just want to be able to put my music loud and have no one complain about it. =) That’s the big plan for next year!

Thoughtless Words Are Fatal

Here we go again. To all the awesome moms out there, this post is probably one of your worst nightmares. I will start with a little background information: my brother is the type of person who is outgoing, confident and can easily get along with other people. He is also, among other negative traits, very easy to deceive. Example: a few years back, the two of us were walking to Safeway when this guy in a random truck stops him and asks him if he wants to buy a sound system, with random reasons of why he was selling it from the back of his truck. Being the ever cautious one, I was already starting to dismiss the guy even before he finished explaining. My number 1 thought:  a stolen system that they’re trying to get money from. So there’s my brother, easily being taken in by how cheap it was ($200) and that it’s brand new and was a 7 or 11 piece set. Then he turns to me and says, “Can I borrow $200 from you? This is a really good deal.”

To clarify, the thing was not a brand name I even recognize. I was appalled; his decision making when it came to sudden purchases, and an expensive one at that, was shocking. I said no, and he still bought it with his own money. I couldn’t believe he brought home that thing. I didn’t say anything because I knew he would get mad at me for questioning his decision. So we get home and surprise, surprise, my parents were livid.

Now that same trait of being unable to think his decisions through has at least three occasions that I know about. The most recent one is this: My cousin calls to tell him that a highschool classmate of theirs is asking her for money (loan) and she asks him if he can loan the guy some money. This is all on speaker phone and my parents could hear the whole thing. After hanging up, my mom tells my brother, “Don’t lend them money, you don’t even know if they’ll ever pay you back.” To which my brother apparently replies, “You guys didn’t pay for my tuition fee.” I guess I can’t explain the context properly, but he was trying to say that they shouldn’t care what he does with his money. (I don’t know why he had to mention the tuition fee at all though; I got student loan to pay for my tuition fees.) This is of course, so hurtful to my mom, who starts screaming at him in anger. Then she started crying.

My mom can easily make me cry, but I don’t think I’ve ever said anything so hurtful to her that she would cry. My brother on the other hand, has done this before, mabe a few times already. It pains me to see that she loves him so much and yet she hardly gets any thought in return. He then rationalized that he’ll eventually pay back my parents for all that they’ve done for us. Wrong. Who says any child can even dream of repaying what their parents did for them? We can all try, but anyway you put it, our parents fed us when we were all crying babies and changed our diapers and lost sleep to comfort us. Can all of us say we would change our parents’ diapers when they become incontinent? Can we say we’d have the patience to deal with our parents who had developed Alzheimer’s or dementia? Most of us would have no time for that and lots of excuses would come out to justify our actions. I don’t understand how my brother could forget the very simple fact: He wouldn’t be alive if not for our parents. I don’t know how he can even think that he doesn’t need parents. Just because he works now, he thinks he’s so awesome, that he’s so independent. He isn’t. He totally lives like a prince at home. Rare would be the time that he would think of helping out around the house. He eats, sleeps and leaves the house to party or to work. He’s like that on repeat. I learned to not mind it because it stresses me out and i know at this point, he isn’t going to change anytime soon. I feel bad for him and at the same time I’m mad at him. He thinks paying them back with money is going to amount to the same thing as taking care of them. Never in my life have I put money as the most important thing to me; it pays the bills, but that’s not the goal of my life. My brother keeps wanting to foster kids (to get more income) in the house so he wants me and him to pay to get the basement finished, but I know that the situation in the house would only get worse. And who decides to foster a child with the thought of getting rich? Am I crazy or is that just plain heartless?

Anyways, I have to sleep now, otherwise this topic will keep bugging me. ‘Til next time. Goodnight.

The Life and Times of Me, Pencil (Part 4)

When I was about eight, nine or ten years of age (I was in third grade), I was becoming increasingly aware of social statuses and the difference between rich and poor. Constantly I would see the material things that spoke of money; in school or even close to home. My classmates were a good mix of high, middle and low class kids (which basically means: rich, not bad/middle, and poor). I saw the difference of old flip flops and sparkly new Sketchers worn to school. I saw cool hair accessories and new pens and rich looking parents. By then, I was getting shoes that were hand me downs from our cousins from out of the country. I’d get excited when I would get a new backpack from relatives out of the country as well. I still remember the leather shoes with the buckle and the loose long socks I wore. I remember thinking, ‘My feet are growing bigger.’ I remember thinking Milk, Brains and Hairy were in the rich side of society, and River, Fishie and myself were on the fine line between the ‘not bad’ and the ‘poor’. I was naturally a quiet kid and observing quietly and learning as I observe was one of the things I was (and still am) good at.

Whenever our relatives came to visit us, which was rare enough for us, I found myself being more observant than I wanted to be. I noticed how Hairy was favoured by Smiley. I noticed how Smiley would always take Hairy with her first before any other. Smiley is extremely affectionate and so this was something I was silently yearning for. I wished I was favoured just as much as Hairy was pretty and nice, as much as Brains was so smart, and as much as Milk was so cute. Being with Smiley back then was somewhat of a wake-up call for me, seeing as how apparent Smiley favoured whom she did before. Then with every one of us being excited about having relatives visit us, each cousin had their own traits pop out (I did say, I was good at observing). Chocolate Milk had always been the outspoken one in the bunch; very vocal and very confident. River was loud and playful and good looking, and Smiley was River’s godparent. Brains was pretty and smart and very witty. Hairy was the prettiest among the group and the nicest and sweetest. Fishie was adorable, cute, tiny and (I’ve heard this a million times) she looked like Smiley when Smiley was a little kid. Milk was the youngest in the ‘rich’ class among us so therefore had to be favoured by default among other things. Me? I had nothing to offer. I was quiet, and back then looked more like Softy than Eyeballs. Smiley’s personality was outgoing, so of course, Smiley gravitated to the outspoken ones. Chocolate Milk, River and Brains, and of course Milk were a shoo-in. Hairy and Fishie were personal favourites. I felt like I didn’t belong; I felt more like a background more than anything. You know that feeling when you watch people outside from a window? That’s what it felt like being with them all. I guess my personality was a factor in all of it, but it still didn’t make sense to me that I was so unremarkable to the rest of the family (and I mean very close relatives, including Smiley). I never got that reassuring feeling that it was okay to be me, to be myself. What I saw around me made me wish I was what I was not.

While all that was happening, I was realizing that Eyeballs would get really excited and happy whenever I get awesome marks in class, like exams and tests and projects. So I excelled in that. That was my moment of visibility. Eyeballs would tell the good news that I was in the honor roll when recognition/graduation rites came. And I was happy. I found my fifteen seconds of fame. I would get a very big smile on my face, all proud and excited. All for a quick pat on the back and a ‘Good job!’ to go with it. I get the occassional hug, too. That’s how I pretty much lived my younger years: aiming to please people through my academic standing because I thought I wasn’t good enough unless I was good at being something or someone. The only time our relatives would talk to me extensively–and by extensively, I mean about 5 or so minutes–would be about my grades in school. It was a lot of pressure and yet I was blind to that; I just wanted to be acknowledged. That was all I wanted.

All my life, I’ve been trying to establish this fact to myself: Pencil is important. Pencil is a human being worthy of respect and affection. Pencil is Pencil, and Pencil is enough. It’s a concept that was hard for me to accept for a long time, especially when I was younger. Everybody else had  such personalities in our big close-knit family. That was why I started looking for attention and acceptance from other people. My classmates since childhood like Rosebud, Timber, Dancer, Mango, became so close to me that at some point I developed this idea that my friends loved me more than my family. Well, from my point of view back then, my friends were the ones who were  with me and were happy that I was being myself, plain ol’ Pencil: one of the comedy acts in class, and got along with most of the class. At that point, my thoughts and feelings were usually excitement when I would go to school and see my best pals and on the other hand, I would be really mad and frustrated that I would be going home to people that barely noticed me. My mindset like that for a bit. I saw the toys that Fishie got from Smiley, I saw more and more the leniency towards River when it came to doing chores. I saw the amount of new house hold chores that Eyeballs taught me. I started hating house chores then. Everytime she would proudly say to random people how I knew how to cook already at that age, I felt exploited and used. The idea of the maids in Earrings and Boss’ household was a constant taunting in the back of my mind.

After a while, I looked up to Earrings’ family. They were rich and had a big house and everything that goes with that. In the meantime, my family barely owned a tube of toothpaste. I realized that if we didn’t have much food in our tiny little house, we’d eat plain steamed rice with either salt or sugar. And yet I loved that. I didn’t love the fact that whenever our relatives from abroad would send a package to the siblings Earrings, Eyeballs and Everhope (Chocolate Milk’s parent), Earrings’ kids would always get the coolest things. I felt even more unwanted every time I saw that. They’d have the coolest and prettiest Barbie dolls, the best backpacks, and shirts and shoes. It was too obvious to me that me and my siblings weren’t the favourite of the bunch. I wasn’t okay with it, but at the same time, I didn’t know what do except to accept that fact.

And yet, amidst all that, I thought and believed our whole entire family was the best family because we had some relatives out of the country (to me that meant I was a little closer to the ‘rich’ class by being associated with them), Earrings’ family was, in my eyes, in the ‘rich’ class so I was proud of the family as a whole. I was proud of everyone when they did something great, like be in a play or something like that. I was glad that as a whole our family was doing well. The cousins were cohesive and we mostly got along (unless someone was having tantrums). We were all pretty good with each other. Deep inside of me, it was a confusing mix of love and denial, of hurt and passiveness, and of pride and humiliation. To me, the different levels of feelings were what kept me observing. I couldn’t understand why, with the family, the gaps of understanding were so different and with different people, so small. I didn’t think much of it all after realizing these things, but they’re always there, buzzing around in my head. So to keep from thinking about it, I kept my focus in school instead.