Saturday, Jun. 01, 2019 - 3:20 pm.
We've been in Texas since Monday. This trip has been unbearably long, each day painfully slow. Saying goodbye to Brother #2 and his family in New Mexico made me sad, but I was also ready to leave. However, coming here, to Brother #1's home, has not changed the tone of the trip a lot. On the plus side, though, I am more familiar with the Houston surroundings, I've been here many times before.
I'm not quite having a good time. It's not bad, either. But it turns out my family, namely my father, and Brothers 1 and 2, plus Sister-In-Law #2, have expressed textbook prejudice on a variety of fronts: gender, race, class, sexuality. For instance, my dad made a terribly condescending comment about Brother #3, and implied women, particularly his wife and two daughters, were the enemy (sure, when my mom and sister look after his ass 24/7). My other two brothers sound like classic MRAs when the opportunity arises.
I can't quite say how I feel about that. Disappointed? Frustrated? Try something much, much stronger. I'm not surprised, even though it's the first time in my life that I've been completely aware of their attitudes, and seen them in the flesh. I love them, and they've been good to me time after time, but also I've noticed the hierarchy, how unimportant I am to them. I'm not seen as an intellectual being at all, I'm not critical but whiny to them.
Luckily, I find refuge in Andrew, my mom, Sister-In-Law 1, my niece, and my sister.
My poor sister, who's become the caretaker of my sexist, self-centered father, and of my fragile, overshadowed mother. I feel guilty that she's stuck in this sucky role, but I don't know how to help her. It doesn't look like there's a way for me to help her. There's no room for me in these family dynamics anymore. It doesn't matter what I say or don't, what I do or don't do, I'm not heard.
Furthermore, I have little patience. There are things I don't want to tolerate anymore.
I only relate to my dad when I offer to put on Breaking Bad. I've hooked him and my mom on the series, so it's something to do together, watch the damn show. I only relate to my alcoholic Brother #1 when he offers me a drink and I say yes, so that he gets to show off his bartending skills.
I feel both guilty and relieved that, by next Thursday, all this will be a far away dream. That day we'll be back in the UK. I feel like a horrible person for thinking about getting away from my family, for considering how nice it would be not to speak to them again so I wouldn't have to hear them use slurs or nasty stereotypes.
"Plus, these comments are never aimed to me", I was telling my friend Virginia, who's an extra support these days. I was trying to work out this guilt, to get myself to change how I feel and think. "My mom was horribly homophobic", she said, "she also never aimed those horrid comments at me, but I still left home" (wonderful news, her mom worked a lot on herself and they've amended their relationship). I think it feels as if the street next to the one you live is being bombed. The bombs don't hit your street, but they might next time, and yes, there will be a next time. Above all, you are aware that this is an attack to your neighborhood as a whole.
I'm well aware that I don't owe my family anything. Sure, my parents and siblings have been good to me, but that was their will. I'm grateful for all I've received, but that was not a favor, nor something I asked for. I haven't reached the point where I say "I'm never speaking to these people again", and I pray to God I won't have to, but I know enough to understand that it's valid to make that choice.
On top of everything, there was a new president in charge today, in my home country. My dad's been insufferable about it, God forbid we are critical of all the shit he's pulled before and is already pulling as president. Oh, no, that's just being emotional and judging ahead of time. On top of the top, it's a football final, and Brother #1 is going nuts. Jesus Christ, it's the start of Pride month and I'm stuck in hetero cis-male paradise. I am getting desperate.
My thoughts on all of the above are kind of all over the place, but that's the gist of it. Things haven't been bad here, but not great, either. The days have also dragged their feet because we don't have a car to take us places, and Houston is not made for pedestrians. I had the chance to take Andrew to the Space Centre, my niece was going to take us, and that one fucking day I fell ill and couldn't go. There's Uber, yes, but my parents can't walk a lot, so we're always juggling between not leaving them at home (which would suck for my mom, that's my sister's and my concern), and not entirely enjoying ourselves outside.