Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 - 6:11 pm.
I'm writing this in my bed, I returned from my home country this morning and I'm still disoriented and exhausted. I came home, though: I came from my first home to my current home, which is nice. Now I'm resting after catching up with Andrew in terms of events and affection, taking a nap with my ginger cat, and being mildly acknowledged by my black cat.
The trip went well. The long journey to and fro involves taking three planes and it lasts about 20 hours, so all that hassle considered, traveling in itself was uneventful and relatively stress-free.
My country remains chaotic, violent, unfair. More traffic, fewer trees. Some things have improved and even made me long for a life there, or for the life I used to have there, but it is still a place you should get out of if given the chance. I did love the new (to me, anyway) cafés and independent businesses popping up. It's just hard and not-very-safe to go anywhere, and even if you have a car, there's traffic at all times and never enough parking spots.
I stayed at my sister's house. I slept on a cot in her studio. Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but the house was nice and I got to be around her everyday! We had fruit for breakfast (saving scraps for the animals in the neighbor trees in front of her house), and conversations just about anything. She was on top of everyhing, making sure I had it all covered and driving me whenever she could. She's a freelancer, currently with no projects, so she had time. I mean, not really, she always has things to do, but she puts others before herself whenever she can. I felt bad sometimes and told her she could use her time on doing her own thing instead of on me and that I could manage, but she's stubborn. If anything, though, she's also all about being one's own person and practicing self-care, so I know she knows when to draw the line.
The first days were hectic because my whole nuclear family was there: my parents, me, my four siblings, two of which live abroad and had come with their partner and their children. Also, everyone has different schedules, but we managed to be together for a meal or two.
My parents would be living the fucking life at 80+ years old, if it wasn't for my dad's character. Yes, they've both been ill, dangerously so, but they have two children who are medical doctors and who have ensured that they're well taken care of. At the moment, everything's under control. But my dad is so self-absorbed, so ready to take everything personally, so eager to never be wrong. No use in repeating what I've said here before, suffice to say he's suppressed my mother as a person and he can be very callous toward her.
There were two or three times these two weeks that I saw My Dad in him, just a spark in his eyes that would last a second or two: when he told a joke, when he helped me blow my birthday candle (a Peppa Pig candle that my sister got), when I told him that Andrew and I want to adopt a child. But he's incapable of having a conversation with me. He doesn't quite listen to anybody, specially if they're women. He looks depressed most of the time, his eyes on the horizon or drooping when somebody's talking, or plainly interrupting.
The night before my trip, on Monday, I saw what I'd been told that happened on New Year's Eve. My dad was fine for most of the day, Monday, but said he could sense "the cycle" coming, the cycle being catching a fever (which is what happened on NYE and another one time). We went out for coffee with him, my mom, sister, and Brother #3, and when we returned home, my dad went to his bedroom and wrapped himself up because he said he was cold. In a 33C degree weather, and in a house where for some reason they refuse to open the fucking windows.
Long story short, he spent that evening with a "fever" (anybody under those conditions could trick the thermometer), then "throwing up" (retching mostly, until some water came out), and finally soiling himself, the bed and the bedroom floor. All this while refusing that my mom called a nurse, let alone an ambulance. The first time he did this, it broke my mom. Now she was just...still taking it seriously, but not crying in anguish like the first time. My sister was fuming.
I went into my dad's bedroom a few times, to let him know I was there but never making a drama out of what was happening. When I came in to say goodbye that night, he was all over his bed like making a snow angel, with his shirt covered in vomit, his penis out of his pants, and soiled all over them. He didn't even flinch that I'd see him like that. I didn't flinch either. I just thought, "you're fucking kidding me. Three hours ago we were at a café having a nice coffee and conversation". I kissed his hand and told him gently that I hoped he got better soon.
I love my dad. I know he genuinely suffers, but there's a lot of manipulation involved. He gets ultra sick and pathetic, and talks about dying or being left alone in a care home or in his hometown, whenever he has a bone to pick with my mom, or when his children abroad are visiting.
My mom lives in a personal hell, though she would never think of it this way. My mother, and I don't say it in an idolizing way, is a saint; most, if not all, wrongs my dad attributes to her come from his own self-centered mentality. To her, this is "how he is", he's Her Husband and she could never leave him, let alone in his current state.
Thinking this way helps her through her marriage, although it is also what keeps her bound and somewhat isolated. They both live locked up in the house, they rarely go out for fun or invite people in. My dad has kept my mom isolated from her own family, from going out with friends, and he gets angry when she points out that she's suggested they should go out more (it "puts him in a bad light" in front of us children).
To make matter worse, my dad and my mom's sister, her most important source of emotional support, hate each other and haven't spoken in a few years. My sister and I had to sneak out to see my aunt, knowing that it'd be my mom who'd have to endure the consequences, namely my dad pouting and talking about a complot against him because women, am I right. Ugh. But my mom appreciated that I got to see my aunt.
I don't think I can go on, I'm exhausted. I'm not emotionally devastated by any of this, none of this comes as a surprise. I've known all this for years. Hell, I've known it before I *knew* it properly. The emotional manipulation and subtle partner violence (never physical) has always been there. Some of it extends to the children, particularly to those who are at hand, that is, my sister and Brother #3 who are not abroad and whom he sees more regularly. My dad loves all of us, he just can be very dismissive in general, including my siblings and I... except Brother #2. At least my dad listens to him, so from time to time our voices concentrate in his.
By now I know I'm just a visitor, I'm the last child, and I'm a woman. There's nothing I can do to change this. My dad doesn't listen, my mom is too traditional to even know how to protect herself or from what exactly. I can only stay in touch with my parents and talk to them weekly, and stay in touch with my siblings and specially my sister, who's very much my parents' carer.
Ugh, to wrap this up on a happier note...wait, maybe not so much. I saw some people I wanted to see, like, I met with my friend Virginia twice! Once for queer brunch where I got drunk on one(1) mimosa, yay. But I didn't get to see W, my mentor, nor my soul-saving friends Lighthouse and CR. Halfway through my visit, I caught a cold which remains to this day, and between this and my exhaustion over other social commitments, I ran out of time and energy to meet with them. So in this sense, the trip felt incomplete.
Everything went well these past two weeks. I spent quality time with family and friends, and I made it back safe and sound. I have to get back to work tomorrow, so it's best if I go lie down for a bit right now. I'll get back to my regular DLand schedule soon.