Tuesday, May 22, 2007

When your successes are your failures, or, how I do not take my own advice.

I write this post because it needs to be written. It's most likely good advice... Maybe not even advice... but commentary with a spin... I don't precicely know which category it fits but the point is that I will not be following this advice.

When Your Successes Are Your Failures

I was at my cousin's graduation party this past Saturday, when one of the attendees looked at me with a gaze that mixed confusion and concern and commented, "[the cousin] is younger than [me] isn't she?"
I immediately saw through her belittling tactic and chose, actively chose, not to show this person that her words, though yet unspoken, had managed to touch a sensitive nerve within me.

"Yes, yes she is."

And yet, this obviously clear message was brushed aside in pursuit of her goal: to say the following sentence:

"But you haven't graduated yet, right?"

"That's right, I haven't."

And then, to really drive her bewildered point home, she trumped my response with the ever-clear, I-won't-say-what-I-want-to-so-I'll-sum-it-up-with-this-gem-as-I-shift-and-relax-back-into-my-chair-and-it-would-be-awesome-if-I-had-some-glasses-to-nibble-to-really-add-effect:

"Humph." That sly, under the breath "huh" that's not the least bit a question.

And I was fine until she mentioned the "huh." The "huh" that wasn't a "huh" at all but really a "and yet she's done and you're not. Fascinating. You know, I thought you'd be done long ago. What's taking you so long?"

And I stare her down and say, "she's went full time, I've been going part time."

And there it was. My moment of weakness. My moment where I cracked and brought up an excuse to cover the pain and make everything okay.

No. Everything was okay before she said that. Everything was okay when I've been working my ass off to support my family so that I don't exactly have the luxury to quit my job and go full time and pray someone hires me immediately upon graduation because the time I'd spend looking for a job would just be more time my family goes without food. All while putting MYSELF through school, *AND* managing to foster my theatrical career as the appointed Artistic Director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitain Washington's Children's Theatre.

What I wanted to say was "nope, actually I dropped out of college, and decided that it was a waste of my time since I was already making so much money without it."
To which, her jaw would drop, and she'd turn to my mother and say, "truly?"
and I'd say, "Not at all, but wouldn't it make you feel better if it was?"

And meanwhile, I see my mom, whose only goal in life is not to see me marry, but to see me graduate. She's shrinking in the corner of my eye, and no one else can see it, but I can. The slightest release in the shoulder, the merest clench of a temple, the fraction of the eye being lowered to the ground. She's embarrassed. For everyone. For herself, because this lasy clearly thinks her daughter is a loser. For me, for being one. For the lady, for having to go through the questions in the first place.

She changes the subject to help us all avoid the shameful white camel in the room. How I took her on a trip. Shock ensues. Yes, this pitiful creature who carries a white camel (bactrian, for those who were wondering... I like two humps and I cannot lie) managed to take her mom out.

Sigh. The worst part was when mom didn't even comment on her conversation on the way home.

Complete defeat. Her daughter is a loser. Plain and simple. She had to "save me" from conversation.

Even though I've been through and have accomplished alot, ALOT, mind you, because I'm still in the race for this papel which is the key to all the puertas in the world, all my accomplishments, All of them...

mean absolutely nothing.



1 comment:

GrantB said...

glad to hear that all is well, or at least life,
from an old friend in PGH,