The Paralysis Returns

The Paralysis Returns

Now that we’re on the topic of family, I have more to say. I must confess, I just don’t feel that connected to them– the brother, the parents, the extended family in Taiwan. And frankly, I’m tired of society making me feel like I’m the freak. I’m not going to feign connectedness or intimacy. Granted, at this point in my life, I’m probably the least connected to people (in general) than I’ve ever been, but my point is, why do people force this whole “family ties” thing down the throat? Reminds me of those bullshit parental consent abortion laws… I don’t know what kind of world those policymakers are living in, but they insist that every young woman has responsible and involved parents with whom she shares a close, genuine, and trusting relationship. Whatever. When priests are molesting boys, fathers are raping daughters, and young adults are being trained/ordered to torture and kill, you know the world is far from perfect. So let’s just stop the charades, and save everyone the damn trouble.

Johnny sent me an email for my birthday. In his latest process of self discovery and personal transformation, he’s embracing Nichiren Buddhism. Says the chanting helps channel all his negative feelings and emotions. Says he’s changing for the better, and he suggested I try it. My response? Fuck off. Religion is not going to erase, much less stop, the lifelong turmoil and distress he has caused the family. And I hate to say it, but my uncle supposedly had a religious awakening a decade ago (he’s now a monk). He’s still a leech, and his daughter doesn’t even speak to him. That’s what I’m saying: the words and the actions have to fucking align. I’m in goddamn sales and marketing. I know bullshit when I see it.

It’s not even the money issue. I mean, if my parents want to blow dough on him, that’s their prerogative. For me, it’s the emotional manipulation. The verbal promises claiming that he has changed, that he has gained awareness, that he truly cares. The parents can eat that shit up all they want. I will not be fooled.

Anyway, the email just annoyed the crap out of me. First, my dad was copied on the email. What the hell, an intervention for me now? Then, Johnny goes on to say that, in his new and improved form, he’s helped our extended family. In what way, I have no idea. Given that my relatives are, to varying degrees, racist, elitist (obsessed with having a doctor in the family and in each generation), and now homophobic, I’m curious exactly how he has helped them see more clearly. Do you see how pissed I am about this whole thing?

I awoke at 6 am today and spent about 4 hours in the car. Driving is the worst setting for all this emotional, self-reflection bullshit. I know that I need to be honest with myself too. The job is not working out. I need to just say that and move on. And I realize that in my liberal stance on many issues, I am in fact quite intolerant of other views, particularly when they conflict with mine. But how am I to get over that? Is the correct position to simply agree to disagree? Why do I get so worked up when my family holds views different from mine? The hypocrisy just eats away at me. Not just from them, from me, from the world. There’s too much damn gray.

I canceled Netflix. They’re a “blue” company, but they disappointed. We received so many scratched, unplayable DVDs. I switched over to Blockbuster, who is staunchly “red.” Blockbuster costs the same but has the added convenience of renting from the store. My decision to switch is bothering me. I know, it’s one stupid little membership that costs like $10/month. It’s nothing; yet my choice, given what I know and for something as utterly unnecessary as MORE TV, just doesn’t feel acceptable. … I mean, do I need to watch 5-10 movies each month? What is the consequence of my selection?

I saw Fast Food Nation the other day. Everything is linked: immigration policies, unfair labor conditions, cheap nutrient-deficient food, animal abuse, rape of the land, making money, serving the insatiable American appetite, feeding the working class… What am I doing? I’m trying to have my cake and to eat it too.

I also watched A Crude Awakening. Why am I working 30 miles from where I live? I live in the artificial, manicured, oblivious-freakin’ suburbs. And in the last week, I’ve met so many people who commute 1 hour each way for work. Why are so many of us doing this? Why are we working 10-12 hours and commuting another 1-2 hours? What is this for?

When my parents visited, my father asked us: For your generation, what is the purpose and goal of your life? I didn’t have an answer. After some thought, it seemed that my purpose is to pass time until it’s all over. Try to spend my time doing things that are meaningful to me and hopefully helpful to someone else. But am I doing that now? Mostly, I am just passing time. And now it seems maybe 31 years hasn’t passed quickly enough.

What’s the purpose and goal of his life? Answer seems simple: to provide a good life for his family. I didn’t even ask him his question. I know that’s his answer.

So where to go from here? I don’t know. Maybe I think too much. I watched Grand Canyon last night. People are but a tiny speck on the world stage… still, if we don’t treat our actions as anything more than trivial, what’s the point at all?

I lead a very lucky life. The least I can do is to live it responsibly and honestly. I’m going to take a swim in the pool. I hope I see clearer afterwards.

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