For the past couple of days I’ve been living on diet coke, red bull and advil, with the occasional snack, oh and vitamins. I’m trying my best not to take my “wakey wakey” pills because I don’t have any and so I’d have to buy them, and because N asked me not to take them. But I’m truly running out of resources, and the headaches are growing stronger. I’m overwhelmed with all the stuff I have to get done and by how poorly I’ve been treated on the past few days at work (at the school I teach that is, somehow I don’t see what I do at Mount Olympus as a job, though I do as I’m told and I -eventually- get paid for it). To explain it all here would be pointless and tiring for both you and me, let’s just say they’ve been more than unfair to me and I’ve noticed how they treat people (us) as if they own them (us) just because they’re paying them (us) to do something. This is not unique in my employers though, but rather normal in Mexico. Teachers don’t get paid for working extra hours, though we are continuously forced to do them anyways, and in private schools we don’t get any kind of benefits other than the ones strictly marked by law and even then owners will pull absolutely every influence they can to reduce them as much as possible, not to count the stress related to parents seeing us teachers as nothing more than the help and will go Britney Spears on us if we attempt to show their pampered little bundles of joy just a tad of
I’m not even going to call it good manners basic social conceptions. But I’m drifting…
Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in Mexico. Unlike the States (and Canada? I’m not sure) we always celebrate on May 10th and not on the 2nd Sunday of May, but just like over there in the north, this was a prefabricated festivity created by people with darker interests than celebrating mothers. Still the celebration stook and grew to an unimaginable size…and many of us just have to suck it up. I actually wanted to name this post “Have a happy I-made-your-childhood-miserable day!”, but since the mother has been known to visit this blog, I didn’t want to give it such a flashy title and so “Advil and diet coke” it is, because that’s how I survived Mother’s Day.
Ever since I can remember this date has been conflicting for me. Even as a kid, I suffered because my mother wouldn’t let me participate in the traditional Mother’s festival absolutely every school has, or in the handicrafts we did for our moms… and when she did it, it was always grudgingly and underlining how stupid the whole thing was for her and how she was only doing it for me. So either I wasn’t allowed to blend-in at school, or I was but knowing it was meaningless because my work meant nothing for her.
Then came the teen years which…I’ll just skip…right along with my early adulthood I guess, and right up to where I am now*. For the past years I’ve just tried to smoothly glide over the festivity, but every time it’s getting harder to do so. I suffer from emotional shortcuts. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but in Mexico Mother’s day is a freakin’ national holiday. The city goes insane and somehow every goddamned woman over 24 is congratulated by pretty much everyone…and that means me too of course. I used to explain I don’t have any children, but now I just smile and go on with my day. I don’t congratulate anyone though. They may be mothers alright, but they’re not MY mothers (thank God for that, like I needed any more). It does create awkward moments from time to time, when you say hello to a co-worker for example, and they are obviously waiting for you to congrat them, and you just say hello and move along. At least women in my family have gotten used to it and no one expects anything special from me on this day anymore.
The only one I haven’t been so cold-hearted as to spare from congratulating is my own mother. Still, I do so every time in ways that allow me to not have to say it out of my mouth. I may send her a text, write a note on the house, or may even go as far as dropping a FB message. But that is as far as I’m able to go. Bare in mind that I live with the woman, so things do tend to get weird on “her” day. The day is hard on her by itself too. My grandmother
killed herself “passed away” when my mom was just 11; abandoned by her father as well, she had to live with her much older siblings, who just rolled her around when they got tired of her or the extra expenses. You can imagine how well that went and how much care and affection she received**. As an adult, I understand it’s a shitty day for her and how she wouldn’t want to celebrate, which is perfectly fine, but I do feel a grudge for her making it such a hard time of the year for me when I was a child.
However that is not the most difficult part of the celebration for me. When I was younger it may have been, but now the mere fact of having to tip-toe around my emotional baggage is sometimes too much, especially working in an elementary school. This means I have to help prepare the freakin’ festival, be involved in the whole handcrafting mess, and survive through all the corny rituals schools love to put together, including the songs and letters. And of course I can’t say a word about my true thoughts on the matter, not on my work hours anyway, so I feel like a bitter double agent or something.
This time of the year, working on this particular job, means I’ve had to relive many issues that are yet to be resolved, while being already stressed out by the pressure of the impending
circus open classes, the journals, and my thesis advisor being closer than ever to dropping me at the side of the road. It has meant many things on the physical level too: locked jaw, back contractions and spasms, a sudden fainting, and the honored guest: migraine.
So today I’m glad I got that tattoo done last week. Today, just touching the side of my abdomen gives me a little hope I may be the one to overcome my past and break the chain, I sure as hell am trying to. And now that the thingy has healed, I’ll leave you with a pic of the result. Yep, the phrase says: “You gotta be stronger than your story”. I guess I needed to be very straightforward on this one, but I might be getting allegorical for the next one ;)***
*I’m just not ready to go there yet, all I can say right now is how thankful I am those days are over!
** My relationship with my aunts and uncles has too become pretty strained, because I can’t help but wonder what it would have meant for me had they actually taken care of their little sister. But then again, how can I blame them for not stopping our long-lasting chain of abuse and neglect? To what point was my mother their responsibility when they too were neglected and abused and did not feel like they should stand in for their absent parents? Should I leave them off the hook just because of that? But… I don’t feel like I should have a free pass to make my family or my offspring miserable, just because I was miserable too. This is a tough subject I might get back to later on.
*** Just took a second look at the pic. No I didn’t just flash you with a side boob! Those are my ribs sticking out, do ignore them please.