Wednesday, July 2, 2014

choose. choices. choice.

There were many times that my father was ‘absentee’ because of his work, 
and then he was ‘deceased’ and it somehow didn’t matter to me anymore. 
I knew that as the eldest, I have to be my mother’s assistant, 
even a partner in taking care of my siblings and 
make sure our house is a home- 
be it an extension of someone’s garage, a shanty by the ‘riles’ or 
a room of a house of a relative. There were happy times, yes. 
And we are truly a family, my mother and I made sure of that. 
Despite the hardships, we excelled in school. 
We were popular because we didn’t allow others to look down on us 
and we proved that we didn’t have to be rich to be so. 

As a family, we were a strange band of characters-- in the 80’s, 
my mother and the three of us, in the 90’s ‘minus’ my sister 
who died of leukaemia and another sister 
who  was away from us for 10 years 
but then it’s also ‘plus’ a new sister and two brothers 
from my mother’s second marriage. We went through life 
sharing a lot- ideas, 
school supplies, socks, toothpaste (even bath towels at times), 
coveting one another's desserts, borrowing money, 
reading each other’s diaries, 
inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, 
loving, laughing, defending, 
and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together… 
and that common thread is my mother or the love for her. 

Family (of origin) shaped my life in one way or another- who I am now 
(and I have my own family), how I act, and how I keep my values, 
and especially how I formed my identity. I have to form my own identity 
besides the pre-wired identity that my family built because I realized that 
I cannot depend on that 
(there were times I do not know what I want to be, 
but I am quite sure of what I don’t want to be so I take it from there). 

I remember five years ago, a girl called and told me that her dying father 
is my father too, and that I have to give my forgiveness 
so that he would die in peace. 
Fast forward, no one knows exactly (yet) if this was true 
but I was (and still am) glad to have another family added on my list. 
Here, I was exposed to stories of how ‘this father’ was and 
how I came to observe 
that we share a lot of commonalities and 
this made me wish I have met them 
(he and his family) before he died. Given that, my choices 
and priorities now however 
are based on what I wanted my own family to be – 
less complicated, intact and 
ever-present for each other. This wouldn’t be difficult (I hope) 
because we’re a family of just three. 

But then I asked myself once again: 
would I be this strong-willed, patient, and passionate and 
beautifully disturbed enough to try to help the least-favoured 
if we haven’t gone 
through all those life’s struggles and complexities? 
That is a question I wouldn’t risk answering by application now.