Seems like everytime something good happens, it has to be balanced by the bad. Right now I want to effing scream at my dad! Yeah, sure, I found out through somebody else who told me I wasn’t supposed to know, but thought it would help me put his moods in perspective. Yeah, my dad has depression, and no he won’t get help because he thinks he would be discriminated against. I’m like, nobody has to know, you know?
So, bad news first, since I’m already riled up. The story is that last night I went to go see my mom perform with her singing group, It was a nice little concert, her first one, so I asked off early from work (though I need the money), and even though I had a headache I went with her to the cast party. Before the show, two things happened, and it’s either or both the reason why my dad hasn’t looked at me or responded to me at all today, and he’s in a bad mood. Because of me.
Waiting in the lobby to be let in to the theater to get our seats, my little brother, who’s hard of hearing, happened to be standing near a bunch of old people, sitting down on the bench. One of the ladies said something to him, but I couldn’t hear her, so I’m sure my brother didn’t either. He was looking straight at her, and then he looked to Dad to “translate”, but Dad didn’t do anything, just glared at him, expecting him to respond. My brother knew what Dad wanted him to do, but he had no idea what to say, since he had no idea what the old lady said to him. When this little incident was over, I motioned for my brother to come stand by me to reduce the chance of being in a lopsided conversation. I knew exactly what my brother was going through. I rubbed his back and said you know, if you can’t hear them, you can always ask them to repeat themselves or speak louder. And my brother nodded, I could see him processing the information.
But Dad heard what I told him, and got all curt and his voice tense, and I couldn’t hear him very well either (stupid acoustics in the lobby) but he was saying something about my brother being as stubborn as me and it’s not because he can’t hear, it’s because he knows he should respond but he didn’t. I wanted to whap my dad on the upside of his head and say, I know what it’s like. My brother couldn’t hear her, that’s why he didn’t respond. He’s not stubborn. He tries very hard to please, but you’re always hard on all the brothers and not on my sisters, and my brother has another strike against him because he can’t hear! But I didn’t say that. I knew it wouldn’t be worth the pain of his emotional rollercoaster.
I didn’t hear everything my dad said, and even though I had a basic idea, I asked him to repeat, and he consolidated his rant into one sentence (people were watching, so he couldn’t blow up like I knew he dearly wanted to) and then asked me if my ears were broken. (by ears he means hearing aids/cochlear implant). I said no, it’s just loud. This went on in the same vein for a while, and I still couldn’t understand him. So I looked away. I was done trying to listen to him. I didn’t do it disrespectfully, it was a natural break in the conversation, but I knew Dad wanted some sort of response from me. I wasn’t about to give it to him. My gaze wandered naturally, but purposefully, and it wandered back to Dad, who looked at me, his eyes wide and his lips tense. I smiled like I didn’t think anything was wrong.
Sheesh, Dad, after almost 20 years you’d think you know better?! He still doesn’t get that he has to get my attention first then talk to me. He still calls from another room or another floor, and thinks I’m being stubborn and unresponsive when really I can’t hear him, it’s not until Mom or my brothers or sisters tell me Dad’s calling me. Dad has some sort of primma donna complex, where he thinks the world revolves around him and that we should automatically drop everything and hear and understand and obey everything he says. That’s why I’m trying to teach my hoh brother what I wish I was taught, if you can’t hear, your response can be to ask them to speak up/repeat what they said. That’s why I’m so glad I’m getting more in touch with my Deaf side (as corny as that sounds) because it puts my life in perspective. I was probably no more stubborn than any other kid. I wanted to please my parents, but I couldn’t hear!
We got to our seats. I didn’t mind being a few rows back, but I picked front row for us because that way my brother and I could “hear” better since we could see better. See who’s singing at what time, you know? Dad was complaining (no matter how jokingly he does it, I know he really means it) about how my littlest brother and sister couldn’t see, that they would have to crane their necks back to see. (It wasn’t that bad, plus i offered to move a couple rows back.) I sat my hoh brother next to me, on the far end away from Dad. I showed him how my phone worked, and how I could talk to friends with texting, and how it vibrated so I didn’t have to hear it ring. He thought it was cool.
Then my dad asked me, “do you get frustrated with your old man?” I said “sometimes”. It was a safe response, honest, though not brutally so. He said jokingly “all the time, huh?” I releneted a bit and said “most of the time” and then said something about how I was glad I was at school most of the time now, in the same ‘humor’ my dad does, even though it’s honest. I could see a small change, but didn’t realize it at that time, in his manner of acting toward me. I stopped talking after two sentences, to prevent myself from being more honest. Note: I will NOT lie just to stroke his ego. I will NOT lie to make him feel better and wanted. I will NOT grovel and such. I try my best to be as honest as I can, but I also won’t be brutally honest. That’s why I write the blog. I needed a place where I could express all my feelings as honestly as possible, since I have no one person I can share everything with.
Today I slept in, my family went to the 9 o’clock Mass while I decided to go to the 11 o’clock Mass instead. I was in the bathroom, putting on my makeup with the door open. I heard my family come home (and feel the vibrations on the floor too) and said hi to everybody. Dad walked by and I said hi to him, but he didn’t look at me, just walked right past dropping my book bag carelessly from last night that I had left in their car for safekeeping. Okay, I thought. He’s in a bad mood. I didn’t realize I was the cause of it until I asked Mom, and she said it was because of what happened last night. (I had told her about both incidences) She said Dad felt like I disrespected him, and now his feelings were hurt.
Man, did I get mad. Not at her, at Dad, but I couldn’t show it to him. It was HIS fault. His fault for asking me. If he didn’t want to hear the truth, don’t ask me! His fault for not getting it through his head that perhaps me and my brother aren’t stubborn or disrespectful if we can’t hear a darn thing people say, and we stand there, asking to repeat, or waiting, processing what people said in our mind before we figure out what they said, and then respond later. I’m downstairs in my room right now, and I really want to go up there and tell him to SHUT UP and GET OVER YOURSELF and GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD THAT MAYBE YOU NEED TO GO A LITTLE OUT OF YOUR WAY SO WE CAN ACTUALLY HAVE A NORMAL CONVERSATION FOR ONCE!
Ah, well. Soon I will be leaving, for an hour long drive to the capital city because I’m meeting with the president of the statewide university system for my “leadership and/or scholarship” abilities. He’ll probably try to talk to me with the radio playing and the windows down even though it’s cold because it’s so hot in the car and when the siblings are talking and such. My parents are driving because they don’t think I have enough highway experience yet. And Dad did threaten in his stupid hypocritical joking manner that my car is not all mine, it is in his name even though I pay for half the payments and all the insurance.
Wish me luck.