hear

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i suppose god heard my prayers.
i listened to the pastor and i prayed for my husband.
i was sixteen years old.

i suppose the one i prayed for heard in my voice how much i missed him,
despite me saying with firm conviction
that i didn’t want to do this anymore.

i suppose my cousin heard my sincerity.
i really didn’t visit only because i couldn’t afford it.
at the same time i didn’t want to ask for favours.
we are all struggling together.

but did my father hear me say i love him?
did i hear him when he showed it to me?

did the church hear the words of g-d?
or did they mask their confusion for fear of eternal death?

has god ever heard anyone pray?
does he hear anything at all?

do we hear bombs, gunshots and reports of storms
and cry to the sky to be saved?

i suppose that church brother i ran into this week
didn’t hear what i heard when i read the bible.
i suppose i didn’t care to listen to him tell me i should go back to church.
he never heard when i said there are things in the bible that don’t add up.
i never heard when he said that the bible cannot be wrong.
and when i got home, with his card still in my pocket,
i never heard that feeling as i tossed it in the trash.

via Daily Prompt: Heard

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Saturday Morning with Daddy

A journal entry from Saturday, January 4, 2014

I understand now, why he can’t understand, why he probably never will. Cows and pigs and goats and donkeys were never a big part of our lives. They never stopped us from going to school on Fridays. We never cried with the rest of our community for people going to America, never went to the airport and waved until we couldn’t see them anymore, and then cried with everyone on our way home. I have never cleaned a floor on my knees, never polished one with a coconut brushed. Never had to carry anything on my head. Happiness being a bunch of crap to him makes sense now. We have television and computers. We can take vehicles to school. We have shoes, more than one pair.

 

He said we should remember where we’re coming from and look where we are now. But he doesn’t know what he’s telling me to look at. I remember laughing there, with my friends at night. Enjoying myself at school. Knowing the people I lived with. Having family and friends around me. When I came here I bought myself a laptop after working for the first time one summer. It was my first laptop. I bought and got clothes, bags, shoes, hair products. I’ve used four phones, in three years. But he doesn’t understand. We don’t care that much about the materials. I would prefer to have one good friend over a laptop, or all the clothes and shoes I could buy. He doesn’t understand how isolated we feel, how isolated we are. He has worked all his life, and he still does. He is okay with keeping his head down and leaving his back to the sun, but we need people. We need love. Love doesn’t come from computers, or clothes or shoes, or even good grades. They don’t come from his absence, or his inability to understand that we need him, not just to provide for us.

 

I don’t want him to die. I want to teach him. I want to make him understand what we feel, one day, when he is willing, when we have time. I want to talk to him and let him know who I am, and ask him what he thinks, find out who he is. I want to tell him why I cry, and why…but maybe he won’t get it. He won’t get it right now.

Some Kind of Mental Problem

Him: I think he has some kind of mental problem.
Me: I know.
I knew. I could see it. Everyone else could see it. He has some kind of mental problem.

I told my father about him. He was dropping me off at the train station and talking about my sister again. I almost never like when he talks about my sister. It’s never anything good, or pleasant. It always makes me uneasy. He’s tired basically. He doesn’t think he should be trying this hard – not at her age, at this stage in her life, in his.

I told him about the man at work; how I found out that he has a masters degree. Him – the man who looks like he has some kind of mental problem, the man who has a son. I told him I’m not worried about my sister. I’m not worried about her because if that man can have a masters degree, then she can do something too. She may take longer than others, but she can do something.

I got out of the car and walked to the station. I had 40 minutes to get to class.

Snap Out Of It

Tonight’s as good a night as any to lie down and think about life, like I haven’t been thinking about it all day, like thinking about it all day wasn’t the reason I was in a slump all day, because life is such a nice thing to think about what with me lacking roots and the courage to find them.

Today, like all other days, I thought about society and its expectations of me, my family and its expectations of me, and how I am failing to meet these expectations because I’m not entirely sure what they are. That and I don’t want to meet some of these expectations because I think they are either pointless or a complete waste.

There is me wanting to be an individual person and not worry so much about others and what they think because that is a terribly big source of stress and I have quite enough of that with my school work and my job and having to put up with unpleasant people so very often. There is also the recent realisation that maybe I’m forgetting that the unpleasant people I find to be a source of stress in my life are still people who have their own stresses to deal with which gives them a legitimate reason not to tend to mine, you know, because they’re busy, working and taking care of whatever businesses they have to take care of; adult things that I don’t have to deal with yet and that I’m not in a rush to get to.

There’s also the larger society which involves religious and racial groups. This is problematic for me because I no longer identify myself with a religious group and the racial group I’m supposedly a part of is further divided into different ethnic groups and those don’t always see eye to eye. There’s just a lot of discord that I have no idea what to make of so even though I “think” about it I don’t really go into it too much because it would just cause a larger headache than what it already does. Instead of really “thinking” about it, I just look at it as a terribly large, dark cloud that looms over my head somewhere and that will soon burst and create some severe problems.

The religious thing is a problem for me too because now I don’t have anything to govern me. I feel like I’m not standing on anything and I don’t know where I’m going. I’m wondering if I should look into some other group or if I should just be one of those people who say they believe in God and leave it at that. I don’t know if I’m okay with that though because there’s all the hell/judgement stuff still in the back of my head. Not that I didn’t think I was headed there anyway, it’s just…I don’t know. There’s nothing there.

Oh and the childhood memories. Those keep popping up and I haven’t the slightest idea why. The growing up thing bothers me too. I don’t like the demands, or shall we call them requests, that are made of me because supposedly I’m old enough now. Like I was taught at some school that this is how one acts at the age of twenty-one. Sure. I must have slept through the whole thing. Sorry. I guess you wasted your money sending me there. Seriously though, I’m having this thing, this withdrawal thing I want to call it, where I’m trying as much as I can to stay away from anything that I know will bring me further into the grown-up world. I found myself thinking about Peter Pan and Neverland a while back, wishing it was actually real. I mean sure, I dislike some attitudes toward me that I think are more suitable for someone who is under the age of twelve, but the rest of it I think is unreasonable. I think people forget that I’m still very young and that,concerning how to relate to people and be socially polite, I really don’t have much of a clue. I didn’t grow up going to parties and accommodating guests. I never called my grandparents or any other relatives just to say hi. I wasn’t taught how to engage in small talk or to check up on people. I was just left to play and then called in when dinner was ready. I know to say thank you when I receive gifts. I know to greet people when I meet them. I think that is sufficient. It turns out however, that I have a bad habit, that I’m impolite or rude or inconsiderate or something like that.

I’m tired now. I wore myself out trying to live for other people which, by the way, was never noticed and completely taken for granted. Now I’m ignoring them and trying, very hard because of how unnerving it is, to do I what I want for a change because, one, I’m older now so I can get away with some things that I couldn’t before, and two, all of what other people want is too freaking much and it’s seriously heavy and weighs me down. I don’t know if it’s working so far because though I feel a bit better, I’m still not very pleased. Those around me aren’t either. But what the hell can I do? Add to this that I’m depressed…I just said that… Can you see the problem here? And as much as I would like to, I can’t “snap out of it” as my sister so graciously suggested. Like I wouldn’t have done that a long time ago if I actually could.

I’m Alright

I’m…alright, I say.
I’m alright, I think.
I smile like I am.
I live like I am.

I’m not.

I don’t want to
plan a funeral.

I don’t want to
have to rely on
memories and photographs
for the rest of my life
to remember my mother.

I don’t want to think
about her house and
how much is left
to pay on the mortgage
that she’s been paying
since I was
six years old.

I don’t want to
go through her things
and find something
to do with them.

I don’t want to
find out if
she has a will
or not.

I don’t want to
hear about suing
the doctors
that did a bad job
on her surgery.

I don’t want to
receive messages
asking how I am
and expressing condolences
over my loss.

I don’t want to
say I’m alright.

I don’t want to
say I’m alright,
or have people tell me
how strong I am
because I’m holding up
so well.

I don’t want to
answer any more
questions
about how my sister
is doing or hear
about how I’ll have to
stay close to her
and guide her
especially now
that my mother
has died.

I don’t like it
that my mother
has died.

I don’t like it
that I’m missing
school.

I don’t like it
that I don’t know
how I’ll catch up
once I go back.

I don’t like
any of this…
but what the
fuck can I do?

Who To Love

A man and a woman made two children together. The second one didn’t look like the man. The first one really did. Maybe the second one wasn’t his. It was his, the mother said. The man wasn’t so sure. He didn’t really talk to that child – the second one. They never really got to bond. The child was never able to get comfortable around the man. Somehow he didn’t think that was his fault. For some reason – nobody knows – the second child didn’t grow up to be like all the other children. She had funny eyes. One went up and down all by itself when she ate. Everyone thought that was strange. She talked funny too. Couldn’t pronounce her words properly, even as she got older. She didn’t do well in school. Her father didn’t like her grades. Why wasn’t she smart like the first child? The second child wasn’t quick. She didn’t understand things quickly, and she couldn’t explain things quickly. Her mannerisms were funny too. Is your sister handicapped? The children asked the first child. No. The first child didn’t like that question. Far away they moved, after the first child finished high school. The second one was almost done. Barely made it through the foreign high school, and the father was not happy. Second child had a bit of an attitude too. She didn’t like to listen. Almost never did her chores. Rude little girl. No college for you said the father after she was done with high school. I don’t think you are ready. I will not sign the paper. The second child remained quiet. Well maybe college was not for her. Fine. She didn’t want to go anyway. She won’t go. She won’t go to college. Far away she moved, to board at a post-secondary academy. No cell phone. Limited internet access. Not a lot of communication with the father. Father was not happy. I cannot have a constructive conversation with her he said to the first child. Why? What happened? The first child asked the father. All she says is hi. Do you answer? No. Why not? The first child didn’t understand. I’d rather not deal with her the father said. The first child wanted to cry.

As the Grown Up

“But you as the older one should know better…”

I hated hearing this when I was younger. Like my feelings couldn’t get hurt because “you are the bigger one and she’s your little sister”. So what? I can’t get mad. I can’t hit her back? Why exactly should I allow her to mouth off to me and ignore me when I tell her to do something? I am the bigger one right? Yes, and I should take care of her and look out for her, but do nothing when she hurts me, which she does because she can and she always gets away with it.

*  *  *

Just now my father did something that I’m not finished thinking about yet. He and my younger sister do not have the best relationship in the world and hell has to freeze over before that child picks up the phone to call him. Well she called him. Just now he asked me when last I spoke to her, and told me that she left a voice-mail for him to call her back. I told him I didn’t know what it was about. He told me I should call her and ask what it is. … … … Well why doesn’t he call her back and find out? Wasn’t he the one who kept talking about how she never called him? I don’t want to be some kind of go-between for the two of them. And he’s the adult! What’s the deal? Just call the girl.

But then I remembered. He has feelings too. I can’t read his mind, so I don’t know specifically what they are, but he does have them, and they may have been hurt. Him being a grown up doesn’t mean he knows what to do about that.

*  *  *

As a grown up, there are things people should know and ways they should behave. But as people, there are things that go on inside of us, memories that we haven’t forgotten, feelings that have been hurt, dreams that have had to be discarded, hope that has been lost. All these things and more make us up and play a part in the decisions we make.

Grown up doesn’t mean perfect and it doesn’t mean full of knowledge and wisdom. Maybe more knowledge and wisdom than a younger person, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a lot. Grown up doesn’t mean one knows what to do. It doesn’t mean one has the answers.

*  *  *

I don’t even know what to call myself right now. I’m legally an adult but I depend on my parents. Though I’d love to be on my own because I just can’t be bothered, I don’t even think about that as something that will happen in the near future. No way. I’m not ready to abuse my health working to pay bills and buy food.

While I don’t consider myself a child, I’m not comfortable with the word “woman” in reference to myself. I don’t think I like the word “adult” either. “Grown up” also doesn’t fit.

When I was younger I wanted long life. Now I don’t want to grow anymore, and would very much like to go back a few years.

I don’t know when I will grow up. I hate that I have to.

I just wish we all realized that everyone has feelings, even those older than ourselves, and just the way that they can hurt us, we can hurt them.