Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Stop This Train....

When I'm at home, living my day-to-day life in my parents' house, with my basement cave of a room, I often take days off from the world. The only person I'm absolutely required to talk to is my mother, just enough to say that I'm ok but that I need time. Until today, I never realized how precious and valuable that is.

This morning, I was supposed to be up early, well, early for me anyway, 9am, so that I could take the morning shift at the hospital with my grandfather, so that my grandma could take my usual afternoon/evening shift and I could hang out with Sir. Though I got to sleep at a decent hour, I couldn't manage to haul my ass out of bed on time. Or even late. Obviously, this didn't make my grandmother too happy. I've been here, doing hospital duty with my grandmother for over two weeks now, without any real days off. And somedays there are great, some are just ok, and some are horrible. I realize that my grandmother doesn't get to take days off from this, or at least she won't. But today I realized how much I wish I could just be back at my home in my cave, where my actions in the world stop. I know the world doesn't stop, but I can take myself out of it for a day. But I can't do that here. It's real life and it is EVERY SINGLE DAY and it's hard. I don't want to not be here helping and I don't think I need some special fucking award for taking care of my family. But it isn't easy or fun or what I thought it would be.

I remember a post on one of the feminist blogs that I read regularly about how females are always expected to be the caretakers of older family members, especially when they don't have a husband and children, despite the job situations and locations of other members, both male and female, in the family. Whenever there has been a serious illness with my grandfather or with my uncle this summer, I always assumed that if someone was going to have to stay with them and take care of them, it would be me, since I was unmarried, without kids, could put off school, and without a career job. Thankfully, that was never required before. But, when faced in this situation with my grandmother's unspoken desire for me to stay here with her, I just couldn't do it. (Thankfully, my mom said that she wouldn't allow me to do it anyway.) I just realized how hard I've worked to finally get comfortable, to get a job at school in my field, to get back into school and like it, and I know I won't give that up. At least not when there are a good deal of other options.

I also realized today that sometimes being "someone's something" can be more of a burden than something that just adds to who you are. (And bear with me, because I haven't found a very good metaphor to explain this though I'm trying really hard.) I used to think that there was this large infinite cloud of who I was and being "my mom's daughter" or "Sir's girlfriend" (when I was that) just added more to my cloud. Now I'm thinking that maybe the real me is a bright sun in a cloudless sky but being "my grandparents' granddaughter" and "my mom's daughter" and "D's neice" are clouds that cover me up, obscuring me, even to myself. Recently, I've been able to JUST BE AVA when I'm with Mon Parrain and Miss Kee and I work hard to JUST BE AVA when I'm with Sir, but those about the only times that I feel like I can just be me, not somebody's someone. I called my mom and asked her if it got any better. She said you just learn to juggle the hats better. I really wonder if guys feel like this or if it is different for guys. Mom said that she doesn't think guys feel it at all, though Sir says they do, that from the moment they have a wife and kids until the time they retire, they are...mmm, maybe it is different for guys. Because I think Sir meant that men feel chained to their jobs, that they are their employment or career, especially when they have a wife and kids. But that isn't what I meant. Part of it is that I'm a "barista" (when I was) but it is also belonging to all these other people, being obligated to them and responsible for them. Maybe that is why I have such a hard time just letting my fiction characters act as they would, why I tend to protect them from their worst impulses. I just don't know.

Here is a song that I thought was pretty appropriate and a link a live performance of it.

Stop This Train- John Mayer
Though, I'm not colorblind
I know the world is black and white
Try to keep an open mind
But I just can't sleep on this tonight

Stop this train
I wanna get off
And go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But honestly, won't someone stop this train?
Don't know how else to say it

Don't want to see my parents go
One generation's length away
From fighting life out on my own

Stop this train
I wanna get off
And go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But honestly, won't someone stop this train?

So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game
To find a way to say that life has just begun

Had a talk with my old man
Said "help me understand"
He said "turn sixty-eight
You renegotiate"

"Don't stop this train
Don't for a minute change the place you're in
And don't think I couldn't ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we'll never stop this train"

Once in awhile, when it's good
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
Till you cry when you're driving away in the dark

Stop this trainI wanna get off
And go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
Cause now I see I will never stop this train

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