I love my community, but I am working toward a different lifestyle. Despite this, the effects of growing up in an urban, post-colonial setting haunt the core of who I am, making 'hood tendencies my friendly charm but also my enemy.
My 'Hood moment yesterday showed me just how much harder I need to work at deconstructing and decolonizing myself in order to have healthy communication with the family I love so much. The victim: my 21 year old, annoying brother, who likes to spend weekends free loading at my house, verbally and emotionally abusing my kids, expecting me to cater to him like he's in a 5-star hotel. He accuses me of slavery when I ask him to contribute- but that's not all.
Scenario: We're at my mom's house. I'm making sandwiches for everyone, while my baby cries. My brother finally picks him up (after I asked him several times), holding him in front of the television. Iztix is perched on his leg, being supported by one hand, because the remote control is in the other.
"Tots, hold him right, please. That's not the way you hold a baby", I tell him. He's good at blocking people out, and poor Itzix continues crying.
Exacerbated, I snatch Itzix and verbally attack his half-ass attempt to contribute. He tells me to shut the fuck up, and I ask him to tell me why he's angry. "You're a spoiled little bitch!", he mouths. In disbelief and disappointment, I silently pack some food, my stuff, my baby, and head to my car. Stubbornly, he picks at me, and I lose it. I get tunnel vision and see myself choking him out- I stop myself, yelling at his face instead. "Look at how you're acting, Oh my god!", he holds up his phone and I snatch it from his hands. Breaking it in half, I throw one half outside the house, the other above my head as I walk away. He keeps following me, mouthing sarcastic remarks like "Oh, where's your non-violent parenting class, now, huh?". In some order, I screamed back "You're an asshole! Get the fuck away from my car" and "Don't come to Long Beach!".
I can't remember the last time I went this crazy! I cried afterward, giggled a little, called my husband, and felt better. I plan on writing a letter to my brother, who was on his all too familiar un-medicated bipolar low. Violence is everywhere, but it shouldn't be used where non-violent communication can be productive. I want to have a healthy relationship with all of my family members, and provide the healthy model for my children that I lacked. Echo Parque, you were good to me...but DANG...I have to be good to me now.
|1990, Echo Park. Playing with our pit-bull puppies in matching LA Raiders outfits.|