Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sleep...

I'm exhausted.

Ever since I got back from Wellington I recognised the fact that I needed some sleep. The night after I finally hit the wall while have a drink with a friend. I seemed to hit empty and just like a car out of gas, I was relying more on momentum rather than being powered under my own steam.

But I've been busy. A company I wrote some VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code for a couple of years ago is still having problems given that they suddenly decided to change their version of MS Office. School is just starting up and starting to do imaging days. I haven't gotten back to someone about their website yet - that's been on the books since before going on holiday. And there's Kosrae to organise.

So I've been desperately looking forward to Sunday. Sunday is the day where I could lie in bed for the entire day and try to catch up on some sleep. I made sure my parents weren't going to be around, let them know exactly what I was doing and why I was doing it.

Only, at 9 this morning I woke up to hammering. The damn neighbours. I can't begrudge them really. They're not to know. Only I open my bedroom door and right outside my room is my mother holding a ladder for my dad while he knocks a nail into the ceiling for no other reason than some sort of superstition thing they've been meaning to do for a while. They're in their work uniforms. They've come home especially to do this. The neighbours don't even enter into this equation.

I'm frustrated and angry and I'm tired enough that I might just cry. My body desperately needs sleep but once woken, it stubbornly refuses to submit to it. This probably has more to do with how much needs to be done and my desperately trying to get everything going without a hitch.

When I express my frustration - "You knew I was desperately trying to get some sleep today" it's taken as a personal affront. Somehow I'm being completely unreasonable. My father is trying to get into my room for this whatever it is - they won't tell me what they're doing. By tonight my mother will have an apology with a qualifier - "I'm sorry but it had to be done at that very time because we've been meaning to do it and waiting a few hours or another day would make all of the difference". That'll eventually turn into "blame your father, it's his fault" and finally "It's our house and you'll just have to live with it". All of which aren't so much an apology as a justification for their actions and it's my fault that I was even trying to get some sleep. It's a whisker away from "I'm sorry you're an idiot".

And then I realise that this is why I actively hate superstition. While I don't believe in it (I'm not supposed to cut my nails or hair, or eat meat on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday or ever after dark etc.), my parents do. They're fanatical about it. It would be fine if they kept it to themselves. They don't. And me being who I am try to keep them happy. It's out of respect. But if I say "Not at this time" or "Not on this day", sure enough, they've picked those times and those days.

The fortune teller when I was supposed to be out celebrating my birthday for example. Suddenly I'm not allowed to celebrate because it inconvenient for this fortune teller. When it comes to these things, my plans don't factor into it.

Somehow this feels a lot like that whole stripping of - it's not just respect they're taking. It's something more. It's dehumanising. It's the same thing that my Aunties were doing by pushing me rather than talking to me and the same thing my sisters do when they very purposefully disrespect me and exactly the same attitude to me that seems to have been encouraged throughout my life.

In my teens my family seemed surprised that I would spend most of it looking at the ground. I was depressed. Crossing a busy street without a few dark thoughts of stepping out at the wrong time was a constant struggle. This is probably the reason I was an unpopular kid at school. I had no self esteem yet alone any display of confidence.

But then, once you've got a few dark thoughts, do they ever just go away? Take me out of the situation of the family home and away from the relatives which I did when I moved down to Christchurch. Only, I can't shake me from the equation. I've been brought up in a certain way.

A friend was saying that she thought I was great at what I do but I don't seem to have any self esteem and she didn't know why. The question feels like the wrong one to me.

My family never seemed to believe in positive reinforcement. My grades at school (prizegivings, an award from a science competition, a 100% score on an exam and later on an assignment) were never acknowledged. My occasional detentions were. Saying that I was probably going to have a bad grade for Chemistry due to the introduction of unit standards resulted in a loss of Saturday mornings as I was sent to tutoring - the tutor, a friend of my father's, had me writing lines because being tired apparently makes me stammer. Little good that it did. I still got a bad grade in chemistry but also hated Saturday mornings.

I had believed this to be a kindness to my sister who had struggled throughout school.Youngest child is spoilt my bottom.

So the question is: Where did I find the small amount of self esteem that I do have? But back to the immediate question: How do I get some sleep?

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