#30DayWritingChallenge: The weirdest thing about my family.

Day Fourteen: The weirdest thing about my family.

I can probably count in one hand the number of times our family went to church. The last one was maybe three years ago, during my sister’s wedding.

My father could not care less about religion. He is as nominal as nominal a Catholic can be without calling himself atheist. I doubt he understands the term; but even if he did, he probably think it’s too much of a bother.

My mother has always felt guilty about not going to church. Every Sunday morning, she will turn on the TV for a televised mass. She hardly watches it, but the sound from the television is probably enough to keep her satisfied enough about her Catholic obligations.

TV mass is really targeted to those who are too old or too sick to go to a church. My mother is neither of these. She is just shy about dressing up and going out in public.

So it was the kids who had to make up for the religious lapses of the parents.

I went to a Catholic school in high school and was even active in some church organizations. It was mostly for show, in hindsight, although I believed it (mostly) at that time. Church work means attending a mass and going to org meetings, leading prayers, and learning Cathechism. The latter appealed to the geek in me.

I stopped going to church around college, and like someone who has not eaten bacon in three months and realized that it was possible to not miss bacon, I realize that I won’t be smote for being a bad Catholic. Besides, I masturbated every day. Surely, I should have been punished sooner than that?

My siblings all went to a public school and so they were not pressured to exercise religious fervor the way I did. My oldest sister, as far as I know, remained religious. This is inspite (or maybe because) of living in the Middle East for the last few years.

My middle sister joined me and my oldest sister in church when we were younger, but by the time the youngest siblings were old enough to go to church with us, we already stopped going to church.

Family portrait, Maia's wedding.

Looking back at what I wrote so far, this isn’t particularly weird for an average Filipino family. The weirdest thing about our family is probably the fact that it isn’t.

The weirdest thing about our family is that how I am in it.

Kumain ka na ba?

If she did not notice me eating supper before I left for work, my mother would ask on my way out, “Kumain ka na ba? (Have you already eaten?)”

Often, I would grunt that I’ll be eating in the office instead. Or not answer at all. More often than not, I am already in a hurry when I go out of the house and do not welcome the last minute question which causes me to momentarily pause and consider if I should answer or not.

She means well, of course. A caring parent would want to make sure that her child gets to eat properly, nevermind if that child is already an adult in his thirties. However, a lot of the things that we do well-meaningly are also a little misplaced and do not contribute to anything beneficial.

I can already feed myself. That’s why I work in a job, actually, so I can feed myself. Wondering about my well-being based on whether I have eaten or not at that given moment seem a little superficial. So what if I have not yet eaten? Should I go back inside and tuck in some supper so she would be relieved that her son isn’t starving?

And not commenting on the obvious (I think) fact that I am, at that moment, in a hurry. That an interruption can cause considerable delay to my travel time. But then, my mother had been self-employed all her life. She did not have to worry about coming to work on time, only in ensuring a dress gets finished on a particular day. My mother is a product of a background and a generation whose values are considerably different from mine.

I wish she’d call out “Ingat!” when I go out of the house, instead. Wishing someone “Ingat” shows understanding of a situation as well as appropriate concern for a person’s safety. I think of these things now and get a guilty feeling for not appreciating parental concern. The moral dilemmas from being raised in an Asian family while adopting a mostly-Western worldview sucks.

At the Slaughterhouse District, Baguio

I tell myself that these selfish, petty aggravations will go away once I move out again. Except that I will not be moving out of my parents’ house anytime soon. So better keep your mouth shut, Jade. Next time my mom asks “Kumain ka na ba?” I will try to smile, keep quite, and close the gate carefully behind me.