Right now I’m sitting on my mum’s sofa watching Inception.
I know, this is the best situation I could be in right now- blankets, food, tea, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Bliss.
But I wish I could share with you what I’m actually hearing, because it’s not the sexy ass voice of my wee Leo, rather, the shrieks of a Chinese lady singing karaoke on a television program my mum is watching on her iPad and my mum’s cackles as she is thoroughly entertained by it.
Not quite the night of entertainment I’d imagined.
But I know if I mention anything I’ll get a don’t-even-start-on-me-or-I’ll-mess-you-up look, before she starts yelling at me in Cantonese about how I’m living here rent-free for a month and how I’m unemployed and she works so hard to put food on the table and she should be able to enjoy Chinese tv even though there are three bedrooms in this house and there’s no reason she should be watching something on her iPad in the only room where there is a television.
Petty? Perhaps. However, I’ve only been here two days and the struggles of moving back into my mother’s house after having lived as an independent millennial who don’t need to man (I actually do, I love Mr Onebigstressball very much and really do need him in my life), is real. Independence is lost, and the novelty of having free food and being able to throw the heating on whenever you want because you don’t need to deal with the bills becomes old surprisingly quickly.
In the past 48 hours, I’ve had each of my naps questioned as apparently sleeping during the day isn’t good for me.
The night I moved back in I had a concert to go to with my mate and got told by my mother to not drink any alcohol and got slapped with an 11pm curfew. I AM 23 YEARS OLD!
As soon as I got into the car when getting picked up from the train station after the aforementioned concert she smelled the alcohol on my breath (I was super tired and yawned real violently- I don’t have awful potent breath) and got a lecture about how my skin is going to age at a gazillion times the normal rate because alcohol isn’t healthy for it. My ability to navigate my way from another city back home on the train whilst slightly inebriated wasn’t taken into account.
The next morning I was woken up by a 6:30am alarm that my brother had set for himself but because he’s such a deep sleeper (at 16 years old my mum still has to wake him up for school every morning, it’s actually frightening how much it takes to wake him from slumber), this alarm not only failed to wake him up, but woke an extremely sleepy me on the other side of the house.
This morning I got yelled at because I didn’t do what I had been so used to doing in my teens and checking to see if there was any laundry in the washing machine (there was) and therefore didn’t hang it out, rendering my mother slightly late for work because she’d thought I’d done it and flapped about like a little Asian chicken trying to get it done before heading out. I know this sounds weird but my mum is very passionate about laundry for some reason and refused to just leave it till after work.
All my life choices within the last three years have been questioned; my looks and my weight have been scrutinised; my eating habits criticised; and amount of time spent in the gym laughed at. Also I’ve been home for days now and I’ve spent approximately 2 hours with my brother because he goes to his girlfriend’s house after school, comes home to eat dinner then buggers off to his room to talk to his girlfriend on the phone until he feels tired enough to go to sleep. And I thought I was clingy.
Wasn’t moving back to my family home supposed to be a lovely, relaxing experience?!
It’s times like this I wish I was much calmer person- to be able to brush off these minor things and laugh about them, but when you’re in the situation, it’s difficult to remove yourself from the situation and look at them objectively and so much easier to be consumed by the anger and bitterness that you feel when someone is trying to tell you what to do and you have no choice but to do it because you’re living under their roof.
The only thing I need to keep telling myself is, that though they may be irritating and overbearing (and in my brother’s case extremely distant and distracted) for now, I am moving away soon (again, keep reading for an update on this really soon)and it’s is so incredibly important to spend time with your loved ones as much as possible.
My mother and I’s relationship has never been the easiest, but in recent months it’s been improving… she’s reaching out, making an effort to spend time with and get to know my boyfriend, and actually spoken to me like the adult that I am and not the little girl she wants me to remain.
We have spoken to each other more in the last week than we did since the beginning of 2017- cordially anyway, we usually end up screaming at each other midway through a conversation- and we’ve spent more time together as a family than I can remember any of us willing doing since the early 2000’s.
The point is, before I get all soppy and emotional and keep rabbiting on, is that family is such a significant part of our lives yet the biggest thing we routinely neglect until it’s too late.
It’s taken my mum realising that I’m moving halfway across the world to make the effort to spend time with me, but we can’t hold on to these things and be bitter lemons about them.
Yes, my mother and my brother are annoying, and living at home is like being back at school under constant surveillance and it’s tough having to explain your daily plans to someone and not have the freedom to come rocking in at 3am singing Britney Spears without having to deal with a shrill Chinese lady in a nightdress yelling abuse at you… but you can’t choose your family. And to be honest they probably hate how messy I’ve become since living by myself.
At the end of the day my mum is doing me a solid, letting me live at home for a couple of weeks while I prepare for the big move, so that’s what I need to focus on. How to make this time count, and not take it to heart that instead of listening to Leonardo DiCaprio explain the intricate world of dreams within dreams and planting ideas, I am listening to the latest reject of Hong Kong’s version of The Voice sobbing her way out of the competition.