Back exhausted from yet a soul-sucking day of work. All I want to do is lay on my bed because my brain is fried and I cannot function.
Then I get a call.
One of those.
“Hey listen, I just forwarded an email, read it and call me”.
First there were the holiday envelopes for my grandma’s cousin because she is elderly and loves us — so says mother.
Then there was that time where we badly needed cash for dad’s cousin’s husband’s surgery. Never got it back. Then he passed away and parents made me heavily “contribute” to the funds that this family -whom I never met- were collecting.
Then my sister and cousin wanted to live in the big city so I set up my small apartment to host them for an indefinite period of time. I paid tuition, food and outings. School is over, they don’t seem in a hurry to get a job and they have no intention of going back to the smaller town.
Then I got this call, and I read the email.
In short, my rich aunt living abroad is scorning us (meaning me) for not sending enough money to my uncle who is caring for my ailing mother.
Apparently, he has debts because he never worked a day in his life and I am an ungrateful brat for accepting mum’s wish to rest at her brother’s place, even if that meant I financially support their entire household. To any sane person, this family just won the lottery because as long as my mother is alive, they are getting a hefty allowance which they never had. Apparently it’s not enough because he got into new debt when he saw the checks coming in.
What kills me the most (because yes, I wish I’d die at once but no, it’s a slow painful agony)… I was saying, what hurts the most is the underlying reason behind this continuous guilt-tripping: you’ve made it. You’ve made it big in the city.
I grew up dirt poor but smart, moved from nowhere-town to university-town on full ride, then to big-city and big-job.
Everyone in my close or extended family sees me as the one who has made it big. This means I am always able to help whenever there is a “crisis”, no matter the amount, for as long as they wish.
No one ever bothered to do the math of all aforementioned “contributions” to the family.
Everyone criticizes me for not having a car: “A big time engineer like you cannot take public transportation, why are you so stingy?”.
Everyone makes fun of my 7 years old second hand futon and how I don’t have a proper living room: “don’t you like people visiting? where are they going to sit?”
My only mistake was making it big.
As my mother keeps telling everyone that I am insanely remunerated in my job, she keeps making monetary commitments on my behalf and acting as a samaritan at my expense.
I know she enjoys the attention, the better-than-theeness, the thriving in overly public giving, but my bank account does not enjoy it at all.
After today’s call, and as I stare terrified at my starved bank account, I am thinking: “When does it all stop? When would I be able to have savings and care for myself instead of constantly wiping off some relative’s financial incompetence? Why is it that they are able to have fun, enjoy life, be irresponsible then have no shame to milk me down to the last drop? What is wrong with me?”
And yet, I am going tomorrow morning to stand in line at Western Union and send one more sum of money that goes to someone who will burn it in cigarettes and gambling instead of helping my ailing mother.