One of the nurses at my mother’s primary care doctor (she sees many doctors) felt the need to ask her the secret question while I was in the examining room with her.
She held up a paper that I could not see and asked my mother to answer, eying me suspiciously as she did it.
What was the secret question?
The question was “Are you safe at home?”
Yes, in that moment, I was suspected of abusing her, making her unsafe at home. That never feels good.
Of course, no one has ever asked me that question.
“Are you safe at home?”
“Are you safe at home?”
Here we are, another feast day, sure, and while I know how to serve, my family can’t understand why I am so tight and snippy.
To me, the answer is obvious.
I am not welcome here on this holiday.
I can’t actually show up here and be welcomed.
To me, it feels like I am the black servant who is welcome to cook and clean, but would never be welcomed at table in this house.
Problem is that I don’t have a real option to go home and be with my family after work is done.
And this family assumes that I should enjoy and celebrate, not just work and serve. My mother’s passive aggressive nature is triggered when I say that she “ordered” dinner at 4 PM and a dessert buffet that will include my brother’s family at 5:30 PM; she doesn’t want to believe she is ordering what she wants.
People feel like I am an asshole because I don’t play along, enjoy the festival.
And I feel like they are assholes because they can’t get why I cannot be present here, why this is so much not about me.
It’s another anniversary, too. I started this blog three years ago at Thanksgiving, with a post noting that my mother was thankful for who my sister was, and was thankful for all I do. She got thanked as a human being, I got thanked at a human doing. La plus ça change. . .
I feel unwelcome in this home. And expecially now, after my sister’s threat to call the authories to have me removed as a danger to my parents, I also feel unsafe in this home.
I can do my job, but doing my job is seen as abusive to others. They want me to play along, to be Uncle Shithead, too. “We don’t like to see you suffer,” my father tells me, but to him that doesn’t mean he wants to participate in my joy, only that I should mask my suffering more effectively.
I feel unwelcome and unsafe.
But there is work to do, so, my head pounding, I go to do it.