FRIDAY, 13 AUGUST 2004
I have once again realised today, Friday the thirteenth, why some people are hermits. It’s the silence, the absence of confrontation with people who do not understand you, who have no idea what goes on in your head, who misunderstand you; also the absence of your own voice when you once again try to explain yourself.
The hermit, therefore, gives up to a large extent on his attempts to be understood and to be accepted by the community, even by those he loves.
SUNDAY, 15 AUGUST 2004
I love my family, and they love me, but between this love and the manifestation of it there is a lot of misunderstanding, and a lot of frustration.
“Talk to them about it,” someone might say.
I can’t, because they cannot hear me. They are trapped in their own insecurities and fears which, as it turns out, have never properly been confronted. I am talking to a brick wall, and there is always frustration and verbal aggression in their response. And sometimes this frustration and verbal aggression are also present in my own voice.
My parents love me, but I believe they do not respect me. The main reason for this is because they judge me according to certain standards.
They respect my older sister because she qualified for a certain career, because she has a fulltime position at a large corporation, and because she earns “good money”.
They respect my younger sister because she has tried hard over the years to build her own life along lines with which they can relate – work, money, marriage, setting up a home.
In comparison with my two sisters I fall out of the bus with “creative independence”, “intellectual enlightenment”, “the Enlightened Individual”, “freeing yourself from the worker-boss relationship”, “language as identity creator”, and “the concept of God in a person’s search for his own identity”.
I believe not one of the people I love deeply understands these things! And it’s not because it’s above their intellectual abilities – no one in my family is stupid. But just because you know what “creative” means, and you know what “independence” means, is not to say that you will understand when someone does not want to do a job that would require giving up his creative independence – whatever the price.
There are always reactions to what I have to say. My older sister reckons I think too much. My younger sister is not interested in my “thoughts and opinions”. And my parents are just people – they have their own understanding of things, and anything that upsets that, or anything that they don’t fully comprehend, leads to a response of verbal aggression.
I have deep affection for my parents and my two sisters. But to try to lead them to better understanding with verbal communication is virtually impossible. I speak in a language they do not understand. My world is not theirs. I don’t blame them; I am merely giving expression to my own frustration.
* * *
What is family? It is a case of individual entities thrown together by fate and who, by spending thousands of days in close contact, develop love for each other. But to expect understanding from them just because they love you is to throw one and four together and to expect to get two. I have to accept the situation as it is.