It's a fact: I can get ugly.
Yelling, screaming, crying, head spinning, spraying vomit ugly.
But, I've been raised to NOT get ugly in public. Not with strangers. Not even with close relatives.
It's a sign of good parenting if your children are well-behaved in public or, basically, anywhere but your house.
I'm not sure how my parents raised me this way. Lolopop is a lecturer and Lola put the fear, not of her wrath, but of her unpredictability in me. You just never knew what would set her off. And how crazy it might get.
Your Dad doesn't quite see it this way. Maybe because he's not a mom and mom's know UG-LY. Or maybe because of how he was raised.
It is our family and Filipino cultural value that elders (even if only by a few months) are due their respect. So, the ugliness in me isn't a matter of disrespect. Or being impolite. I've never cussed out my parents or told them I hated them. I know where the line is drawn in the sand. But, that doesn't mean Lolopop and Lola haven't seen me at my worst.
(a relatively bad day, note: blankie and suka (puke) bowl)
I've always known: my parents love me unconditionally.
And I've always thought: if you can't be your ugly, pained, frustrated, talks-too-much, obnoxious, annoying, true self in front of the people who love you unconditionally... then where else can you get that stuff out of your system?
I've heard mothers recount their surprise at hearing over and over again how much people love their children. And they think: THIS child? You mean THIS one? The one that never stops talking? Or the one that never talks? Or the one that seems so sullen? Or the one who won't hold still?
I save the true me, however ugly some days, for those that love me. You are welcome.
The polite and pleasant, the moderated personality is for the masses.
A good example is this:
I would describe myself, and you, Babybel, as stoic.
It's probably a bit of pride, people-pleasing, and first-child personality too.
While my Mommy is the first person I call to whine and complain to about the smallest of annoyances, the tiniest of tummy aches, the slightest slight, it takes a lot for me to admit any weakness to anyone else.
I mean? Leaving my family to go to college on the other side of the country? I can TOTALLY do that. Pushing two babies out of me? NO PROBLEM! Those stomach pains I've been having over the past year? No doctor needed! That painful x-ray film they stuff in my small mouth at the dentist? That cuts my gums, gags me and makes my eyes well up with tears? Aw, don't worry about me. I'm fine.
I took Babybel to the dentist a few months ago. Knowing how you're a bit timid and uncertain in new situations, I worried it would be a disaster.
But, then I saw myself so clearly, as you sat in the dentist chair. Those same tears welling in your eyes, but eager to please these strangers with their hands in your mouth. Reaching out your hand to me to squeeze, but quietly enduring the poking and prodding.
You didn't freak out. Or have a meltdown. Or get ugly.
And just yesterday, at the doctor's office, instead of running into my arms in fear as Danjo does when the doctor enters the room, you nodded a hello to him. You let him lift you up onto the tall examining table. You trained your sight on the Strawberry Shortcake book in your lap, using all your concentration to be strong, to keep from crying, to weather the storm. You didn't say a word, but without protest, you let the doctor look in your ears and down your throat. THEN, take a throat culture, that gagged you.
Let's put it this way: at home you gag on your own spit and there is suddently a hysterical puddle of vomit for me to clean up. At home, I ask, I tell you to do something and you run away screaming. At home, the air blows past you the wrong way and you're clutching your body, throwing yourself to the floor, writhing in pain.
You are your worst.
The doctor confirmed that your three-day-100-plus-degree fever was due to a throat infection.
"Does your throat hurt?" he asked.
No, you shook your head.
"She's so stoic," I remarked.
I don't know if I was proud. For you? Or for me? For being so "well behaved"? Or sad that you couldn't or wouldn't let those tears flow? Glad that you don't misbehave in the grocery store? Or glad that you save your misbehavior for me?
Glad that you save your ugly for me?
That when it hurts, when it's painful, when it's overwhelming, when it needs to come out. When you have too much to say or too little. When you have too much energy or none. When all you can do is scream. Or when barely a whisper can escape your body.
That when you need it, I'm your ugly place.
Love you no matter what,