Monday, June 2, 2014

Metaphors Taken Literally

My best friend is going through a rough time. She was finally able to get out of Arizona with her child and is creating the ideal life for herself in Colorado. Still, the way her family was reacting to her trying to better herself brings back unpleasant memories for myself. My best friend was depressed, so she went to therapy. That's healthy. She got better.
My brother and I are the only ones who went to therapy when my mom died, and I kept going when all the other shit went down in my life. Still, the stigma is terrible in that culture. Because my brother and I were the only two in the family to be proactive and seek help, we are crazy, right?  Soooo fucking crazy. Just because no one else went, it doesn't mean they wouldn't have benefited. Still though, in that particular culture, if you go to therapy or counseling for any reason (even bereavement counseling) you are crazy to them. They ostrazise you.
Incidentally, this is what also happened to my friend. Her family (also Mexican) found out she went to a couple of therapy sessions, so they ganged up on her because they think she's crazy. The fact that she sought help means she shouldn't have her child, according to her family.
Unfortunately these people (her Mexican family) are the same type of people I had to deal with as well. There is a fucked up cultural barrier there. I'm not being racist when I say this, and I wish it wasn't true, but my family in Mexico has no idea who I am, how Americans live, or why we say the things we say or believe the things we believe. They will take anything you say and attach their own meaning to it, or twist your words. You could say something as innocuous as "the pot called the kettle black", and they'll turn around and tell everyone "oh my god, she honestly believes pots can talk. She must be schizophrenic or something! "
It's a God damn figure of speech. God forbid you use any metaphors on social media or around these kinds of people. They don't have the mental capacity to understand metaphors. They take everything people say literally. Zero critical thinking skills. People at my work will say " I'm a beast!" When they sell a car. If my best friend or I said that around any of our family members,  those family members would turn around and say "SHE THINKS SHE IS A BEAST! INSTITUTIONALIZE HER ASAP!"
They probably can't even connect the dots between examples either. To make this easier to understand, I said "I'm a fucking princess!" to someone who I thought was a friend, and who I (wrongly) assumed would know what I meant. Imagine my surprise when  weeks later my family intervened and informed me that I thought I was (really) a princess. The fuck?  No. People abroad were so kind to me and I wasn't used to it. They were making me (and all the other girls) feel like princesses with their hospitality. I use metaphors and hyperboles quite liberally in conversation.
Anyways, sorry this turned into a mini rant. When there are very real cultural and language barriers between you and your family, shit gets really uncomfortable really quickly. I was shocked when this happened to my bestie. It also made me realize that maybe this type of behavior is way more common than I thought. It's not right, and maybe by talking about it other people won't have to feel so alone. Just remember no one knows what is best for you except yourself, and you shouldn't let others persuade you to do what they would do. Maybe they have a solution that WOULD be better for them, but they don't know what goes on inside your mind and what makes you happy. Only you do.
I love you Ann and I'm so proud of you for creating a better reality for yourself and your adorable babeh. ♡♡♡

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