Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rant: How could you say that? You're my mother!

Warning: This is a rant. I am sure that the contents of this post make me seem childish and petty and very disagreeable (even more so than this one). It is not anything I would ever say in person (hence the blog post). I will probably regret posting it by morning, when I realize that I'm upset over nothing. Right now I just need to get it off my chest.

I will have more Hawaii stories and photos soon, I promise! I've finally got some exciting news in the housing department!

Dear Mom,

I am writing this now because I can't fall asleep. I have been lying in bed crying for 45 minutes because of something you said to me. Most people would probably see it as such a little thing and say that I am being ridiculous to make such a big deal of it. You would probably say, "You're upset about that? I didn't really mean it--it's definitely not worth being upset about." Well, you did mean it (or else you would have taken it back without my asking directly), and obviously it is worth being upset about, because here I am.

We were coming into the house late at night. You walked into the dark house and started to take off your shoes while I turned around to face back out toward the lighted garage and lock the screen door. I locked the door, the garage light turned off, I turned around and bumped into you.

"You can't see me?"
"Now I can."
"It's your light-colored eyes."

I know my eyes are lighter than yours--you've got dark brown Chinese eyes, and I've got a medium hazel hybrid because Dad has blue eyes. I know you read a newspaper article or something about 15 years ago that you believe said that people with dark eyes see better in the dark than people with light-colored eyes. I know you read this article because I've heard you cite it in conversation countless times when telling your delightful story of how your blue-eyed friend was more scared in Space Mountain than you were, and it must have been because with her useless blue eyes she couldn't see where the track was going, while with your super-duper dark brown eyes, you could see the track perfectly. (Really, how have you managed to find so many situations where this is a relevant story to bring up?) But given the situation we were in, it is utterly ridiculous and frankly quite offensive that you immediately concluded that I crashed into you because I have light-colored eyes.

Immediately after I bumped into you, my eyes adjusted and I was able to see you--hence my reply "Now I can." So by the time you made your "light-eyed" quip, it had already been rendered irrelevant. But what's more, my bumping into you can be explained perfectly not by questionable eye color generalizations but by the setup of the scenario: I had just been facing the lighted garage, while you had been facing the darkness of the house, so it makes sense that your eyes were adjusted to the darkness and mine were not. Furthermore, given our placement, I was outlined against the moonlight coming in from the screen door, whereas you were hidden in my shadow. Makes perfect sense. End of story.

Not only was your comment irrelevant given the situation, it was also completely lacking factual backing. First of all, I have decidedly medium eyes. They are mostly brown, and only careful examination shows they are vaguely hazel. They are lighter than yours, true, but they are not blue, green, gray, or even light brown. Second, and perhaps more importantly, your "light-colored eyes see in the dark less well than dark-colored eyes" factoid is questionable. I have never heard anyone other than you site that random article you read 15 years ago (do you even remember where you read it?). Google-searching has given me some suggestion that people with light-colored eyes have more trouble seeing in high glare situations, but this is not exactly what you were going for. Glare had nothing to do with our scenario.

If your conclusion that I bumped into you because of light-colored eyes is questionably false as well as irrelevant, what am I left to conclude? Why were you so quick to offer that ridiculous explanation? As your daughter, I have observed that you are very quick to bring up little things that make you sound superior ("I only had two wisdom teeth--I must be more highly evolved!"; "Everyone talks about brain freeze, but I've never had it--what is it about me that makes me immune?"). But this is an especially pernicious example. You were reaching a rash conclusion based on weak background knowledge with little evidence that revealed that you believe a characteristic of your Chinese heritage gives you an advantage over me with my mixed heritage. Hmm, what do they call that....?

Oh right: racism. Yes. It may be mild and veiled racism, but it's still a form of racism. As an Avenue Q fan, I'm all for the idea that "Everyone's a little bit racist." But if there is one person in the world who you should be able to rely on not to be racist against you, it's your mother. How can a mother harbor racist feelings against her own daughter? How wrong is that? Too bad you didn't read that article 25 years ago--then you would have known better than to mix your dark-eye genes with inferior light-eye genes!

That is why I am furious. That is why I've been lying in bed crying for the last 45 minutes. How could you say something so utterly stupid?

Really, I'm not furious just because of what you said. I am at this point also furious because I've lost 45 minutes of sleep seething about what you said (and the dismissive way you reacted when I replied "No, it's because I was facing the light in the garage"). I am crying because I know that in the morning, I will not confront you about this. I will not tell you how much you hurt me. What would it gain? It might make you feel bad, but it would more likely make you think I'm being silly. And anyway, I don't do confrontation. I don't know how to get in a fight with anyone in person. I don't feel comfortable saying anything that might offend someone or put them in a bad light--it just feels mean. And so tomorrow morning I will just let it slide. Forgive and forget. Even though you don't deserve it.

Hope you're sleeping peacefully,
Your daughter


Anonymous said...

I love my mom, but there isn't a person on this planet capable of pissing me off more than she does. Funny how that works out.

Anonymous said...


Hilarious blog title

Eleni said...

You're so right. Maybe it's because we love them so much that they are able to drive us so crazy. *Sigh.*

I feel somewhat better about it this morning. I think it's just that I've heard my mom make the comment about light-eyed people not seeing in the dark before, but it's always been directed at other people, specifically people who have blue eyes, never at me. I guess I tend to assume that I'm in my mother's camp--that she considers me one of her own. It's very strange to suddenly realize that she considers me an outsider, even if it's just in a small way.

P.S. Thanks :-)

Hezabelle said...

I have blue eyes and I see great in the dark!

Mother's have this ability to say the worst things...