I see Grandma Beatrice every other Christmas. She attends with her husband when the celebration is hosted at my cousin’s house, and on the years that my own family hosts, she goes to her other children’s homes. Last year’s Christmas set off some fireworks between myself, Grandma Beatrice, and Jayne—my 21 year old cousin.
“Aww, you don’t have an official job yet? That sucks. Maybe you should try harder,” Grandma B mocked, while reaching across the couch to grab my cheeks like I was a toddler. Her chubby, wrinkly arms stretched farther and faster than I had anticipated for a woman her age and weight, and before I knew it my cheeks were between her fingers being kneaded like a loaf of bread.
“I just graduated from college a week ago. I have a verbal offer to start in February but I haven’t signed the paperwork yet,” I gritted back. I took hold of Grandma B’s wrist and removed her hand from my cheek.
I’d had enough of Grandma B’s drunken comments and bullying, and removed myself from the situation. All night, she had been ragging on my sister and I. She has always been the one to promote “cousin rivalries” between the families, and she was on the side with the losing grandchildren. I had spent the majority of my Christmas Day being harassed by her for not “officially” having a job, for having an “easy” major (I studied economics, you be the judge) which allowed me to graduate school early, being literally poked by her repeatedly to get my attention like a child would do to a parent, and plenty of other little digs designed to get a reaction out of me.
My little sister had been belittled as well. She had just been accepted into a prestigious university that Grandma B’s granddaughter had been denied at. Of course, Grandma B said the only reason she was accepted into the school was because she is half-Asian. Never mind her 4.2 GPA and excellent testing scores, she threw the race card in the mix to hamsterize her own granddaughter’s denied admission. She could not admit to her granddaughter’s stupidity and lack of work ethic, so she had to bring my little sister down. This made my father furious, and he attempted to argue with her that being Asian is actually now a detriment to admission at universities. Poor Dad never learned game though, and his logical, well-thought out arguments eventually were overpowered by Grandma B’s drunken womanese yelling and ranting.
By the time Grandma B had finished turning my cheeks a brighter shade of red than Rudolph’s nose, I had had enough of her bullshit.
I called her on it.
I looked her dead in the eye, and as silence from the other 15 people in the room enveloped around me very sternly said, “Do not touch me like that again.” I stood up, grabbed my half-empty bottle of Blue Moon, and walked into the next room to shoot some pool. Five minutes later, as I’m lining up a difficult shot, in walks my cousin Jayne, screaming:
“HOW DARE YOU SPEAK LIKE THAT TO MY GRANDMA. YOU NEED TO SHOW HER SOME RESPECT AND COURTESY.”
Slowly rising from my shooting position, I look her in the eye, smirk, and pause for a long three seconds before saying, “Really, Jayne?” The smirk sets her off into another rant of incoherent womanese between the tears streaming down her face. I look at her again, scoff, and turn back to the pool table. I have nothing more to say to someone who is going to act like a child.
Jayne stormed upstairs to her room, slamming the door amidst tears. Grandma B comes into the room and accuses me of upsetting her poor granddaughter. Of course, I was being pinned as the bad guy; the evil man who made the poor little girl cry. She’s a 21-year-old woman, for fuck’s sake. She should be capable of handling her own emotions. I told Grandma B that I did nothing wrong, and ignored both crazies for the remainder of the night.
Jayne is every bit the crazy American girl we all love here at ROK. She goes to the same university I attended and lives in the same city I do. However, her college experience has not been what mine was. Every roommate she has had has not enjoyed her company; none will live with her for more than a year, and the last three years there has been a fallout in which she won’t speak to some (or all) of her roommates. She’s suffered from a likely eating disorder. She was OCD to the extreme – washing her hands up to 10 times an hour to the point her skin turned into a dry raisin. Her acne was so bad from stress that she had to take an extreme form of medication to combat the acne, which involved bi-weekly blood tests and no alcohol whatsoever. She has never had a boyfriend and I’m fairly certain she’s somehow made it through almost four years at a Southern California party school without getting laid.
The point I’m trying to make is, she hasn’t had an easy life the last couple of years and I had always tried to be as sympathetic as I could towards her. She is family, after all. I would take her out to dinner and check up on her every couple of weeks. However, throughout all of this, no one in her own direct family has held her accountable. It’s always somebody’s fault, but never hers. There’s always a way to rationalize the blame for her own shortcomings and issues by pushing them off to another external force. Everybody always was willing to allow her, and her family to do this.
I just never really cared, too bad Jayne made the mistake of pissing me off.
Nobody ever had the balls to call Grandma B or Jayne on their shit and stand up to them. I never had a reason to. Until my sister and I were flat-out insulted, egged on, and treated with no respect. I stood up for us. I had the balls to calmly put these two “grown” American “women”, who are so used to walking all over men, in their place, by using almost no words whatsoever. How did they react? Like children throwing a temper tantrum because Santa Claus brought them the wrong doll for Christmas.
Their tantrums continue to this day, as Jayne is refusing to participate in any Christmas gatherings in which I will be present at this year. She has, in her own words, “no respect” for me, because of this situation and because I didn’t help with the dishes at Christmas last year. I’m the only one in the family who is willing to stand up and make waves, but she’s so irrational she won’t listen to me. Everybody else in the family simply goes along with it, refusing to ruffle her feathers because they fear it will send her back in a downward spiral of girl craziness. What the rest of the family fails to realize is that by allowing her to skip out on the festivities, they’re simply promoting her behavior. They’re telling her it’s okay to act irrational, throw tantrums, and be a child, because she’s being rewarded for it.
Her attitude is the perfect example of what women are continuing to become in this country. Nothing but spoiled, unapologetic children who are never held accountable.
I’m thinking for Christmas, I’ll mail Jayne a bag of cat food.
She might as well start stock piling for the future.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday, to all you readers. Thank you for all of your support.