This will be a WALL of text and word vomit. Been re-evaluating relationships with family, family friends, and our South Asian Muslim community.
Let’s start with my sister… well, the oldest one. The other one is fine. I don’t really have a good relationship with her. When she talks to me it sounds like it’s a chore for her. Her tone is so nasty and condescending. She also always criticizes everything about everyone constantly and somehow knows what’s best for everyone no matter the situation or conversation. Recently she asked me and my sister to help her assemble a TV stand for her apartment. We did it while she just sat there watching. She didn’t even feed us lunch. I also noted in her apartment she has lots of pictures… of her friends, our parents, sister, cousins, relatives and their kids… Not a single picture of me. When I have told her in the past about how she treats me she either criticizes me or throws a self-pity party. If I try to converse with her, I always get one-word answers. How’s work? OK. Anything new? Nothing. Do you wanna get ice cream? No. So there’s nothing there. She treats my parents and sister poorly as well but somehow they give her a pass and tolerate her tantrums. People outside the family have noticed and asked me “Why does she treat you like shit?” I haven’t talked to her in almost 2 weeks.
What also bothers me is how people only reach out to me if they need something. Otherwise I do not exist. There are lots of family members and family friends that I considered very close to – we were brought up together and taught early on to treat each other like siblings. Some of these people are around my age (mid-late 20s/early 30s). Some are teenagers or in college. I noted the past couple years I feel more and more distant with all of them. I would always call or text or make plans with these people. During the past few months, I haven’t seen them much due to COVID but I tried to keep in touch with them. If I don’t reach out, they never will unless they need something.
It doesn’t matter that I help assemble their furniture, or come early for family parties/gatherings to help setup while their own kids sit in their rooms on their phones or watching NetFlix, or help them when they need my truck to buy some large item, or visit their sick grandmother, or drive their kids and their friends around for their practices, or help their kids with their homework.
5 years ago my aunt and uncle moved. I was there every day for a week helping them, told my uncle what TVs to buy, prevented him from getting $100 HDMI cables, etc. We moved around a month ago and they didn’t even ask “hey how’s the move coming along?” My parents are still salty about this. It just makes us feel taken for granted.
I haven’t reached out to any of these people in months and none of them have reached out except one to discuss his fantasy football league. Just makes me wonder maybe for years I overvalued my relationships with these people. And what bothers me is I know through social media and from my sisters they all hang out with each other and talk almost daily. My sister tells me not to worry about them cause what do I have to do anyways… but at the same time she talks to them all the time. Yet me, the one who always called or checked on them, I don’t exist until I am needed. Maybe cause I don’t drink or go to bars or clubbing I’m too boring for them. Yet they hide that side of their lives from me even though I know what they’re up to cause they tell my sisters everything and through Instagram.
And as for the community, it’s all fake-nice bullshit. No one trusts each other and too many self-absorbed people. Too many social climbers. Too much gossip that ends up being used against each other. Family gatherings are once or twice a year where everyone ends up just talking to the people they talk to anyways and it looks segregated. And then there’s the fact I know several families that try to raise their kids to be good Muslims yet at religious gatherings and celebrations they drink alcohol… secretly, in their garage so their kids and parents do not know. These people are in their 40s and act like high school kids. But what bothers me the most is how sacrilegious it is to do these things DURING religious celebrations when your religion strictly forbids alcohol (anything that alters your line of thinking and/or judgment is forbidden except for medical purposes). How do you teach your kids to be good Muslims and send them to Sunday school (pretty much the same thing as church Sunday school) and then do this? Do you think they’re dumb and naïve? They notice. My parents notice. Everyone does. I wouldn’t even care if they didn’t do the whole “look, we’re a Muslim family!” spiel.
So here I am the past few months trying to figure out how to proceed. I don’t want to go to any more mosque events in the future (when it is safe to do so). I don’t even want to see any of these people right now. If I reach out to them most of the time they don’t even respond. I’ve avoided some gatherings on purpose and did not take off work for Eid a few weeks ago so I don’t have to participate in some fake family event where no one really cares. If I tell my sister or some of these people or even the one or two I really trust about this, they will blab to everyone else and my parents. They won’t listen and instead everyone just dishes out meaningless advice because they automatically know what’s best for everyone else instead of actually listening to others.
“But this is a hard and weird time for everyone!”
I get it. I truly do. But that does not mean people are exempt from reaching out to others. Or are they so self-involved in their own worlds that they forget about those who care? It just hurts and makes you think you overvalued your relationships with them for many years and feels like you do not get appreciated at all. All I ask is for reciprocity and consistency. You can’t farm barren soil.
On the plus side, I have been reunited with a high school friend and gotten closer to a couple other friends so that is really nice and I appreciate them a lot. Also, do NOT worry about me. I’ll be okay. I’ll always be okay. Honestly, I wanted to ramble.