I've been sitting on a piece of writing that's been simmering ever since I came out to NY with my dad to visit my sister just this June. I was sacrificing my asana practice in order to spend time with family. (Promise, Deva, the full article is coming! My good friend Deva first encouraged me to write about the idea of family yoga).
And now, I'm back in NY. This time with my mother to visit with my sister. Just as precious. Just as crazy as the time with my dad.
Its been over 3 years since the three of us were together. I expect its going to be beautiful, mad, enlightening, troubling, insane, lovely and all sorts of crazy because that's what family does to a person. They know you better than anyone and at the same time don't know you at all! And that's going to bring up stuff.
Anyhow, we arrived last night. Its going to be...great, really, but interesting. And definitely funny.
We were hanging out on Audrey's couch. The three of us sitting there when my mother turns to me, as if she's seen me for the first time--although I've been staying with her for the last two weeks in Los Angeles.
Mom: Karen, you are so dark!My sister Audrey and I look at her puzzled, her face is filled with something of a cross between surprise and shock. She recoils a little, perhaps with a tad of repulsion. She's got an unhealthy fear of aging and is constantly in hiding from the sun, which in fairness has worked out for her because she looks incredibly young for her age.
Its always bothered her that I like the beach, loved surfing and then chose to live on an island resort town for the last 5 years. Light skin is generally favored in the Philippines as a sign of beauty and economic prosperity (don't see any fair girls working the fields!). I feel like I've done a fair amount of work to get beyond such inane social norms and to feel confident about my own earthy complexion.
Mom: Your face is as dark as your body!
Me: I hope so!
Mom: Why did you let yourself do that?!
She walks away, her question more of a statement. My sister and I bust out laughing. My mother's hilarious, if not somewhat offensive. Most of the time she's lovely, really. Stuff like this, however, doesn't bother me. Other things, well...But this, I know is part of the package, part of the crazy stuff we have to endure, nay embrace, because we love our family, even if they press our buttons.