All posts from the “My Secret” series are anonymous and can be submitted here: bit.ly/1Kep0sf)
Over 20 years ago you picked up a bottle that you have yet to put down.
I have vague memories of watching Mickey Mouse while trying to drown out the background sounds of you and Amala arguing. Memories of driving from bar to bar to see which one you were stumbling around in. Memories of Amala taking me and my sister for car rides just to distance ourselves from your lost gaze and careless words.
25 years ago you received a burden that has yet to be alleviated. From 18 years of age to now, you pray everyday while you silently endure, a process that slowly breaks even the most devoted of people.
They call you Lama when you’re outside, bow their heads, give you their best wishes. They greet Amala, the wife of a great Lama.
You go to work everyday, cook food everyday, clean everyday, and then you call me make sure I’m doing well, tell me that you are also doing well.
But 25 years into your marriage and you’ve only normalized pain. Pala said he is the man of the house, so you work tirelessly so that I may live the life of a man instead of assuming the heavy burdens we call “duties” of a women. You tell me to pray for a male rebirth and I cannot tell you no, cannot say this life you live is worth it Amala, when you’ve never even been afforded to call this life you live your own.
You’ve given your life away for me to gain education and opportunities, so I tell myself that I will work hard for you and the pain you suppress everyday. However as I get closer to “success”, I realize that I’m no closer to alleviating this burden you carry.
I don’t have the words in Tibetan to tell you that I am angry, scared, disappointed. I don’t have the words to say that whether you think you have an addiction or not, the pain you silently cause Amala and our family is unquestionable. I don’t have the words to say that this seems like a scary pattern among men in our community. I don’t have the words to say that you came to this country with nothing, worked endlessly to provide our family comfort and luxury, but while I hope to become as hardworking and visionary as you, I do not hope to become like you.
You’ve always been the hardest on me for not speaking Tibetan enough, and now as I hopelessly think about everything I wish I could say to you, the only thing I actually know how to say is that you were right about that.
For more information on alcoholism/addiction resources for Tibetans, click here.
Any additional support and recovery efforts for Tibetans are welcome.