A blog by Sara Sandoval.
I am a firm believer in gender equality and joined the Chaffey College Feminist club, eventually becoming vice president. During the term of my reign, CCFem worked and fund raised to bring one of the Guerrilla Girls to speak at the college, promoting it for over a year. When the day finally came, I was ecstatic, fidgety and so excited to be able to see a Guerrilla Girl in person and hear her talk about sexism in the world, social inequality and just overall feminism.
As I said, I’m a firm believer in feminism, I believe that men and women are equal to each to her in terms of intelligence, social and political standing. Unfortunately, my parents, being from a different era, do not see a point to feminism. They look down on feminism. They feel that it is an irrelevant concept or cause to which I have no point belonging.
With that said, my mother would freak out if she knew I was planning on missing my first Spanish quiz to attend the Guerrilla Girls lecture but because I am a fantastic student, I talked to my teacher ahead of time and was able to make up the quiz.
I had thought of everything, made sure homework was done ahead of time. There was no reason I could not go and enjoy myself.
However, life doesn’t always work that way.
The event started at 7 pm. I was there half an hour early to get a good seat. While I was there, I was in my own feminist heaven. It was going to be awesome hearing someone who had such a big impact in my feminist world, to see and hear her talk about what she and other Guerrilla Girls do to make people understand feminism and the importance of it.
Toward the end of the lecture, with 10 to 15 min left, I received a text message from younger brother, informing me that my mom was at the hospital and he needed to be picked up. I texted back immediately to get details: where was she, why she was there in the first place, could she wait just 10 more minutes?
I felt incredibly guilty for just asking but if it had been any other night, I would have dropped everything, jumped in my car to wherever she needed me. But I just couldn’t, because I kept thinking of the countless hours fundraising and setting up events, doing whatever I could to help raise money to bring the Guerrilla Girls from New York to Chaffey. And I couldn’t bring myself to just get up in the last 10 minutes of it. I thought I was a horrible daughter and I kept picturing my mom on a hospital bed barely awake and my brother not knowing what to do and crying. Yet I still couldn’t move.
So I kept texting him back and forth and I waited until it finished but the second I heard the crowd’s applause, I jumped up and took off running. I hustled to my car, started driving, even though I didn’t know where I was going, called my mom again and she answered this time. She told me my brother was not with her and that he was home alone and that I should go home just to stay with him. Even though he is 15 years old.
At my house, if you’re 15, you can do the dishes, you can clean the bathroom, you can take out the trash and you can most certainly stay home alone at night, which I have done since I was 12. My brother is a good 3 years late.
So when my mom told me to go and stay with him, I got really upset and I may have scolded her. I asked her how she was getting home and she said that my father was already on his way to the hospital. My father has been on disability from a stroke and even though he can drive, he is afraid of accidents. I told mom, angrily, that this was the most awful idea I had ever heard, it didn’t make sense to have someone with terrible eyes, on disability, is afraid to drive on the road, drive another sick person who can’t see at night. It made no sense.
I kept telling her this and I kept telling her that I was missing my quiz and that since I had already left school, I should take her home. She told me that she needed a driver in order to get her pain medication, so I told her again that I would go get her and she said no, go back to class.
When I was on the phone with her, her voice was extremely shaky, it sounded like she had been crying for hours. My mom is one of the strongest women I know; I rarely see her cry. She also has a high tolerance for pain. But here she was in her weak voice, telling me just to go back to class or to my brother who is grown. I was frustrated, infuriated. I started crying, didn’t know what to do.
I went home. My little brother had not been crying. He didn’t seem upset, greeted me, “Hey Sara.” I asked him what the problem was because he was just doing his homework. I asked him where dad was and he said our neighbor had given him a ride to the hospital and that he was going to drive home. I thought again, that’s a stupid idea, and I may have started to yell at him because I was upset that no one was listening to reason and logic.
I asked him if the doctors knew what was wrong with mom and he told me that it was a really bad urinary tract infection. Then I started cursing, “Are you bleeping kidding me? I rushed home, worrying, left my Spanish quiz, (because when you’re lying you have to keep your story straight,) for a curable infection?”
Then I ran back downstairs, slammed the door but I locked it because I’m not irresponsible and still care about my brother’s safety, got into my car, called (more like yelling) my best friend and asked her if I could come over.
She told me yes. I went to her house, told her everything, she offered me alcohol. I started crying and cursing some more because I couldn’t drink if I had to drive home. Then I got four consecutive text messages from my mother telling me to get my ass home to my little brother, who is grown, and I told her, no, because she had me worrying to the point of tears for something curable. And that I was too upset to drive. Then she eloquently informed me that I am a selfish daughter and she asked me if I even care and I told her how dare you, that she had no idea what I was about to sacrifice just to make sure she was okay. She texted, “Noah’s alone, go home now, oh my god, don’t you care?” And I said “No, I’m not leaving, I dropped everything and you have a curable UTI. Aren’t you in pain? How do you even have the energy to text me multiple times, with long elaborate messages, properly formulated sentences and still have the energy to yell at me? I am still upset and when I am calm and ready to drive, I will come home.”
Then I got two more texts, telling me to get my ass home. Followed by three missed calls. My friend again offered Smirnoff in a to go cup and said, drink it when you get home. But I said no thanks, sucked it up and drove home sober, unfortunately. Once I got home, the house was dark, my brother was in him room, watching tv on his iPad and I went upstairs, changed into pajamas, tried to read my literature book, because I still had homework. I thought fuck it all, then cried and went to sleep.
The next morning, I woke with puffy quasimodo eyes, stuffed nose, and turned my light on started to look for my chaffy shirt to go to work. When I was dressed, dad walked into my room and without saying anything, put his arms around me , kissed my forehead held me for a minute then walked out my door. I was so pissed off. I kept thinking about the situation and all the emotions I had gone through and how they receded with my dad’s one hug. I wanted to stay mad but I couldn’t.
I found my shoes and I went to work. I’m still bitter about it, I should have been able to stay mad for at least 29 hours.