I thought I was ready to talk about my paternal grandfather but then as I continued to read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I realized that the anxious rabbit highlights a part of me that I hate. It’s a behavior that I learned from my mother but then intensified when I was living with my grandparents. So what exactly is the problem? You see, he, being my grandfather, is a very punctual person and expects everyone else to be punctual. The moment that you are late, even if it is by one minute, you have officially disrespected him. The family as always indulged him in this being early whether it’s five to ten minutes. But truthfully, it’s a horrible way of living.
My first memory of just how “disrespected” my grandfather was, was when I was 9 years old living in Mexico. My mother was traveling to Mexico with my younger sister, who had heart problems, to see me make my first communion. I remember waiting for them at the airport and they were roughly 45 mins late. My grandfather paced through-out the lounge. When we finally saw my mother and sister, my grandfather just pointed at his watch and said you are late. Then continued to scold my mother in airport, on the way to the car, on the way home, a three-hour car ride. Sadly, I agreed with my grandfather. How dare she be late! Does she not respect us enough for being there on time? Is our time not worthy? These are still thoughts and questions I have when someone is late.
Frankly, my grandfather was in the wrong. He had not accounted for the time it takes for the plane to get through the runway and attach to the airport. He had not accounted for the fact that my mother had only two arms and one was holding my sister; the other arm had to get the luggage, the oxygen tanks that my sister needed, and the stroller. He hadn’t thought about the needs of a struggling poor mother coming from another country to see her daughter. He only thought of himself, of time, and being disrespected.
I have only recently discovered the way his ideals became my ideals and how in turn it has affected my relationships with people. I have a hard time distinguishing when the anxiety is a realistic emotion to feel. For example, I used to date this guy named Kevin. He has always been laid back often causing me grief because arriving on time, to anything, has never been his strong suit. I still believe that Kevin did not think my time worthy.
But in other ways I have taken it to the extreme. I “prefer” to arrive to places at the time that I want to arrive. I won’t consider another person’s opinion on the matter. I can’t see past my agenda. My day will either be a good day or a bad day depending if I arrive or do things in a timely fashion. And again, by timely fashion I mean, timely, according to me. When things do not go my way, I get sick, physically sick, or I dwell on the “time” problem to the point that it can ruin my entire day. In turn, I ruin other people’s day.
Both types of being “late” cause me anxiety. I stress out and eventually get sick e.g. headache and vomiting. I cannot control if people will arrive on time or be late. Yet, I believe I can “control” or essentially work though the second. Do I really need to arrive at 9AM? What’s the worst that will happen if I arrive at 9:15? Does 15 minutes really cause the world to collapse? Or is it just in my head? Do I really need to study for just 3 hours? What will happen if I do 2 or how about 4?