She Says It’s Different

My mother and I had very different upbringings. She had shoddy parents that beat the shit out of each other and terrorized the kids, and I had a very busy single parent that never raised a hand to me, but tried really hard to make my childhood very happy. She had two siblings, and for most of my life I was an only child. She grew up with lots of cousins and family get-togethers, and I’ve been to one family reunion since we left Florida when I was 6. She grew up in a small southern town, and I grew up in middle class suburbia. These differences made us two very distinctly different people, but the biggest difference between my mother and I is our views on family.

Having grown up with lots of family around all the time and playing with cousins and stuff, she really values family. We once got in a fight because she wanted to move back to Pensacola, and I told her that she absolutely could. She got mad at me for not wanting to go back with her, and yelled at me about how I have family there and that when she dies I might want them. I had to tell her that I don’t care. I had to tell her how I’ve already reconciled that at some point I’m going to be alone in the world, and that I’m actually fine with that. She cried. She doesn’t like how distant I always am.

She talks to our family. I do not. One thing that she keeps bringing up is that she never sees my cousin’s brother or sister in law comment on my cousin’s facebook and how she hopes they didn’t have a falling out, even though the sister in law is the definition of a holier-than-thou Southern Christian who can’t keep her mouth shut. “It would be unfortunate for them to have a falling out, seeing as they’re brother and sister.” My mother was very close to her brother. Less to her sister, but she tried like hell to be.

Another thing she comments on a lot is how when my grandmother was young, something happened where her brother’s wife did something to get my grat-aunt fired, and so my mom’s grandmother decided that the family wasn’t going to speak to the brother anymore. And that’s what happened. It’s regrettable. It was stupid. When my great-grandmother found out her husband was sneaking off to see him, she threw my great-grandfather out of the house. She still fed him… he just lived in the basement, now. This is important because at some point my grandmother tried that on my mother, and forbade her to speak to my grandfather again. My mother said no, and asked my grandmother who she thought she was to demand such a thing. At which point my grandmother realized she could have talked to her brother if she’d just had a backbone… and it was a whole thing. My mother doesn’t support not talking to family for any reason. You need your family. You forgive your family, and even if they’re wrong, you work around it and love them just the same.

So then there’s me. I haven’t spoken to my dad or sisters in a number of years. I didn’t mean to stop talking to my sisters, but when I stopped talking to dad they took it personally. It wasn’t a great loss, to be honest. We were never close, but fortunately they’re close to each other. I didn’t make a big thing out of it, but I had to do what was right for me and my mental health. I never managed to reconcile how I feel about my dad, so when he disappointed me, I never knew if I hated him or just felt sad or what. All I knew is that interacting with him always seemed to hurt, and if we weren’t going to try and work that out, or better put: if I wasn’t going to tell him that we needed to work it out, then I had to do something to save myself. It’s not right to hurt. So, I stopped talking to him… and when my half-sister eloped and asked me to her party at dad’s and I declined, she asked me why I acted like I wasn’t part of the family.

What my sister never understood, and I could never expect her to understand, is that I never like part of the family. It’s not her fault, and I never blamed her for any of it. It wasn’t her fault that no one explained to her who I was as a kid, so it took her a good year to really grasp that we shared a dad. She’s always call him HER dad, and I used to correct her, but gave up pretty quick. It’s not her fault that she’s unfamiliar with the emotions that come with a broken home, because her parents are still together. I’m glad they are. It’s not her fault that she doesn’t get it… or that she was raised by my dad and turned out like kids raised by an alcoholic stoner turn out. She’s not a bad person, as far as I know, and I only wish good things for her.

My stepsister is a different thing all together. She’s the middle of 7 kids her dad had. Her dad was a real asshole, as far as I remember, and she was happy to have my dad around for the most part. Things weren’t all roses between them, and at one point I know she wanted him to adopt her and he never did… but for the most part she ended up with a better dad than she had, if you asked her about it. She never really commented on the whole thing about me and dad. I dunno what she thinks, but she never said anything about it. I appreciated that. I dunno if it was because she understood how I kind of felt or if she just didn’t want to get in the middle of it. I dunno if she’s said things about me to the family, but she never started shit, and that’s good enough, I guess.

Anyways… I also don’t talk to mom’s family. It’s not malicious, I just don’t know them that well and I’m a distant kinda person. Even now, it’s a strain to try and be close with my mother, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings, seeing as she’s the only family member I devoted time to.

So, there’s me, listening to her talk about family, and knowing that I’m everything she doesn’t agree with family doing to each other. Life’s too short to be mad, she says, but when I tell her I’m sorry that I do these things, she says it’s different for me…

Yes, I think, it’s very different. It’s different because you don’t want me to feel bad about the choices I’ve made. You don’t want me to feel like I’m someone you take issue with, because at the end of the day I’m your only family, too.

I’ve asked how it’s different, and she throws out things like me not growing up with my sisters, or how dad should have tried harder, because he’s the parent. Those things aren’t an issue with the rest of the family, though. If you had bad parents, you try and love them anyways. That’s what she did. That’s what she expected the family to do. But not me. If your siblings weren’t great, you did the same. Her sister as white trash mooch as it gets, but mom loves her and tries not to be mad at her just the same. But not me… I’m somehow exempt from the universal laws of how family works.

The vegans often talk about cognitive dissonance when it comes to animal loving people eating meat. People like me couldn’t kill a cow, but we’ll eat one if you package it up for us. This is a lot like that. Mom has a set of beliefs she feels really strongly about, but I create a cognitive dissonance. She doesn’t like how I’ve gone about things, but something won’t let her hold me responsible for my decisions. Somehow it’s everyone else’s fault.

But it’s not.

I don’t regret cutting off the family. I’m not good at family. I’m not good at loving people I barely like. I’m not good at compartmentalizing when I feel slighted just because it’s family and as my mother always says, “if family can’t tell you something, who can?” No one, I feel like… if all you have to say is something shitty, you shouldn’t say that to your family or anyone else. I’m not good at watching people seek my approval for decisions that I completely disagree with. I’m not good at playing house.

I’ll be okay. I’m always okay alone. It’s only other people that make life hard.

Still, every time she says something, I feel like it’s a jab at me. I guess I always will, because I know some part of her really wants me to be different… but I won’t be. Not for her. Not for anyone.

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The Ballad of Baby Vader

ballad

I’m not actually good at ballads. Let me just tell you what happened.

So, I knew my little sister was pregnant. She still is. Nothing has happened to her or the baby. I’m glad for her, even though I am estranged from my family. She deserves to be happy. I really mean that. Still, I was waiting to see what she named the new baby boy…

It’s not my fault that I derive amusement from the fact that she named her first son Moon. Moon Sosuke…. Yes, I find that hilarious since my family is Latino, not Japanese. It’s still very sad that we lost Moon to SIDS, but I will never get over that name…

So it was with bated breath and heavy anticipation that I was waiting to see what she named the new baby.

Well… unbeknownst to me, BOTH my sisters were pregnant. So… some weirdness was coming. 

On December 13th, my sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy that she proceeded to name Anakin.

WHAT IS WITH THESE NAMES?!

Still can’t wait to see what my step sister names her new baby boy. Lol. (Avi. She named her baby boy Avi.)

It’s not all happiness, though. I wish I could smile at them while congratulating them. I wish I could make fun of their baby names and groan about outfits they’ll cram these kids into. I wish they were better family.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re great family for each other. They’re not bad people… they just aren’t great family to me. It’s better for my own mental health to stay away from them, especially dad. The few and far between pangs of sadness I feel when I spy on them is so much less than the deep and scarring ache I used to feel in my chest when dad would cancel plans over and over and over again, or when holidays would come and it was apparent that no one knew what I liked or understood why I didn’t want to drive across town at midnight for Christmas Eve after working 12 hours with the possibility of having to work Christmas day, or the silence.

The silence killed me most. I tried to be a good sister. I tried to be a good daughter. I don’t think I was bad at either of those, but their idea of a family and the idea I grew up with were so vast that it just felt that way. Dad didn’t know what I needed in a parent. It took my little sister years to figure out that I was even related to her, and my step sister, being the middle of seven step sisters and brothers, didn’t really pay me any mind. As a result, I didn’t hear from them much, even when I tried to talk to them first. My sisters didn’t seem to like me having their numbers, or the idea of me buying them lunch just to chat or see each other… so I stopped trying. Dad got to the point he only called or texted on birthdays, but after he asked if I was old enough to drink when I was 23, I never really cared for those messages… He’d lost track of me.

Sometimes it’s better to do something really hard once than to have to do something moderately hard over and over and over again.

14,716,800 Minutes

Halloween was my birthday.
I am 28.

I’m always sad that getting older is subtle and less like leveling up in a video game… I experienced no change in appearance, no improved skills, and no increase in HP. No, my birthday just brings what it has brought since I turned 25… which is a mild break down and general crisis.

It’s a strange thing, this birthday crisis. It’s atypical behavior for me. You see, I am not in the habit of comparing my life those of others, simply because while I don’t know what I want, I always know what I DO NOT want. I do not want to get married. I do not want to have kids, unless I decide to adopt later in life. I do not want to go back to college again. Knowing these things, it strikes me odd that I would be so moved as to have a crisis over these things that I don’t really want to start with… but that’s what happened.

So it’s Sunday the 30th, and I’m at the grocery with the Mothership, and we’re checking out. I got done first and I was looking at this display. I hate the fact that Christmas stuff starts showing up the day after Halloween… assuming they wait THAT long, but there was a display with three old Christmas movies on it.

holiday

They’re pretty old movies… and I mean ACTUALLY old… Not “90s kids” old, but made in the 60s old. Still, as a 90s kid, I did grow up watching them, just like the generations before me. They’re good Christmas movies. I always had a weird affection for claymation, to be honest.

Anyways, I’m standing there staring at this display, remembering how much I enjoyed these movies and out of nowhere my ovaries go:
YOU SHOULD BUY THESE TO SHOW YOUR KIDS! OH WAIT! YOU DON’T HAVE ANY FUCKING KIDS! AND YOU’RE NOT MARRIED, SO YOU PROBABLY WON’T EVER HAVE ANY KIDS TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD STUFF WITH!”
My ovaries are still not on board with the not-wanting-to-have-kids thing… they are also real fucking mean since I don’t let them even TRY to setup house for a baby anymore. (I love my birth control so much.)

I dunno why, but that really hurt. I started tearing up. I held it in until we got home, and then I started crying in the car. My mom assured me that I have time to change my mind if I want to, seeing as how she didn’t have me until she was 34. I know that I have time and that things can change, but like… I dunno. This is just what I do on my birthday… I look at my life until I hate it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not HAPPY with my life. There’s a lot of stuff I need to fix, but I’m working on it, however slowly I get things fixed. Even if I wasn’t trying to fix things, though… like… it’s not a BAD life. I’m moderately content. Mostly I just wish I hadn’t taken on the responsibility for 5 animals (never going over 3 again), but I love those animals and I am happy to have them, even if they are a little daunting as a responsibility. I just know, now, that this isn’t ideally what I wanted. (I was very lonely… I tried to fill that loneliness with pets… it worked, but I overdid it….)

It’s Nov 2nd and I’m better now. I still don’t want kids. I’m still not real interested in marriage. Still don’t wanna go back to college again. I still feel a weird little pang of regret that I don’t have anyone to share classic 60s claymation holiday films with… but I’m sure I’ll get over it.

I’m still not happy that I’m 28.

I mean, I don’t want to stay a kid forever or anything, but like… no one wants to get older… you get older and you’re closer to death, no matter how young you are.

Anyways…

Feliz Dia de los Muertos.

muertos-3

In the indigenous, aboriginal perspective on death, both life and death are mere aspects of a common duality or eternal cycle, as denoted in the following Native American poem from North America:

Untitled
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there, I did not die.

What is Death?
What is death? It is the glass of life broken into a
thousand pieces, where the soul disperses like
perfume from a flask, into the silence of the eternal night.

Unknown Author

Through the Eyes of the Soul, Day of the Dead in Mexico
Unique Life
Be as happy as you can, oh king Tecayehyatzin
You who appreciates the jewels that flourish!
Will we live again?

Your heart knows this:
We only live once!
Vida única
¡Alégrate en extremo, oh rey Tecayehuatzin,
valuador de joyas florecientes!

¿Acaso una vez más vendremos a vivir?
Tu corazón lo sabe así:
¡Sólo una vez venimos a la vida!

Xayacamachan 1510 A.D.

Briefly: All The Drama

It’s been a hectic time, recently.
Let’s see if I can pull some quick recaps.

Chris the Boomerang stood me up on that Friday. He said he fell asleep when I finally heard from him, but I’d been waiting for like… 2 hours… maybe a little more. I wasn’t going to wait that long, but I was excited and I loved where we were going. It’s the only time in my whole life that I’ve been stood up. It wasn’t a good feeling. I called the bestie in Cali and cried at him on the way to go meet up with my friends. He’s oddly reliable for someone that’s completely out of state and detached from the whole state. I’m very lucky to have him in my life. I didn’t tell Chris to fuck off… instead I told him that I wasn’t mad, but that if he ever stood me up again I’d find him and that it wouldn’t be pretty. He said that was a creepy thing to say. I told him I was creepy, and I haven’t heard from him, since. I like that ending, because I’d rather be crazy than hurt.

Following up on Cali Bestie, the epic guy that moved away and went to law school and was wallowing in sadness over not being able to find a job, he’s got a job! He’s still not quite happy, because he can’t move out of the house he’s in, where he has two roommates and a boyfriend… but things are looking up. I think he’ll feel better just having a job to think about. Money will come. He lives his whole life wanting to be his other best friend, and I live mine wanting to be him. We’re such a pair.

Speaking of money…
Okay, so in 2002 my grandfather died. He had a wife, and she and her kids kinda picked the carcass clean, as far as things that were his that should be given to his blood-related family. It was a big mess, and Mom stopped talking to them, and it’s been a big horrible thing as the family slowly deteriorated and fell apart like a sweater eaten by moths. But, a few month back, the wife died. I liked her well enough. She was never bad to me, or anything, so it was a little sad, but now we’re getting down to the will. My aunt’s inheritance is larger than my mother’s, which is last jab at my mom for detaching from the family when her father died, which is a low fucking blow. My aunt’s inheritance can’t be touched. When she turns 60 it’ll be paid out over the course of 10 years. So, essentially, they’re just hoping that she’ll die before gets to use it. That’s shit. My uncle’s inheritance SHOULD go to his kids, because he died a while back… but whether they will get that, we aren’t sure. My inheritance is minimal. I guess I’m getting a couple rings, which don’t really mean anything to me, since they weren’t my grandfather’s, and 1/200th of the estate. I don’t much care about the estate, or inheritance. But the whole thing with the blood relative kids of my grandfather is bullshit… and it’s been hard.

Last Friday I went to a 90% show alone. Strangely, I ran into someone I knew. I went to Girl Scouts all throughout high school with this girl. Nice girl. She was wasted. I was sad. So then I was a little wasted. She hooked up with some guy, and I dangerously drove myself home. That has to stop. We have mad crazy DUI laws here, and driving any kind of impaired can ruin your life. I gotta stop drinking my feelings when I’m out… or learn to take a cab.

And I guess that’s about it.

I’m sad today because I can’t afford to live how I want… but I’m doing ok. Working on getting out of debt and back into college. Slow-going. But that’s life.