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Category Archives: Family

Continuing the trend

My father is the most negative human being that I know. He actually used to be angrier, or at least used to show his anger more, but as he’s gotten older, the anger has turned from cussing and throwing and breaking shit, to just being a downright bummer.

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and when I called my dad to thank him for the birthday card and check that he mailed to me, we ended up having a relatively decent 35 minute conversation about how my life was going good, how work was going good and how I didn’t really have a lot to complain about. I’d venture to say that his ability to withhold the negative peaks at around 36 minutes, though, because we quickly went from HAPPY HAPPY to “Just be glad you have a job because if you didn’t, you’d have a hell of a time finding one right now.” and “You should be better at saving your money” and “Well, I gave you that 6 months ago – you haven’t done it yet?” Thank you dad, for ruining whatever high I had on life by inserting your usual bit of negatively slanted realism. Can’t I just be happy for a frickin’ minute, here?!

Most people who do that to me usually get thanked for dropping the Bummer Bomb in some snide, sarcastic way, but my dad is not most people. He is the poster child for emotional suppression and avoidance, so if I were to bring it up, he’d just get angry and most likely say something like, WELL, IT”S TRUE ISN’T IT? To which I can’t really argue, but there is a thing called TACT that he seems to lack. In fact, his need to end on a sour note seems almost purposeful to an extent – there was nothing in our conversation that could have segued him into how suck-tastic the world is or how terrible the weather is or how awful the state of the economy is. He just started hating on shit with no prompting. Yeah, I get it, sometimes shit sucks, but if all you do is dwell on the negative, everything becomes ABOUT the negative and I’ve worked really hard to get my thinking out of that downward spiral pattern. And this, my friends, is the long winded version of why I don’t talk to my father very often and when I do, it’s in very short bursts. Gotta get out before the negativity sets in.

 
 

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Daddy Issues

I’m going off of memory here because I’m lazy and don’t like to incorporate research (BLECK) into blogging, but I believe it was Freud, and Oedipus, that theorized our first loves are our opposing sex parent when we are babies and young children. Little boys love their mothers and little girls love their fathers truer and deeper than they think they’ll ever love anyone else, and the reaction of said parent is more important to how we shape our views of ourselves than I, and most people I’d wager, ever realize. Whether this is true or not, I can’t tell you, but I know for me, my father and our relationship has proven to be the catalyst for most of my crazy issues as an adult.

My parents divorced when I was about 5, and most of the memories that I have of the time before are not so peachy. Lots of yelling, lots of fighting and lots of pissed off dad. His anger was scary, he’d yell and scream and throw shit, and as a 5 and less year old kid, I had a decision to make – be afraid of my own father, or try to do things that didn’t make him angry. Queue the emergence of my brilliant wit. I learned quickly that when dad was laughing, he wasn’t yelling and the choice for me was obvious – I wanted a laughy dad, not a screamy one. Besides, a couple of hits on the ass with a wooden spoon would have even made Jesus renounce his religion, if it had happened to him as a three year old.

Flash forward to my adult life and the main lesson that that little girl learned – do whatever it takes to avoid confrontation and make sure everyone is happy in order to avoid chaos and fear. To this day, I make jokes in tense situations to avoid the anger or sadness that may present itself otherwise. Laughter beat out dads anger, but the laughter was just masking my fear, not displacing it. Don’t get me wrong, I love laughing and having a good time, but I pushed myself into being that way as a child because it was a way better option than being screamed at and cracked over the ass with a wooden spoon by my dad because I spilled some milk on the kitchen floor. Remember – 5 years old and less….

Our relationship as adults is less of a relationship and more of a requirement. He expects me to honor and obey, and forgive him when he tells me that depression is something I should be able to handle myself, and that it’s ‘stupid’ that I am on antidepressants. He wants me to go out of my way for him and give him the unconditional love that he’s never given me. He wants me to yearn for his affection that he withholds like it’s the last jar of peanut butter on earth. Yet, despite all of that, I still try to make him happy. I still try to be uplifting and funny and I still try to be that little girl who he used to get so much enjoyment out of  – but as an adult, it’s harder for me to suppress the fact that I’ve never felt my dad loved me for who I am, only for the laughter I could create. I’ve always felt he loved me just because I could make him not be angry, and that isn’t the unconditional love that a child needs from their father. It’s made me derive my self worth through how I can make others feel – if I can’t make people turn that frown upside down, then I’m worthless. If I can’t solve a problem for someone, I’m a piece of shit, and so on and so on.  I want him to be happy, I want him to enjoy life, but every time that I try to bring that to him, he shoots me down. He makes sure every conversation ends with a ‘reality check’, which leaves me feeling like the world is terrible and not worth being a part of. He’s so resistant to letting go of his negativity and constant belittling that he makes no effort to ease our strained relationship, despite the fact that he is acutely aware that it exists. And that makes me sad for him, and sad for me because there is so much more to this thing called life than just hating on it and bitching about the bad shit that happens to us all sometimes. I want to have a relationship with my father that is healthy and loving and where I feel he accepts me and that I am good enough to be called his daughter, but I’m realizing through age and therapy that that just isn’t going to happen. He’s always going to think I could do more, or be better, or thinner or prettier or a harder worker, but not in an encouraging kind of way, more like a ‘you are not good enough’ one.

Tonight in my therapy session, I realized that my dads happiness is not my responsibility, and it’s OK that that makes me sad. I cannot live my life for him, and I cannot allow him to drag me down when I find something to be positive about. I love my dad, and I always will, but I don’t LOVE my dad, and I wish that I could.

 

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Feast or famine

It seems that I only feel like blogging when I’m hating on myself via some deep-seated emotional issue that has been triggered by a thought or some outside event. This post shall be no different from the norm.

Failure is a word that triggers a strong emotional and mental response from me. It could be failure to complete a task appropriately or the failure of a relationship – it doesn’t matter, either way, I end up feeling like a fuck up who can’t do anything right or correct in life. This is a feeling that has followed me around longer than I’ve probably even been aware of it, and it’s become a topic of interest over my last few therapy sessions.

Each time I recount the failure of a relationship, or that one time I applied for something and was denied, or when I just allow people to take advantage of me, I end up a bleary eyed mess and full of emotional turmoil. Mistakes are failures, the inability to mesh with a single person for the rest of my life is a failure and you bet your ass that I’ve failed at life because I’ve never accomplished the dreams I had as a stupid child. It’s enough to drive a person into a downward spiral of depressive sludge.

Today, as I was having a moment of incredible weakness to my BFF, I kind of realized that in some deep, dark, psychotherapy place in the recesses of my mind, my parents divorce has warped my perception of relationships and their levels of success or failure. I’m sure it’s much more involved than that and I’m sure it has a lot more to do with the whole inability to deal with or discuss emotions that my entire family possesses, but I’ve never really thought of my parents divorce in a negative way until today. It’s one of those situations where the more you learn about yourself, why you react the way that you do to certain things, and where those feelings of inner turmoil and blackness actually COME from, that you can’t help but start to look at events in your life differently.Some end up being more detrimental while others end up having that silver lining to them. My BFF pointed out that relationships take two people and that I cannot blame myself for the end of every relationship because I AM AWESOME. So, in a moment of clarity, I’ve realized that I AM awesome, and have apparently been setting my sights too low, hence the fizzle of each of my past relationships. Awesome shines brightly and some people just burn faster than others. To truly be happy in life, I need to aim high and find someone who’s awesome matches my own, instead of dialing down my aura to fit others.

 

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Some girls really do have all the fun

This weekend was my annual family reunion. My dad’s side of the family is Italian and they make it a point every year to re-une. Every one from my grandmother to my cousin’s one year old was there this year and it actually was very nice. No one got stupid drunk, no one set anything on fire, and no one managed to cuss anyone else out. All in all, I’d consider it a raving success, especially when you take my family into account.

The last couple of years, my one cousin has been hosting the reunion at his home, which happens to have my fathers house between it, and me, so I called my dad to see if he wanted to carpool. I need to preface this with the fact that I did NOT ask my father if he wanted to carpool with any ulterior motive – I just thought it would be nice, and as long as he was OK with leaving when I needed to so that I could get home to care for my dogs, I thought it actually made some sense. Anyway, so when I got to his house, he had the garage door open and his truck out in the driveway, which meant one thing: we were taking the VETTE! Hot Bloody Damn! Here we go, boys and girls. We were taking the 2000, 6 speed, 345 hp black on black convertible to the family reunion. Please understand, my dad does NOT bring the vette out but on the rarest of occasions, and it must not be raining, have rained, or have rain in the forecast, or else she won’t come out from under her car covered, curtained windowed garage prison. But saturday was GORGEOUS and my dad was feeling ire, apparently, so out she came! AND………….wait for it………………….I got to DRIVE!!!!

We arrive in perfect condition, and I will admit to cresting nothing above 80 in that car – I honestly didn’t feel safe as I drive it so seldom, and if ANYTHING were to happen, I think my dad would LITERALLY kill me. Then and there. Seriously. So the rest of the family reunion carries on as expected – drinking, eating, laughing, reminiscing, kids screaming, adults screaming, etc. – until my dad says “Did you tell your sister you drove the vette?” NO, Why would I do that? So that she can give me some whiny crap about how it’s been such and such amount of time since SHE’S driven the vette? No. Thank. You. So, my sister says “No, but you did” back to my dad. Then started: “Ya know, I haven’t driven the vette in YEARS.” Neither have I, sister. “Well, you know, I didn’t even drive it that far last time I drove it.” Well, sister, I didn’t ASK to drive, dad offered. Next time, you can drive and pick him up so that you can drive the vette. Ok?

I must admit that I do find satisfaction in burning my sisters ass. She gets herself so worked up over the dumbest things, it just cracks me up when she gets so upset. She starts in with the Woe-is-me routines and lays it on thick enough that others not savvy to her ways would be sucked into her abyss of negativity. All I heard was Blah Blah Blah as she rambled on about how unfair it was, half in jest, half in stark faced sincerity. Thankfully, this all happened as my dad and I were leaving for the night, so I simply got in the car and did what ANY good sister would do – I hammered that shit down and just about spun into second gear, then third. My hair waved GOODBYE as my left foot pumped the clutch and I jammed it into third and my smile opened up greater than it has in a long time, and stayed that way the entire ride home. She’s so pretty, she’d make just about anyone smile.

You'd be jealous, too

 

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WARNING: Adult Blog Content; If you’ve never dropped the ‘F’ bomb in public, you don’t want to be here.

Ok, so this is a totally true story, with parts that I forgot left out. I do seriously cuss a lot in the real world, but I do try to not FORCE my naughty tongue upon others without their express notification. So if you read this and you’re offended: GOOD. You deserve to be after I TOLD you not to!

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Yesterday I had a session with my therapist, and as usual, I left feeling slightly uneasy emotionally, and relatively confused overall. I was pretty lost in thought and I do get overly sensitive when emotionally heightened. So, I was home later than usual, the dogs were desperate to go pee and I had to pee myself. I remember responding to a test message, then I started dinner for me and the dogs. By the time I realized my phone was not where I left it, I can not tell you how much time had lapsed, as I was so lost in the rumblings in my head that I literally lost track of time.

I spent about 45 minutes back-tracking ever step I took in the hour that I had been home. Please keep in mind that all of this happened while ENTIRELY SOBER. I was under no influence of any kind, other than that of my therapy session. I started to lose my shit after I tore the couch apart for the third time, and for some goddess forsaken reason, I called my mother.

She is best described as being stoic. I mean, at least, that’s the best word that I can come up with. I consider it a damn good description, too. Anyway, she’s got this grounded-ness about her that I need sometimes because my emotions can go so haywire, I have what I would consider a panic attack. Except instead of having trouble breathing, I get PISSED OFF. I think it’s my curse to bear as I am blessed (READ: CURSED) with both Italian, and German heritages, among others. Despite the fact that I’m like, 1/4 or less each, I still find that some of those particular heritage’s stereotypes DO tend to be true. And I am a living example of the ones regarding short fuses and Hiroshima rivaling outbursts of anger. You can see how my mother’s unshakable-ness would come in handy to a person like me?

So, I’m on the phone with my mother screaming IT’S JUST FUCKING GONE. Yes, I said FUCKING on the phone to my mother, several times in fact, and she totally let me get away with it. WITHOUT A SCOLDING! I push the limit with her and how many times i can say FUCK in a sentence, sometimes. She seems to be more accepting of the word if I literally scream it. I think she realizes I’m having one of those insanely ridiculous, uncontrollable, stupid, unreasonable, for no good reason I-hate-the-world attacks. And as long as I stay under, say, 6 as an average. She lets me. Yeah, I know it’s crazy that I play insane games while having a totally unnecessary anger attack, but hey, that’s what crazy people do. So – I’m on the phone with my mother screaming IT’S JUST FUCKING GONE and she says HOW CAN IT BE GONE? and I said IT JUST IS!? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW! HOW THE FUCK DOES A PHONE JUST DISA-FUCKING-PEAR?!  I AM CALLING IT FROM MY HOUSE PHONE, MOTHER! I CAN’T HEAR IT RINGING, MOTHER! And she says, oh calm down. What, do you think the boogey man took it? ::DRAMATIC PAUSE:: Mother, I love you and your typical sarcastic humor, but today is NOT the day for it. So, please, you’re totally not helping.

However, after a few minutes of her suggesting the random places around my house, like the fridge, the oven, the sink in the bathroom, the dining room table, the freezer, the lazy susan, the upper cabinets, the microwave, the mailbox, etc – all of which I had already checked – I WAS feeling calmer and was able to listen to her silly plan of just taking a chill for a minute and then resume the search with a mellower state of mind. She said take a walk around outside a minute, and then look around again, then call me back. So I walked around outside, came inside, got on the floor and looked underneath everything that HAS an underneath and I saw a glint of shiny underneath, of all things, my TV stand! WTF?

Hello?. ::my step father, the math and numbers guy, answers:: HI. Hi. Sooooo. I found my phone. Oh yeah? Where was it? Pffftttthhht. Underneath the tv stand. Well how did it get there? How the hell should I know? Did you kick it, or drop it then trip over it and it shot under there? I don’t know, seriously, if I knew it was there, I wouldn’t have spent an hour looking for the damn thing. Well, did one of the cats play with it and bat it under there. Really? I seriously do not know how it got there. I couldn’t even get my hand under there – so i mean, I didn’t PUT it there. OK, well, I think if you think about it long enough, you’ll remember how it got there.

Yeah, I didn’t have a response then, either. But at least I wasn’t pissed off any more. I’ll take that as a success.

 

Blood versus water

I have a relatively small family on my mothers side. Both of her parents are deceased, my grandmothers brother is also deceased, as well as his wife, but their children, and their children’s children and I think one more children’s children’s children…whatever….are all still living. On August 13th, 2011, one of those children’s children’s children, or wait…no, no, that’s right, is getting married and I of course was invited. Trouble is, it’s in Michigan and I hate traveling in cars.

As a kid, I remember driving to Michigan with my grandparents and my sister. I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 because my grandfather fell ill when I was 9 and died rather suddenly. Anyway, I remember driving up there, and the old lady lilly smell in my Aunt Flo’s house. I remember her ’70’s red and gold shag carpet and mismatching floral patterned sofas and how she always wore her silver hair in this high bouffant/beehive style. She had those old pictures on the wall that were kind of sepia toned, and in wooden oval, convex glass frames, of her parents and I remember how somber their faces looked, but not much else. We used to sit at her kitchen table, complete with that awful pleathery plastic upholstered chairs that stick to your ass like flypaper. You know the kind – it makes that suction sound whenever you manage to pry your skin from it’s tacky grasp. We’d play cards, eat and Gram and her would just talk and talk and talk. Aunt Flo had this white playhouse with a black roof in her little backyard that was just the perfect kid size. I really don’t know the story behind why it was there, and I honestly haven’t thought about it in a very long time, but I used to spend HOURS playing in there. There was a small table and chairs, and the door and windows opened and closed….I thought that was the coolest shit since slap bracelets.

So I was invited to this wedding, for the cousin who’s only memory of mine is that he totally locked me out of his house one summer. For no reason. Like a dick. And that shit pissed me off! I was never exceptionally close to any of them, and they didn’t come to my sisters wedding the other year, either, so I can’t say my heart is bleeding over probably missing the wedding. The trouble is, my sister has this need to appear perfect and be idolized for her flawless record at family events, the fact that she never fails to send a holiday card or a birthday card, and her seemingly easy to get along with demeanor. However, the very immediate members of her family know a much darker, and more obnoxious, but less impressive version of my sister. She can be belittling, demeaning and a down right bitch. This is the same woman called her 9 year old sister a beached whale while once wearing a bathing suit….yeah, my sister ain’t no saint. That’s not to say that *I* am, either, but I do own up to what I am and don’t do the two faced shit that she does. And in for some reason unknown to me, she did a very stupid thing and started a fight with me over my reasons for not going to the wedding. Now, a year ago, I might have gone off on her, calling her all sorts of names while crying hysterically out of frustration. This time, I tried to address the situation by asking her to stop telling me what I should do, and to stop being so condescending. Apparently, she didn’t like the idea that I committed to other events that weekend PRIOR to receiving any information regarding the wedding and felt the need to turn into a walking, talking guilt trip. Sorry, sister, but you ain’t my fucking keeper, so shut up, please.

Instead of calling her a filthy whore, I indicated that I was D-O-N-E, done and that she should have a good night. I ended with a goodbye and a click. The next day she must have thought that it was just a slight guffaw as she had the balls to make a comment about how I should have come up with a better excuse when one of my other Michigan cousins made a comment about why I wasn’t coming. Which, I can only assume, means that immediately following our call the day before, my sister called said cousin to dish the gory details. Not impressed with that, sister. Not impressed at all.

I deleted it and gave her a little note back regarding her innate ability to create a massive pain in my ass at every moment we are in contact, with the hopes that she goes back to therapy. Seriously. She was so much less of a bitch when she was going to therapy and getting beyond her own self inflicted bullshit and realizing that her hatefulness spilled onto others and hurt feelings and that it wasn’t always OUR responsibility to forgive her, and that she should have some control over it, as well. But over the years she’s lost her ability to see past the nose on her face and it’s apparent in her personality changes, let me tell you. I’ve been trying to work on bettering our relationship myself recently, because I’ve started regretting the fact that we never have had that SISTERLY bond or relationship between us. But I don’t want that shit THAT bad. There is still a line, and she crossed it.

My therapist would probably tell me that I have to confront her about it, and I probably will. But right now, she’s not the only one I’m pissed off at and avoidance is definitely MY best policy. I haven’t seen my therapist in about a month, and I’m pretty glad I have a session coming up next week. I feel like I have to get some shit off my chest and get some logic thrown at me so I can figure out how to deal with all of this. I feel like if anyone came up to me and said, Hey, let me tell YOU a story!, I’d probably tell them that their sister sucked to the tenth degree, so I feel fairly justified in my feelings, but I am also known to blow things out of proportion…so I’m waiting until at least next week before I make any moves on any things. It’s all about perspective.

 

Time to grow the eff up

I never finished college, one reason being that I had a tragedy in my life that pretty much shut me down for a while, and the second being because now that I’m an adult, with a home and pets and shit I have to take care of by myself, it’s harder to find the time, energy and cash flow to go back to school. With that said, I tend to have a buttload of respect for those who DO find the time and energy and cash flow to go back. It’s admirable because I know how difficult it is, and I seriously give those people credit. However, my statements above are with the caveat of how said person should take this shit seriously because it’s not High School anymore.

Flash back to approximately 22 months ago – without going into gory detail, a friend of mine from HS moved into my parents house with her two children as she was desperately in need of a place to go when drug addiction problems reared their ugly head. My parents are good people, so they took them all in with little more than a second thought, hoping that they could be the rock for her to stand on, long enough to get her legs back underneath her. My parents, being the awesome people that they are, sat down with her and discussed things like being able to support herself and her children financially, and what it was going to mean to be a single parent and that they wanted her to take full advantage of the situation and better herself. My mother raised my sister and I alone for a number of years between her divorce from my father, and when she married my step-father, so she knows a little bit about what she’s talking about. So, my friend, we’ll call her Lucy, was told she should take the roof my parents were keeping over her head as a blessing, and spend her time trying to get her shit together for the sake of her 2 kids. Work and save some money; go to school and earn your degree. Sounds easy enough, right? My parents pick the kids up, take them to football, make them breakfast, lunch and dinner and even babysit when she has class or work, without much of a fuss. But here we are, almost 2 years later and NOTHING has changed, as far as she lives her life. Yes, she’s been taking classes, but she fails 50% of what she takes, she still leaves her young children in the care of the drug addict – WHO USED TO TAKE THEM TO GO SCORE – and she is still the same irresponsible, immature girl that she was in High School, when I used to have to wake her up in the mornings. Except now, she’s in charge of ruining two additional lives, not just her own.

Children and parenting are privileges in my eyes, not rights, and I take that responsibility seriously, which is why I’ve managed to stay child free for all of my 30 years so far. It’s been a purposeful choice and I’ve been lucky enough to not have to think about it any deeper than “Oh, it’s time for my pill!” I realize that not everyone who gets pregnant PLANNED for the baby, but I feel that if you do have a baby, and keep it, you need to step up to the plate and be a PARENT. Life changes when you become responsible for someone else’s well being and you have to stop making the stupid, selfish choices that we all make when we’re younger. And those stupid, selfish, irresponsible choices are what brings me to my point.

Lucy neglected to “finish” at least one class this semester and needs to complete an assignment, that she’s had ALL SEMESTER, in order to receive credit for the class. It could be said that I’m a decent writer, and it could also be said that I like to help people out when they need it, so I suppose that is why she asked me, however, I learned that my version of ‘help’ was different than hers. I ended up getting a bunch of links and notes from her semester of class emailed to me, and deciphered that I was expected to write the whole damn thing myself. All six pages. In three days. With no help from her, the one who took the class. While she was out on Friday night, drinking away her self inflicted sorrows revolving around the drug addict that she can’t seem to, or doesn’t WANT to let go of.

Typically, I’m the first person lined up to help people that want to help themselves, but I’m not an enabler. I’ve played that role, it sucked and I cried, a lot, and by writing her paper FOR her, not WITH her, I’m simply enabling her ongoing, irresponsible, self destructive behavior. She has managed to not complete either of two tasks, with any measure of success, in the last two years, and frankly, the lack of progress is wearing on both me and my family. They opened their hearts and their lives to her and her children without asking for much in return other than for her to get her life on a forward track. They’ve been subjected to hearing her yell at her kids, when all they want is a hug; they’ve watched her treat her one child as the golden one, and the other as the red headed step child, and when confronted about it, they’ve dealt with her getting defensive and nasty and we’ve all had instances where if a child is being talked to by any of us, she will point blank step in and contradict anything that was said by an adult. Even when it comes down to whether hitting someone is right or wrong. She’ll argue one point with you, but if you change your stance, she’ll argue THAT point, as well. It’s a constant battle and I’m getting the shits of fighting all of the time.

This is my year of NO BULLSHIT. No romantic bullshit, no dating bullshit, no friend bullshit and no family bullshit. If someone would tell me the story of my life, I would probably suggest to them that they are batshit insane and to avoid these crazy ass situations – but advise is always easier to give out than it is to take.