21 April 2017

Aurora birthday

Celia's master's*

Call with mom

Lunch

Make friends with the new gals

Cassy*

Trev call!!!

Tracy* call then dinner

Thursday = Friday

Organize paper life in the p.m.

Actual Friday = Get rid of clothes, recycling, go for 2.4K run, get Tia and her cousin for sleepover, talk to and actually have good conversation with asshole brother for 40 minutes, have 2 hour conversation with grade 5 BFF Amanda, get invited to coffee by three other friends for next day - Crystal a.m., Brit p.m., Mireille p.m. bonfire with wine.

*Three besties in one day - my whole bridal party minus my daughters. Friends everywhere. Organization everywhere. Productivity everywhere. And post-run feel-goods lingering over the whole of it all.

26 March 2017

A Letter To My Dad

Well, Dad, I have something to say. And isn't going to be easy because they're things that have gotten in the way of me having a better relationship with you and I feel a ton of shame about the way I have treated you in the past, but you'd have to know what that is to know why they affect me. You'd have to know - and acknowledge - what I felt hasn't ever really been spoken to. But I realize that 1) it's been so long, it feels almost ridiculous to bring it up. So much time has passed, so many things have changed, life has brought growth for all of us. It feels almost counter-intuitive to say, "hey, you may have thought we made amends, but I never did, and here's why" and address something you've long since put away and I haven't. It feels awful to kind of just drop this on your lap. And 2) there is a very real fear of your response about it. I've proven that I can be oversensitive, defensive, and confrontational about a great many things, and when I have tried to approach you before (in my crappy way), it's just been hard to hear your hardened responses when I keep trusting in the loving relationship we claim to have. AND... I have all the proof in the world of how my personality annoys the shit out of all three men (you, E, and now recently M.) But I feel like I've been keeping something from you for a long time - which I swear was for the best intentions - but it's just ended up eating at things in my life outside of myself and I just don't think it's right to keep it from you any more. Even if it's hard.

I have had an impression for some time that our relationship, specifically, hasn't grown as much as I thought it would from when I was at home, and I know that in the truth of it not growing, among the many good and bad reasons, a good chunk of that lies mostly with me. It's not that our relationship hasn't grown at all, it's that I'm still holding onto something that you probably don't know I'm still holding onto. And, here goes, it's about the time period of when I was pregnant with Aurora. Two major things that suck to admit. 1) how much it hurt me that you struggled to talk with me for a long time in the beginning, after we'd built such a friendship while I was in high school, and basically presented your case to me in terms of your feelings, but not showing empathy or outward compassion for what I was going through. And 2) how we have never, ever made our peace about that, or about anything else during that time, in large part because it's always been a difficult subject to approach for the both of us and because I haven't heard you admit that it was at least several weeks (months) before we even started talking; and that the conversation after that was short and clipped and filled with your feelings, not mine. 

I have, for the last 19 years, struggled on and off heavily with this. This is not a new thing for me. And there's no special reason it's coming up now. I just find that it's affected how I see other people and treat them and I see how very long that's been going on (and how very tiring it is.) It's affected how I mother. It affected my thought processes going into the world. It affected my marriage, the ways I have coped all these many years, and my relationship with Trevor very negatively. It's affected my relationships with my friends, my brothers and it's affected my relationship with you, unfortunately. Each time something happens in my life and I revisit this and then re-decide to move on, I find that it always comes back up. Because I put myself and my self worth on the back burner until I explode. And I've had to learn some things about how I express myself, which is deeply rooted in the grudges I've held and the walls I've put up. It's been a heavy price to pay for being unable to say something to you. 
I've held it in for so very long that I haven't known any other way. Holding onto it seemed to be the only way to deal with the situation at the time, but I have become so, so resentful. It has colored every way I have tried to relate to you or stay in touch with you. It's become such an outside-of-me thing now that it affects people around me even when I'm not thinking about it and even when I'm trying to rise above it. It's become such a problem that whether or not I'm successful this time in getting through to you, I have to give you my very best try in expressing how long I've been hurting - in, yes, the hopes that you will respond productively, but largely and wholly so that I can say I gave it an honest go, that I tried letting you know without you feeling attacked or like you have to relive the hard stuff again. That I let you know while we have the capacity to deal with it now. While we're still alive. While we still have the chance to talk about it. While we still have our faculties about us. And before you die or something happens where we can't and we're forced to deal with it in the afterlife.


The truth is that the part about keeping the baby was about making amends for you. Not for me. I wholly agree that we were on the same page about keeping the baby, but when we stood in the vestibule of St. Matthew's and you took an impassioned stance on not giving up Aurora for adoption, it was coming together on an idea, which I was grateful for, but it was not making peace for me with you about the rejection and withdrawal I felt from you. Which came in the form of the floor being dropped out from underneath me when you stopped talking to me, which I remember was for months, and when you looked at my barely formed belly with contempt when I came home for Thanksgiving that year, which aren't exaggerations. Those are memories.

I know you meant well about making peace then, but it wasn't making peace for me. 

The other very big truth also is that I felt abandoned by both parents, but moreso by you, in a time when I needed you more than ever. The truth is I felt like the first time I tested your love, you withdrew it. (Mom, too.) I realized your stand with me on keeping my baby was your way of showing me some (?) colored way of being on my side. But it was not the same as me being able to admit how much I was hurt by your actions after learning I was pregnant and feeling like I'd lost all your protection and wishing you'd speak to understanding that. It hurt more with you than with Mom because you and I were closer. You were the one who introduced the mercy of Jesus to me, the one who talked about tender mercies and loving relationships. You were the one that lectured us kids to get along because life was short and love was important. You were the one who seemed to believe in tenderness. It was a very hard pill to swallow.

I never faulted you for having to deal with it how you needed to because it was a new thing for us all. And I know a trillion other things have happened since then to make this seem so out of left field. I know that you didn't know how to deal with it and that it shook up a lot of your beliefs about me, about life, about disappointments in general. Me getting pregnant was the last thing you expected to happen; and it didn't fall into line with your morals, your perceptions, your ideals, your culture, or even your own historical context of me. None of us had ever been through that before. At least not from the vantage points we were at during that time - you as a dad, mom as a mom, me as the daughter. I understood that with flying colors back then. I understand that perfectly right now.  
But I also managed, even if on accident, to understand it was the worst possible thing that could have ever happened, and not only in the the whole wide world, but to you. Me being pregnant was the worst thing that happened to you and mom. And even though it was far from the life you'd imagined for me and even though we were all new to the earth-shattering shock it brought us all, I was relying on the knowledge that both of you did, however, as former kids yourselves, get yourselves caught up in a similar situation (enough to warrant to marrying Mom) to help me out or help bring sympathy or compassion to the table. And instead, the outpouring of responses to continue on long after the initial reactions was much, much worse than I'd anticipated.  (I've expressed the sheer betrayal I felt to Mom about the fact that she could have easily related to me being pregnant in college but didn't - the miscarriage story - and also didn't bother to elaborate until long after I got pregnant.)

But we haven't been able to ever really talk about it productively and I haven't expressed to you the deep wounds that came from being upset by your initial and subsequent reactions and, much later, by the realization that you and Mom had both been in my shoes (with the miscarriage story) but both struggled to show me compassion. I think it's the latter that hurt for longer than the former. Because it's come to really matter in my relationships, when I would feel ignored or checked out on. I developed very basic, very strong and primal fight or flight response when I feel desperate, angry, or just plain scared. This wound, I'm embarrassed to say, has affected every single relationship I've ever been in, on some level or another. (Some of that does overlap with other things from my childhood, but this was basically the clincher.) 

I've never been able to tell you because I have never been able to find a way. And I've never been able to find a way because I have always been hella embarrassed by the fact that I can't just get over it. I've also never been able to find a way because I "knew" to put my thoughts of being pregnant/life changing/being scared as hell aside, in exchange for thinking about how it all made you and Mom feel. But it just kept coming back up and it just kept going that way until I broke. Both in my marriage and now in this relationship. (It didn't matter with the loser French guy - but it matters now and matters always.) I've done a LOT of damage in handling things the way I do and being resentful. A lot.

This resentment, this harboring of hurt, is also why when I have tried to approach you with it, other terrible crap comes out. Terrible things, awkward things, loaded things that I'm extremely ashamed of like judgment and lectures and whips and chains and just about every terrible, disrespectful way a daughter can be about a hot, emotionally-charged thing. (The emails I've sent, the outbursts I've had with you, and even leaving Kyle the way I did.) It has always gotten in the way. I will always, always own and feel terrible guilt for treating you with disrespect because I wasn't able to be truthful about how much your actions did hurt me because I was afraid of how you'd react (it's easier to go balls to the wall and know you're getting the bull than to ask the bull a question in the arena.) It was easier to be a lame couch shrink than admit something about myself to you. The only difference now is that I've seen how much and for how long it's affected my life apart from you; and I'd rather let you know in this life than the next that I needed someone to care about how freaking traumatized I was about what I was facing as a pregnant woman while trying to manage my parents' feelings, which wasn't my responsibility. 

It wasn't fair to you and it wasn't fair to me. I didn't mean to hold onto this like a thing and I surely regret being disrespectful to you in the past. I realize that the wound is real. It's not gonna go away and I can't pretend it's something else, and I've held onto it for so very long. I don't want that any more. I don't want to be the one holding us back, or being the one preventing us from having an authentic relationship, and I'm sorry. I didn't even realize I was doing it until I started fighting in this relationship and I had to realize why my hardass ways weren't working. I never wanted to be like that. 

Like I said, I hate dropping this on your lap. It's gonna feel of of nowhere and make us revisit some painful moments and for that I'm sorry. Just. This is me trying to find an ultimate way to show you how much I love you. That after all this time, our relationship is still important to me. That before we're too old and before we find out some other rude way in the afterlife, we can still be okay. We can still be real. We can still be authentic. And that we CAN get through terrible moments. This isn't fun, but at least it's easier than a lot of other things.




26 February 2017

Lines

So here it comes. The relenting. The I-don't-want-my-hard-feelings-to-contribute-to-the-overall-hard-feeling jumble mess that is my relationship with each male of my immediate family. I have thought about writing or texting the youngest brother a form of apology that comes from understanding, whether or not he does, my role in the whole being "offended" reaction. After all, as it was painfully and wonderfully put to me, playing the "offended" card is just another way of saying "I can't control what I do with my feelings, you have to change your behaviour" to the other person. And Lord KNOWS how hard a crunching lesson self-control or being controlling has come to be in my life. However, I just can't. I just can't do it. I just can't bring myself to open a door that would be rife with misunderstanding from the onset.

And not in a way that isn't worth working through or attempting to offer an olive branch of any kind, because I still believe that is very much worth it. But that my efforts have been lost on them, either by my own hand or their impression of me; and I don't think that the inevitable sum is worth the means. I can't undo or help the strained lines of communication that have been hacked, massacred, or otherwise impeded by an overwhelming siege of poor communication skills, easy defensiveness, easy aggression, and a plethora of other equally bad habits between us three that have been allowed to sour or curdle over time, most certainly due to the time and space between us, which offers no day-to-day interaction to undo, redo, or reset our impressions of each other. But however I have attempted to try and try again, my efforts have been laced with language that puts them off and a concerted opinion by all three that I am a hysterical and self-righteous bible thumper (I could laugh so hard at this! Except it sucks that that's how they see me and it sucks that they don't know me, either.)

But I just have no idea what more I can do. I haven't done much, and what I have put forth has only added to the toxicity (emails ripping them all together and chopped up moments of boundary-setting that only enforce their perceptions of my "misaligned" hysteria for setting them) and their posturing toward me. I haven't helped myself much in this regard, I realize, but I've also only had just moments of time to squeeze and inject snippets of my own world and my own perceptions in between their own snippets; and it's more than just probable that they just don't care about having a deeper relationship with their sister/daughter. I guess I was just going off the belief that we were raised with (to love each other and be each other's best friends) and the belief that the love we say we have for each other was more than just words. And so there's nothing more to say. Only doing. And there won't be any doing. Because I can't afford to visit them regularly enough to build a comradery and I know they can't afford it, either.


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04 February 2017

Patriarchal bullshit

I know men older than him who come from older times and older societies of thoughts that aren't as hard as he is.

This is hard. I don't want to be the grudge-holder in all of this. And I fear that it will be taken that way. But I simply refuse to welcome all of the same condescending speech patterns and the contemptuous fodder that has been their manner of speaking to me all these years. They don't have to agree with me or think of my position with any respect, but I don't have to keep the door of communication open, either.

I know I don't know them now. Of course I don't know them. I don't know them in an every-day sense. I wouldn't have a clue of how they take their coffee, how they approach budgeting, how they feel about the weather, or how their thoughts and thought processes have changed over the years.

What I do know is that one brother throws it in my face that I don't know him but continues to be an arrogant and disdainful prick. In ten years (or more), he has told me that he doesn't get "as angry" any more, he has implied that he has changed or grown, he has insinuated my own pettiness when I've included random, if inaccurate, disclaimers indicating what he deems is an "old school mentality." (I sent both brothers a video of a dad and daughter singing a Disney song together just a few weeks ago, prefacing the text with what I thought was an easy reference to our harder days - "you gotta crack the tough a moment to watch it. Once you do, it'll melt your heart.") But I still get hot replies and defensive retorts. And aggressive responses. ("I love how you send something sweet and then fuck it up by sending a follow up text with some old school mentality of how you think I am." End quote.) This from a brother who thinks he's somehow improved since his days of his abusive temper, the days of chasing my other brother and I around the house pounding on us, the days of being a frightening maniac who could have easily turned into a news story. Maybe his progression is that he doesn't feel the need to scream at us, to jump up and hit us. But maybe any progression has only been fraudulently achieved because of the physical distance and time. Of course he'd chill out some over time as a natural course to aging - he'd be another whole brand of whacknut if it hadn't. But there's no evidence to support me thinking differently of him than the hardened asshole that I do. This is a guy who, when punching a guy at a bar in the town where I lived, took me down in the recoil, on accident, but never apologized, never had a moment of "oh shit, I'm sorry" when he saw me go down, never had that "oh crap" moment where he realized how out of control he was. Drunk or not, some critical sense of something will still poke through. It did not poke through. I was married with kids at the time. And he was just fresh out of the military himself, divorced, and had a kid himself. We were both adults then, after years of being out of school and a rash of experience. I can appreciate that the physical distance between us would prevent me from knowing how my brother truly "is" now in any definitive circumstance, but how can he not at least understand that the same distance makes his touchy, easily offended responses to me even more apparent? What does accusing me of not knowing him actually accomplish? How does accusing me of not knowing him actually show me the changes he said he's made? I used to think his defensive reactions were hurt ones, hurt by an older, clueless, and mean sister who was too hardened to think of them softly. Now I finally understand, because of my own journey of self-discovery and wound education, it's just him. Still struggling at something and me not helping.

What else I do know is that the other brother used to be the more sensitive of the two and has revealed the glorious influences of our dad and the extreme mentalities of the country around him. In the twenty years since leaving home, he was always kinder to me and spoke in more philosophical tones, if only vague metaphors at first, but was constantly getting hit. From the external, physical influences and abuses of my dad and other brother to the contextual influences around him to the very literal military experiences to the eye-opening experiences of life with his wife and children. It would have only been fair for him to have had enough when I got pissed at him for sending me one of yet another many hundreds of similar inappropriate or vulgar jokes, texts, photos. He's been trying to shed the heavy cloak of guilt for a great many things - mostly misplaced and never his responsibility (parental guilt trips, various guilt trips by others, over time and over many years) - for a great many years. But the colours of my dad's upbringing flashed through his "FUCK OFF WITH YOUR OVERSENSTIVITY" in a heartbeat. It was those words coming my way after finally, finally collecting the pieces of my own self-worth (a hard thing to say even now) and finally finding people in various interesting places to support the idea that I had self-worth and dignity and proposed more than just the mere suggestion that I could be respected, that my ideas could be respected, too, that hit me the hardest. Because it was the old hitting the new. It was a past calling from its grave. Those words were a violent shake to what I'd come to know, surprising and shocking and then, all of a sudden, not the least bit jarring. Of course it wasn't. Of course I was the one out of line. Of course I was the uptight one, the oversensitive one, the feminist, the french-influenced liberal bitch. (Ha HA! I'm not liberal anything. If only knew how little Canada was influenced by French anything.) Of course I was the projection of everything negative about a woman having the actual gall to not only get healed to a place of feeling worthy enough to stand up for herself, but to call out the trend of typical behaviour in all of them. All three men. All three defensive, temperamental, controlling men. The trend of sending, saying, giving, joking their sister/daughter bullshit, inappropriate jokes until the end of time even after being asked not to and could they please not and so on and then freaking the hell out because they did not get the reaction or response they felt they should get. Heaven forbid it actually repulse me and make me feel awkward. Heaven forbid I ask nicely for them not to be like that with me and they actually show enough respect to DO IT without backhanded jabs. (I have actually received "oh, sorry, didn't want to offend you" texts from all three of them in the sore aftermath of incidents where I've said something and they've sent me other jokes that are truly harmless. That's so over-the-top.)

And all of this, ALL of it, nothing much unto itself. Stories here, instances there, dotted and speckled throughout the course of knowing each other in broken ways from damaged people. Every family deals with it. But if they had ever looked at me once as a person whose viewpoint could be respected, I could have felt respected, or felt okay to have views different from theirs, or to have my memories just be that - memories set in the past with one perception, not necessarily wrong even if not accurate and either left there or positively addressed. I know I would not have had to request to not be sent/told/relayed/emailed stupid, ignorant, inappropriate jokes more than once over the course of many years. In fact, it's not even that I can't take the joke as much as it is that there is absolute zero reason for it to be sent to a female family member because it's awkward as fuck. Why can't you weirdo men just fucking get that, why don't you?

And for that, I have struggled my entire life to own what I know, what I say, what I do in attempt to ward off how crazy I feel I am. And it streams down from the malignant ideas of an unwell patriarch. I have assigned every bad experience I've had to another person, all because I've not been able to to address that this is the way it has always been with my dad and my brothers. Hot and defensive and broken and controlling. Heaven forbid we hear, much less entertain a contrasting view point. My brothers, being part of the centralized integral unit I grew up in and hardened as they are (and oh, they are) and contributing to the entire yarn ball of useless, negligent mess between us, still do not even begin to compare to the source of their attitudes, which is the trickle of poison of our dad's neanderthal-like thinking. And that's where the sweeping generalization comes in. Each of these men separate in their own experiences now that they're in the world, but absolutely together in their hatred, their meanness. And even though I still forgive (mostly in the hopes that they can forgive me), I do not have to invite the continued abuse.

03 February 2017

Underneath and In Between the Lines

So what bothers me most is the fact that I spent a LOT of time trying to figure out that these men are these kind of men. I'm kind of still chewing on that part, in the wake of getting TO this point. They. Are. These. Type of men. How could I have not seen it? Why did it take me this freaking long to put it together? Puh. 'Cause I'm slow, that's why. Without being self-deprecating I can say, yup. Classic case of getting the punch line hours after the joke has been said. Classic Amy. I've known I've struggled with getting a joke, a point, an angle before. But this. Wow. Because I honestly tried to make things work with them and didn't get that part about a tiger not changing his stripes.

I mean, seriously! Where is the freaking LOVE, already? Huh? Where is it? And how do I, the slow one, the "huh-what" girl, the unwitty sister get to be here. Here, as in time. Before them. Here, as in the only one. Here, as in bizarre twist to life, knowing what I was given and taught (and knowing ALL that I've been given and taught). These people had catechism drilled into their heads! These people evangelized "blood is thicker than water," not even aware of the older proverb debated as containing more to it ("the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb", implying that the ordinary meaning is actually reversed,) and still didn't put the disputed version into veritable action. They lost their catechism. They lost something. They lost more than just regimented church lessons. It's the spirit of love that governs all of it that they lost. Or maybe never had. Who knows.

The point is the sadness of it. And the sheer isolation. And the sheer irony. 

Sadness. Missing out on the love and the deeper connection. The bitter, dismal, heartbroken, melancholy, pessimistic, sorrowful, dejected, despairing, cheerless, despondent, disconsolate, anguished hell that only comes from the absence of higher love. And never knowing if I contributed to it, never knowing if I'll get to apologize for my part in exacerbating the problem. And now, not even wanting to. At least that's what I'm telling myself until enough time goes by, and I start relenting, start being soft again, try talking to them again, and then they say or do something else as equally awkward or vulgar or offensive or just plain disrespectful.

Isolation. It's brought them to be independently segregated from each other and confined to themselves and their cycled and recycled thoughts. Thoughts that emerge from unsubstantial basis and coagulate into malignant theories and are rarely checked against the backdrop of meaningful, solid, and consequential greater good.

Irony. That I sit here working off my bitterness off as best I can to have a better, fresher, kinder relationship with each one of them but their lack of respect is so embedded that they can only justify their own views with seething, empty rhetoric. That I feel every bit of the slime and negative version of everything they think I am, but get accused of my views and demand respect for theirs. That this whole time, the whole time since leaving home, I have pained over, guilted over, and raked over what I could have done to help them revile me so much because of the reactions I get and yet haven't once experienced them be there for me. (Nope, not once. No you didn't. No you fucking didn't. You spat your words out that sounded good but were nowhere to be found when I needed someone.) Teaching me about God but not truly believing. Teaching me words but not acting.

And that's only the basic start. The tip of the iceberg, people. See, the thing is I used to be on board with them. Right on board. I used to agree that women drivers are the worst. I hated their inappropriate or horrendously graphic jokes, but I would laugh at them. (Didn't want to be uptight, right?) 

I was all about the strict, totalitarian, "you do what I say and you do it now" thing. (Ask my girls.)

I used to own what my dad tried to convey, which was that all men ever wanted was "one thing." So I learned that all men wanted was one thing. I never imagined I could be engaged for who I was or how I thought or the values I carried, but I was expected to have those traits. 

I learned that respect from them was earned, but respect for them was demanded. If only I could have known early on that I could keep trying to earn it and would never get it. (No, E, M, D, you don't. You never did. Don't get so hot and pissy with me about it because you are liars. You lie to yourselves and you lie about giving respect. Lie, lie, lie.) 

I learned women shouldn't get fat ("Your mom is pretty overweight," "she let herself go.")

Women shouldn't nag. (I.e. 'I hate doing things for the woman I'm supposed to love and don't.') and that they "expand at the altar." 

Women should put out, make supper, and go to church (because his grandmother allegedly told him in Spanish that a good woman is 3 things: a chef in the kitchen, a saint at church, and a whore in the bedroom.)

I also unwittingly learned that I was not ever going to be shown respect or have respect. I learned that love is mostly conditional. I learned that my opinions don't matter, that my memories aren't what I remember, and that I am laughable and dismiss-able (and they still laugh when they're oh-poor-Amy-ing me!)

But then I also learned, in contrast and thankful juxtaposition to them, in spite of them, that love is the only answer. Not as in some cheeky, chinsy, two-bit throw-out word. But a real action. A real, true, certified, bona fide action word that requires a person to quit being a lazy tosser-outter of fanciful words. And although they keep spitting mine back in my face (which I've done a terrible job at giving - it is difficult to gauge their reception and to know the right timing and I suck at all of it), I know it's a real thing. Real love is more than just words. It soothes, it heals, it aids in the recovery process of wounds, it protects, it grows. It is the silver thread that connects us all. It is the interest of the health of the other person. It's safe (not boobie trapped with guilt mines.) And it empowers. It builds. It lifts up. It does not destroy, as my dad was so keen to affect on us kids. Employed with the earnest lesson of thinking unselfishly but no doubt made empty by his (and my mom's) selfish advantage. (It was always about them.)

And I learned what self-respect was. And self-control. And that my own vile actions were a direct link to letting others control me. I learned because (step one:) I had two daughters that I wanted to teach how they are worthy of the love they got from me, that they could get it guilt-free, that they were worthy of good treatment by a man, to stand up for themselves; and (step two:) I finally found someone who loved all of me for me -- truly, thoroughly, protectively, gently, rationally loved me -- and was the only male and the first person in my entire existence on earth to get it through my thick skull that I was worthy of it. The only male and first person in my entire existence to show me what a amazingly rich and thoroughly loving and cool-breath-of-fresh-air healthy father/daughter relationship looks like because of his daughter. Watching them has helped me grow. Has helped me heal. And I do mean truly. No one else counts before T. No one.

I can appreciate that both of my parents autopilot-ed enough through life to provide opportunities for me to be in band (but I chose the smallest instrument so that it could be the cheapest for them), be in Girl Scouts (that was only mom, though, and she was there taping coupons to groceries on shelves for hours with me), have a few piano lessons.

But as for the men in my family, that is where it stops. The fact that my dad had a duty to correct such piss poor mentalities notwithstanding, the damage has been done by all three. I just have my dad to thank for instilling such stellar, pissant qualities in what has become the fabric of my brothers and such grievously negative attitudes towards me. They don't respect me, they certainly don't love me (how would they know how when they were only ever shown example of how to withdraw love, punish around it, and never, NEVER act upon it), and they certainly have skewed visions of love since Jesus hasn't been much of an example for any of them. (No, boys, you don't. You can't possibly. You wouldn't have the foggiest idea of the real thing if you tried. And even if you honestly, really did and I'm just the sour old sister here, where have you ever employed it?)  

I don't actually hold it personally. If a person wasn't taught better, how can they know better? I can at least say they're not terrible people. I know that Jesus' love calls me to live a life that produces like fruits, and so I have tried to initiate more conversations with them and open doors for them to say whatever they need to say, just in case, you know, they needed to get something off their chest. They've always buffed off my apologies, but you never know. I also know that I would apologize until the end of time if they needed it and answer for my transgressions. But I also know the other side of love and, even though I may have deserved some kind of admonishment for one moment or two or more in the past, as the older sister, the things they've said don't even amount to reproach. They amount to pissy anger. And. As the daughter and sister, I realize that open doors just invite more bullshit. Jesus wouldn't treat a woman that way; and Jesus wouldn't treat another as a contemptible piece of shit. Jesus had boundaries.

To be fair, I haven't been there much for my brothers, either, and I haven't an excuse. But it's the attitudes that make the point here. Terrible, shitty, broken attitudes that don't allow for reparation. And that's all Dad. Had he been a man who could have taken the lessons he imparted on me (!) about the love and mercy of Jesus, and been that gentle, loving, defending protector of not only my physical safety but my emotional and spiritual safety as well, maybe we would not be having this discussion. Maybe the boys would be more tender and be okay with being tender because they would understand that you can still be a big, muthafuckin' badass and still be tender. Jesus was the biggest badass of all and still he had time to be loving and merciful to EVERYONE, including his abusers. Which are all of us. Every last one of us. Jesus reaches out to us, has appeared to some of us, has extended drops of love and mercy which, even in their little parts, are huger than we could ever know of the full extent of His full love, even though we all put him on a cross.

But, at the risk of it all, fuck that whole bit about parents being human and trying. There are humans who try despite their misgivings, still fuck up, but have the idea in their minds to keep trying and make the love and protection the priority. And then there are just humans who don't make it a priority. Humans who are selfish, selfish parents. Humans who are lazy. Humans who are even too lost in their own temper tantrums about the way life did not turn out to focus on the right things and lead their children brightly. Where was the love? That is the difference. People who talk about Jesus. And people who try to live Jesus. The difference is not my perception about itemized interactions with any one of them. But that they still don't get why their way of doing it is maligned and disordered.

29 January 2017

Weakness

So no.

No, you NEVER taught me what I was worthy of. Not once.

You talked and you preached and you pragmatized the shit out of theories, half-born ideas, and conspiratorial things. You instilled fear and jumpy response times.

You even spoke of the love we should have between us, father and daughter, even dreamt of passing on the culture to us kids and interspersing your fragmented views of that with ambiguous and broken pieces of your ideologies.

But your love was limited and limiting. And at the very least, broken.

I have been hurt by you in more ways than one and in overlapping accounts just by the recurring, overlapping sting that your negligence keeps doling out - like the ring of a bell long after it's been smacked - and I have begged and pleaded with God, with others, with friends and non-friends alike, for help to overcome the immeasurable myriad of complications to have come from that chasm.

But I could forgive all of that if only it hadn't rained on down through my brothers.... men whose views on women are poisoned as your own, ultimately and finally allowing them to label ME as oversensitive, telling me to "fuck off with [my] oversensitivity", as "not being able to take a joke" because degradation is somehow funny. Degradation of the human being is somehow okay. Forgetting the value that a saviour FAR greater than you has placed on the worth of a human soul. Somehow, in your bullshit, broken, "I don't need God" superior piety found in your maligned and disordered views, it's up to your victims to suck it up, it's never up to you to be the gentle protector.

And it doesn't matter how many times I've tried to rise above the nature of that portion of the relationships I have with each of you TO retain some kind of relationship with you, not one of you, not even the gentle brother of the two, can find it in your hearts to stop being royal dicks. It doesn't matter how much garbage I have to wade through to be someone you would want to talk to or have on your side, I can always trust that you will always turn, grindingly turn, carving out the ground in your spin as you revile me, and froth at the mouth. Because, heaven forbid, someone have an opinion you don't agree with. Heaven forbid I was actually sensitive and that be acceptible to you, dear brutes.

And OH MAN, does this feel/sound familiar. Oh, does it ever. Like a tattered, useless blanket would. Ugly but familiar. Grievously underqualified for its task to warm, but all you know and something you've always had to work with. Oh yes, I can dare identify it because it takes one to know one. How many YEARS have I spent controlling, manipulating people's responses. I didn't even know I was doing it and then when I did, I didn't know how much worse it had been because it was still seeping into every corner of my current relationship. How many relationships have I ruined or exchanges I've tainted with my easily butthurt, defensive, tantrumey, fit-throwing reactions! Oh yes, like a familiar blanket indeed. Sick and useless. Oh yes, the facade of warmth. Like as with many transgressions to have passed in our path.

So I propose nothing. I have no answers, no suggestions, not even an offer to strike a deal with. There is no such thing as negotiations with hardened men. I desire nothing, I hope for nothing. I just pray for the silence to move into walls that cannot be climbed.

15 January 2017

Except...

Except I kind of answered my own question. I was young and immature and there is just no two other ways about it. What pains me was the question of how and why the how (to learn) had to be because I knew I just couldn't have been that dumb or even that stubborn that I would have completely ignored or otherwise dismissed kinder guidance than what was my pinging around a pinball machine. Seriously. That's what I compared it to in the early days. Being a pinball in the rude, crude, harsh slap of the bumpers and flippers, banging around without cause, left only to my own resources (almost none), and nothing - nothing that resembled a stable place to crawl into and call home.

But I was. It's a memory that sears at me like the way Gordon Ramsay sears his steaks. Not only being underdeveloped emotionally in so many ways and trying to deal with the heat of external forces, but absolutely confused as to why it was presented to me in the ways that it was. A longtime, dear friend of mine once told me, after I pouted about some invitation she sluffed off, that I sounded like a victim and that I made it sound as though all the things to happen to me in my life were mere happenstances that I had no control of. In one of many erred attempts to achieve peace and renewal in my life, I had thought of my ex and I renewing our vows. It was going to be the ten year mark. We had been through so much. It was going to be the wedding we never had. In my retaliation to it just not seeming that important to her, I railed off to her in an email about how x, y, and z had happened and didn't we just deserve a do-over, yadda, yadda.

To me, a vast majority of the things I'd gone through, either alone or with my ex, did feel as though they happened TO me. I didn't have any control over cancer. I didn't have control over what people thought the day we got married. I didn't have control over my ex's joints or the way people behaved in a predominantly isolated community. I didn't have control over the way his aunt treated us when I moved in with her. In fact, I didn't have control over much. Maybe that's why I was a controlling bitch for so much of those ten years. But even before that, as a single mom knowing I needed to make things work, I couldn't control the work force or what my employers paid me or hours they gave me. I couldn't control that the university kept changing their requirements for a degree which didn't take me long to learn I would not be getting. And for after that, I couldn't control what decisions my spouse would or would not make that added to the mounting pressure of feeling absolutely helpless.

But my friend was right. Enough to jar my fragile ego and wire-scrambled brain and get me thinking. Although she didn't use as many words, what she said helped me to infer with quite a bit self-actualization that I was indeed, not taking responsibility for the things I could control and certainly not viewing the outcomes that came from my choices as that - outcomes born of my choices. I had control over whether or not to move to Canada. I had the option of educating myself on what that would mean or educating myself on my choices before I had even made them. I had control whether or not to marry my ex at all or stay with him after the worst appeared to be over. It would have been an ugly choice, but it was still one nonetheless, and my friend's words have stayed with me for these great many years. I had control over more choices than I realized. It opened an entire other realm of opportunities for me - making choices, viewing things with less doom and gloom, understanding (FINALLY, it would seem) that I had a lot more control over my life than I realized, and releasing the grip I had on other less important things. It also made me realize, much to my horror, the level of frantic, busy-body senselessness I was operating at and, thusly, that she was probably witnessing the same spiral in me as I saw in her mother. It horrified me enough to stop me in my tracks. 

As for a little background, my friend had grown up knowing by the age of 9 that she was already more mature than even her elder parents, never mind siblings, and learned early on that she was going to have to be steering these people as best she could. It's a burden she's dealt with that no child should ever have to bear witness to. But it also made her far more emotionally solid than any of her peers at any given stage of her life and that is what I lacked. She was able to connect or disconnect emotion with logic far more clearly than I'd ever seen an example of in my life, and for me, she made things so clear and stately. I had grown up, on the other hand, connecting emotion to everything and doing so in great volumes. I didn't just need a solid voice like that in my ear, my wounded soul craved it.

My parents, in contrast to her elderly ones (she was the third of four children), were super young and gravely immature themselves and I was the oldest of three children. I learned how to connect emotion to everything, be guilted into actions by emotion, muddle and enmesh all my decisions with emotion or make them based on emotion, and watch my own kid parents demonstrate their own selfish behaviour solidly out of emotion. Even later on I would learn how entangled that mess was because I had seen "detachment" up on the virtue board at the school where my ex worked, absolutely confounded as to how detachment could ever be considered a virtue, worked on that over the years, and STILL found that the behaviours I tried to weed out actually ran far deeper in my blood than my own blood. Aaack.

How could I have stood a chance in the real world when my examples were selfishness, guilt-driven actions (of just about any kind), bent ideologies, and only hints of rationale here and there? How would I have been anything but underdeveloped, slightly entitled, bully AND soft going out into the world?

But I still don't understand why I had to learn more about myself the way I had to. Of course I needed to learn the material. Absolutely. But it would have been nice to have it been handed to me a little more softly.

But I digress. The fact remains, regardless of the how or why, that I needed it. I needed whatever this bootcamp is to get as far as I have.