This bothers me–but maybe it shouldn’t

Today is my brother’s birthday.

Before you say “And we care about this because…?” I’ll tell you.

My mom posted on Facebook a photo montage of my brother and some really sappy words saying how proud she was of the man, husband–yes, the Lord of Lassitude finally married the lady he gave that ring to a couple years back–and father he’s become.

Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.

Yes, this is the Lord of Lassitude we’re talking about. The guy who has four kids by three women. The guy who can’t keep a job and blames the fact that he can’t on his possession of black skin. The guy who expects the world to hand him a living on a platter and gets mad when he has to actually–ugh–work.

This is the guy my mother is being all sappy and gushy on Facebook about.

What I’m wondering is: where was *my* gushy Facebook birthday post, Mother? Where were your probably tearful and sappy words talking about how proud you are of me and the fact that I’m holding down a job and a household and have been doing both–with no help from you or anyone else–for a year now? Where are the words about how you’re proud of me and the person I’ve become? Huh?

I’ve managed to have a (somewhat) workable household. I have a job I enjoy. I pay my bills. I do my own taxes. I’m learning to use a sewing machine and to do basic household repairs. Sometime soon, I’m going to start learning to fight with a staff (which is something I’m really looking forward to). All this is stuff I never thought I could do.

My mother doesn’t know the intricacies of my life, but damn it, she knows I can budget and that I know how to work. Why can’t she congratulate me for those things, but can congratulate my brother for the things he’s “accomplished” and the person he’s “become”?

The guests who won’t leave: a dream

A bit of backstory: My parents came out to Louisiana for my grandmother’s 82nd birthday on the 28th. They want to make the two hour drive to see me. I am less than enthusiastic about this, but I figure it’s like medicine: I get it all down in one gulp, and I won’t have to do it again for a while.

So I had a dream last night.

My parents get here and nothing goes right. I can’t placate them, I can’t shut them up. All par for the course, but they would not leave. They said I needed them here since I obviously fail at caring for myself. They said I needed a keeper.

They come and take over my life. They take over my room, commandeer my bed. My dad goes to my job and basically does it better than I could ever do it. They make their home here and nothing I say can make them leave me alone.

Marriage thoughts brought to you by Facebook

There’s a comment discussion going on over on Facebook about how to answer when/if your little girl asks you why she can’t marry her father. I know that’s a stage most small children go through and there’s nothing creepy about it, but apparently some of the commenters think it’s incest or perverted or something.

One of the commenters said that a little girl’s father is her first love, her first “crush” so to speak.  That got me thinking.

When I was that young, I never wanted to marry my father, like some girls say. I never even wanted someone like him to marry. Even though I wasn’t sure of all the intricacies of marriage, what I saw did nothing to make me desire it. To me, a marriage was the same thing as selling your soul away to some man in exchange for a roof, food, and a place to put your clothes (recall, I was 5 or 6 making these assumptions, so sex never entered my head).

I looked at my mother’s life married to my father. She never saw any of her friends, never went out by herself or with them. She hardly talked any of her friends, because my father didn’t care for them. She never did the things she wanted to do. When I asked her once when I was a bit older why she never went out for a girls’ night, she looked at me and said “Because your dad doesn’t like that.”

Even to 9 year old me that sounded sad, and I thought she was being stupid.

All her time was taken up catering to him and what he wanted, what he thought. Granted, my dad doesn’t think very deeply about much of anything, but my mother was so busy trying to keep his tantrums at bay that she had no time for herself–and had somehow talked herself into believing she was happy with this situation for years.

I looked at that, and at other marriages I saw (mainly my aunts and uncles). They were all full of unhappy women saddled with the housework and the bill paying and the children while the men got to basically sit on their asses and think and act like they were kings–at least when they weren’t acting like cranky 3 year olds. And the women told us (their daughters/nieces) that this is what a happy marriage looked like!

If being married meant getting stuck with somebody like my dad (or my uncles), if it meant becoming an appendage of my husband, if it meant not living for myself and being a slave,  then I vowed to never be married, to save myself the heartache and brainwashing that those women had obviously had.

My opinion of marriage hasn’t changed much from then, I’m sad to say. It still seems like slavery and a sucker bet most of the time. Have I seen good marriages? I’ve seen marriages that looked good from where I was standing as an outsider. That doesn’t mean anything, though.  I think there are good marriages out there, but they’re few and far between.

You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em

“It’s smart to know when to throw in the towel.”

So said the Keeper of the Holograms when I talked to her today. She’s firmly on the “come back home” side of the debate.

I feel stuck in the middle. Nothing is happening here, but nothing will happen if I go home, either, leaving me with no gain. The things I’m doing here are things I was doing at my mom’s house, so again, no gain there either. Now that summer’s here, the kids will be home all day, so I need to decide how I’m going to handle that. At my mom’s house, at least there’s somewhere to go if the noise gets to be too much. Right now, my mom (and others of the family) are telling me of all these job opportunities that are cropping up there. If I went home, they would dry up and suddenly there’d be job opportunities out here. It’s happened to me before. I don’t feel useful here. At my mom’s house, I felt useful.

There are as many reasons to stay here as there are reasons to go back home. Both things are pretty even. I don’t know what the best thing to do is.

You could go home again

I’m feeling discouraged. I’ve been here for six months now and nothing, absolutely nothing is happening on the job front–not even with the job I have, as they have zero positions to hand out.

There are other reasons I feel this way, reasons I won’t discuss here.

Because I’m feeling discouraged, I called my mother to talk to her. I told her how I was feeling, told her why I felt that way. She said I could go back home if I wanted to.

I told her that going back home means I failed at getting my life off the ground–again. She said that I haven’t failed; I just haven’t been able to find my place as yet. She said that I was trying to start my life, and that’s good, since lots of people won’t even attempt it.

She told me again that I could come home if I wanted to, that she wasn’t forcing me to make a decision.

I feel bad for calling my mom to complain about my feelings. I feel bad that I needed to complain in the first place. I’m grateful for what my friends are doing for me. But if nothing’s happening here, then going home might be the best option.

All I can do right now is think about it.

Thoughts on going no contact

I don’t know why the thought of going no contact is so hard. I hardly have contact with them as it is; they prefer that I call them, but I don’t have much to say, so I only call if it’s a birthday, someone is recovering from being sick, or I have NEWS. Other than that, there’s no reason to talk to them every day, or even once a week.

So why am I waffling over it?

One: it feels like desertion of the highest order to just walk away from all of it. I can’t change them, no, but maybe that’s not what I’m supposed to learn here. Maybe I’m supposed to learn how to keep going no matter what obstacles are in the way.

Two, I feel guilty for even considering it. They’re family, right? No matter how bad family is, you’re supposed to keep some kind of communication open with them, not just decide to walk off the field.

And then there’s this: what if I end up needing them? What if I end up needing something from them and the first thing they say is “Well, you wouldn’t talk to us for X amount of time, so sucks to be you.” ?

But then I think about this:

Let’s say I don’t do this. Let’s say that I keep letting this go and it gets worse. I don’t know what would be worse right now, but insert whatever your favorite worst-case scenario happens to be. The worst happens and I end up basically telling all of them where they can stick it in the screamiest blow-up in the history of blow-ups. I don’t think I’d feel good about having my last words to them forever be something horrid, or about the fact that in order to gain what I wanted I had to hurt them.

Sigh. I just don’t know. This is a really hard choice.

The reckoning

I just got off the phone with the Keeper of the Holograms. It appears the inevitable has happened, and they’ve put the house up for “sale”. I can only say thank you God, that I’m not there to deal with the chaos that’s happening to them right now. And additional thanks to God that I was nudged to move my stuff out of there.

She was very calm about it. She says she has no idea where they will go but that “God will help us”. Okay. I believe God will help, but that doesn’t mean you sit on your butt and do nothing.

Sigh. I hope it works out for them.