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”?

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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.

A ramble, I guess

I wrote out a list of truths in my last post (thanks for the very supportive comments, readers. I really appreciate them).

Now I feel like writing rebuttals for every one of them, but I won’t. The rebuttals are sitting in my head, screaming at me to write them down. I won’t do it, though.

So, what are you going to write in this great, jumping-up morning? you ask.

I think I’m going to write about when I was a little girl.

Recall, I was my parents’ Child, version 1.0. I learned things early; according to the Keeper of the Holograms, I walked early, talked early, learned to read early. I guess it was a relief to them, after the hell of my babyhood.

But when the later editions of Child software came (the Bestower of Righteous Silliness and the Lord of Lassitude, namely), it was like the parental doors shut and left me alone. I didn’t notice it in very early childhood, but once I was attending school all day, I saw it more.

I had always felt that my parents didn’t particularly want me around, always underfoot, but I thought it was a general reaction to being the parents of three small kids.

I don’t know if I can describe what it feels like to see in your mother’s head that you are a burden to her. That she wishes you could go away and do something other than wanting to sit near her, like the babies.

I know parents get harried and annoyed. But when you’re six, you don’t understand that; all you know is what you know and/or can sense.

I used to write stories about girls who ran away and found their real families, families who had been looking for them and loved them forever and ever, no matter what. I used to hope that I was adopted and that, somewhere, someday, my real parents would come get me and take me away. I used to pray for it. I know all kids think that, but for me it was a fervent hope, for years.

I still feel ashamed for admitting that. It’s not something everybody knows.

Anyway, I was always on the outside of the family circle, looking in. The Keeper of the Holograms says that this was a choice I made, that I could have changed it at any time. I could probably change it now, yes. But then? What could I have done?

 

I’m sorry; I don’t know what I was aiming for, writing this. Looking back and crying over spilled milk never helps. Goodnight, all.

Behold: this is what happens when I open my mouth

I was in the car with Volcano and the Keeper of the Holograms, on the way to the grocery store. I reminded them to turn their clocks back an hour before bed, and then mentioned that Arizona doesn’t do Daylight Savings Time, and how I kept forgetting that when I was there last year. I mentioned that I missed it, and if I hadn’t had to come back, I wouldn’t have.

Cue trusty script format!

Volcano: What was so good about being there?

Me: It was a relief to be there.

Volcano: Relief like how?

Me: It just was. It was nice to be there–nice to be not here.

Volcano: Are you saying that you’d rather be there with complete strangers than here with your family? What’s wrong with here?

KotH comes to attention here.

KotH: I don’t understand it. I told you last year that it was a bad idea.

Me: Yes, you did. Very vocally.

KotH: So what was so good about being there, living on other people?

Me: I wasn’t stressed, and I was only responsible for me.

KotH: You’re not stressed here, and you’re only responsible for you! What was so different there?

Me (sighing): It’s not worth arguing about.

Volcano: Who’s arguing? We’re having a discussion.

Me: Yeah, but it’ll turn into an argument very soon, and I don’t want to go there.

KotH: So you’re saying that you’re stressed here? Do you mean the cooking and cleaning and stuff? When I’m off, I clean and cook and stuff.

Me: Yeah, but what about everybody else? There’s not just the two of us here in this house.

KotH: So you’re saying that those people you lived with cleaned and did the dishes and stuff.

Me: Yes. They washed their own stuff, and cleaned up after themselves.

KotH: I don’t believe that. You weren’t there long enough to say that’s how it was going to stay. Anyway, cleaning up was the least you could do, since you weren’t contributing anything

Me: I was. I made sure there was food in the house while I was there.

KotH: That’s not the same.

Me: So making sure people don’t starve isn’t contributing?

KotH: No. (Seeing the look on my face, perhaps remembering where we’re going). It’s not the same.

Volcano: So you’re saying that you’d rather be with strangers than here with us? You must not value us. Family is supposed to stick together. Family will be there for you when strangers won’t.

Me (thinking): It depends on the family, I think.

KotH: Whatever you did there you could do here! We need help. You’d rather help strangers than your own blood.

Me: I never said that. I don’t know why you think that.

KotH: I know you want your own stuff. I understand that. It just seems like you want to leave and go far away from us, the further away the better.

Me (thinking): If I could, I’d be light-years away from this, believe me.

KotH (continuing her thought): But there’s ways to do that. I don’t think going away to live with strangers, miles away from anyone you know, was the right way to do it.

Me: So you said then. Again, very vocally.

KotH: I just don’t understand it.

Me: If I told you, you wouldn’t understand, and we’d end up arguing about it. I’d rather not. Let’s drop it now.

And scene.

Pardon me while I go beat my head against a wall.

Growing men and other kinds of creatures

The Lord of Lassitude proposed to his girlfriend today, and the Keeper of the Holograms is over the moon about it.

Me? Well, I pity the girl. Baby or not, the Lord of Lassitude is not prime husband material. But I did the proper thing and congratulated them and wished them luck and happiness.

But I didn’t come here to kvetch about my brother’s fitness for marriage. What I came here to talk about is the conversation KotH and I had about it after we were told he had done it.

I love script format. 🙂

Me: I hope he thought about it before he decided to do it.

KotH: He needs to be married. It takes a woman to make a man.

Me: ‘Make a man’? Please. You can’t “make” grown people. LoL can make himself, if he wants to. She can’t “make” him anything.

KotH:  [LoL’s fiancee] can give him a reason to do things.

Me: He’s got two kids and one on the way! What more “reason” does he need to do anything? If he wanted to be different, he’d be different, fiancee or not.

KotH: Why are you being so negative? He has to start somewhere!

Me: I hope [LoL’s fiancee] knows what she’s getting into.

KotH: It takes work to grow a man, yes.

Me: I’m not interested in growing some man like I’d grow a houseplant. If he wants to get grown, why can’t he do it himself? I have my hands full trying to grow myself. The only people you have to worry about growing are yourself and children, not other adults. You grow relationships, not adults.

And scene.

My mom…I don’t know. It’s like she has blinders on. I know she wants to believe that my brother can become different, but she thinks that an outside force–namely a soon-to-be wife–can make him. He can be different if he wanted to be–kids and fiancee or not. He is the only one who can decide to be different.

That’s all, folks.

My relationship with touch

I got this exercise from http://www.thewellspring.com

My relationship with touch has always been a somewhat love/hate one. I don’t mind touching or being touched–as long as I can decide when and who I want to touch or have touch me.  I didn’t get this choice when I was a child.

In my family, touch is mandated, not an option. When we’d go to family get-togethers, it was expected that we hug every adult present. If we didn’t, we’d be yelled at and exhorted to hug and touch (“Go over there and hug your auntie! Don’t you love her?”).

I hated this, because I felt like my choice wasn’t being respected. There were times I would rather not have touched anyone; there were people I didn’t particularly want to touch or have touch me. When I expressed this, I was told that I was abnormal or weird or antisocial, since my family are very (surface-wise, at least) touchy people.

As I got older, touch become a way to control my personal space. I decide how close to get to a person; I decide if I want to touch them, to include them in my personal space.

But now, with this breaking open of my feelings, I see that I was wrong to do that.  Now, I don’t touch anyone, no matter if I want or need to. I’m terrified to touch anybody.

As far as what the doctors call psychological touch (acceptance, acknowledgement, approbation, etc.)…well, that’s something I never really got much of, unless I was following the Life Script ™.

I try to give my nieces and nephew both types of touch. I hug them, give them cuddles. Most importantly (to me, at least), I don’t press them to hug me if they don’t want to.  I want them to know that they can control their bodies, their personal space. If they don’t want to be touched, I leave them alone, and tell them that it’s okay to not want to hug sometimes.

I just wish I could find a way to bridge the way I touch the kids to touching adults.

Blood is not Thicker than Water

My mother is saddened by the fact that none of her children are best friends.

The absolute truth is, I don’t like either of my siblings, and I think the feeling is pretty close to mutual. We don’t hate each other, but if we weren’t family we wouldn’t hang out.  We’ve known this for years and we’re all okay with it. If either of them ever really needed me, I’d be there, and they say the same.

Apparently this isn’t enough for the Keeper of the Holograms, who says that family should want to be together 24/7 and agree about everything and never fight, ever. I tell my mother that families are made up of people, and there’s no law anywhere that says you have to like everyone you’re related to just because you happen to share blood with them. She doesn’t like this attitude–which is funny considering she doesn’t like one of her sisters and actively avoids talking to her as often as she can.

Because her children aren’t joined at the hip, bosom buddies, and not inclined to want to be around each other normally, the Keeper of the Holograms believes she is a terrible person who failed as a parent. She keeps asking how we can not really like each other much when we were all raised together in the same house with the same rules and expectations.

Again, families are made of people, and you’re not going to like everybody, Mom. Yes, this includes siblings.

Needless to say, my mother thinks this response is cold and lacking in any family feeling whatsoever.

As I said above, if ever either the Bestower of Righteous Silliness or the Lord of Lassitude really needed me, I’d be there.  If they were in need and I had what they needed and could give it without depriving myself of having enough to meet my own needs–or impinging on my sanity–they could get it and welcome.

My mother just can’t understand that my not liking them much doesn’t mean I don’t love them.