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.

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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.

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.

A no family holiday: is that too much to ask?

I’ve been away from the homeplace for about three weeks now, and it has begun just as I predicted it would.

I’ve not been calling the Keeper of the Holograms or any of the rest of them, except for the Bestower of Righteous Silliness, to talk to the kids. That’s once a week, tops. There have been (and still are) birthdays that will demand calls, but I keep the conversations to a minimum.

But today I get my aunt calling me. This aunt (along with my grandmother and most of my mom’s siblings) lives in Louisiana. She asked me what I was doing for Thanksgiving. I told her that I wasn’t doing anything, probably. She asked me about Christmas and New Year’s, and I told her I don’t know; if I’m lucky, I’ll be working then. I asked her why, and she said that she wanted to come get me so I could “spend some real holiday time” with them.

…Yeah, I don’t know either. I don’t want to spend the holidays with any of them; I don’t want to see any of them. Here’s my first year of being away from them at the most difficult time of year, and they want me to go back there? I’m looking forward to not cooking a huge monster meal, not having to deal with trying to pretend everything’s perfect and happy-happy, and mostly not having to put on a false face. They want me to go there to “spend time” with them, but I know what that means.

These particular family members haven’t done anything to me, but I don’t want to be with any of them. I don’t want to have to feel impelled to explain why I’ve done what I did, or how I feel about it. I just want to spend the reminder of 2012 in a place that’s as stress-free as I can manage.

I don’t feel like having family in my face, trying to pry information out of me that they can take back to my mother (my aunt told me that she was calling at my mother’s insistence). I just want to have a restful holiday.

Is it wrong to feel that way? I know I’m not more than an hour away from them, but he thought of seeing them does not make me happy.

Evidence of the falling apart of the homeplace

The time changed a few days back. I knew it was coming, so I made sure to text both Volcano and the Keeper of the Holograms the day before to remind them. Why, yes, usually I handle those things, how did you know?

Well, you can guess how that wound up.

I hear from the Keeper of the Holograms the next day. She got to work an hour early. “Why didn’t you remind me to change my clock? You know I can’t remember that stuff.”

…What? I left her a text message! I could’ve just let them swing, but I thought enough of them to text and be sure they knew what was coming.  It’s not my fault that she forgot.

Oh, and a curiousity: since I’ve left, the Keeper of the Holograms always sounds down on the phone. Draggy, sad, like she’s heading into a deep depression. She mouths all the right words, but she’s nowhere near meaning them. I don’t know what her problem is. She was never happy when I was there, but now she’s not happy I’m gone?

Update

I’ve left my family back at the homeplace!

So you won’t hear any more about the Keeper of the Holograms, Volcano, the Bestower of Righteous Silliness or the Lord of Lassitude, except in passing. No more direct interactions with them except by phone, text or e-mail.

I’m living for a time with childhood friends. I haven’t found good nicknames for them yet, but when I do I’ll add them to the intro post.

The fam wasn’t happy when I told them I was heading ’em up and moving ’em out a few states away from them. They told me I was making a horrible mistake, that I was going to be used, that I was abandoning them in their “time of need”, and how could I do that?

The Lord of Lassitude hit me with his (and Volcano’s) displeasure about a week before I left in a very ugly scene that left me shaken and afraid. It was bad, really, really bad. Let’s just say he called me every name in the book, threatened me, and basically threw his weight around–both metaphysically and emotionally. Needless to say, my last week at home was tense.

Getting here was an adventure. I was on the bus for a day and a half, and the bus got stopped at a border town to check for illegal immigrants. A couple people were pulled off the bus and had their stuff searched, but they and their stuff got back on the bus, angry but unscathed.

I had a time actually getting to my friends, but I made it here. They know about what I left behind, and want to help me get my feet under me and get my life started. I’m very grateful to them.