I think it’d be cool to have a leap year birthday.
But that’s not why you’re here, is it, Constant Reader? You’re here for more ranting, more gnashing of the teeth, more angst, aren’t you?
Heh, heh, and you shall HAVE it!
As you know from the front page, I was visiting the familial units last week. My Dad has prostate cancer, so I wanted to go forth and see how they were holding up. To my surprise, everyone seemed relatively sane and sensible–although they do tend to play pretend when I’m around, due to their fervent belief that I am a) flighty b) unstable and c) unable to be of any assistance whatsoever.
It has become my mission to prove them wrong and be helpful during this time, as long as it does not require donning latex gloves. Ick. Hey, my brother the paramedic can do *that* stuff. Not me, man!
While I was in Knoxville, I hooked up with my friend Brian briefly. We went to the TEE-ired gay bar The Carousel and watched the drag show. While there, I ran into this guy that is a friend of my brother’s, so I had to sit there and chit chat about my family with him for half an hour.
I finished Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells. I didn’t think I’d really get into it, but as it turned out, that book touched on a nerve or two. The book is written from the perspective of various members of a Louisiana family. The story is always present tense, but some of it is in the past and some of it is current. [This is a part of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood trilogy. -A]
The character of Siddalee reminds me of myself as I struggled to grow up with little help from my parents. My mother was not neglectful like Siddalee’s, but she did not have the ability to connect with me at all, so I ended up keeping to myself and deciding things for myself at an early age. The end result for me and the character is similar, however. I feel a longing to be a part of my family and their small town, yet I am not able to do it. I can’t bear the backward attitudes, the narrow mindedness, the accent, the tiny little sphere of existence that is their world. I got rid of the Tennessee accent, moved to a large city and began to build my life without the support of my family. It was a choice I had to make to keep my sanity and the family cut me off because of it. That makes me sad, but I stand by my decision.
The parallels continue, in that Siddalee’s little brother chose to stay in the small town, and he resents her moving away. Just like my little brother. I hate that he feels that way, but on the other hand, I’m about 1000 times happier than he is, so I guess I did the right thing.
After I had stopped bawling about all this, I saw a plastic shoebox of photos under the nightstand, so I pulled it out. It was full of pix I’d seen a hundred times, but they were all mixed up: my brother at 2 years, me at 10, my Granny in the 60’s, my Mom with me as a newborn, my father as a teen in the navy, my Mom’s grandmother, my father’s grandfather, me and my brother at my Granny’s in the 70’s, my father’s navy portrait, my mother in her 8th grade prom dress, my Papaw and Granny dressed up for Easter in the 50’s or early 60’s, my aunt and uncle at party for my Granny in the 60’s, me, my bro and our friend in high school around 1980 [WOW I was skinny!!], on and on.
I realized that that box of photos was like life: mixed up, entangled, out of order. And with this realization, I began to bawl all over again! Once I calmed down again, I felt very calm and grateful and GOOD. I am grateful for my fucked up family because we ARE family and we love each other in our own ways, despite everything else. It is my goal to reestablish some sort of connection with them in some way.
I think I understand the saying “it’s all good” now. Because it is. All the stuff that makes up this clusterfuck we call life is good. I guess I just forget that sometimes.
[I wish I could report that I ever did get back “in” with my family. I did not. We are currently not speaking. :( -A March 2015]