As fucked as you want it to be

Well, work screwed me out of my magical writing time this Saturday (yesterday, as it is now early Sunday). I had to go in at 9, and I was there until about 10:30. It’s hard not to be annoyed by that. It was overtime…but does 1.5 hours at time and a half even really matter?

I try not to talk about work, or the political state of the world, which is difficult because the 45th president was inaugurated last Friday and yesterday millions of Americans shows up in cities across the country for the Women’s March. It was inspiring to see so many people I know at those things. But then, of course, we all know conservative idiots who think Jesus wants it to be the 1850s again, women the same age or younger than me sharing memes about how THEY certainly were not being represented by the “Women’s March” and they wished they’d used a different name and bitch bitch bitch. Like it’s so easily to be so fucking disgusted by humanity after about fifteen minutes on the comments sections of any given social media. So many women were like “I HAVE rights, what are all of these people whining about?” First of probably don’t you’ve just internalized your role in the hegemonic discourse of daily life so seeking something better (dare I say, equal) doesn’t seem possible. Also, there are plenty of people who don’t have the rights you’re apparently so inundated with…so….maybe let them protest? Then of course all the brilliant people who are like “Abortion is murder, don’t have sex if you don’t want to face a possible pregnancy!” Those are also the same people who say they don’t “believe in” gay marriage, but they still “love” homosexuals. Uh….denying someone equal rights as a human being because it violates YOUR PERSONAL religious beliefs is some goddamn bigotry. Not that I like throwing that word around. It sucks being called that. PLUS, actual bigots do this thing where they’re like “By calling ME a bigot, you’ve actually just made yourself one!” so…idk it’s annoying. It’s all annoying and people disgust me. Nothing new I guess.

So my writing time got ruined on Saturday, which is typically when I’m most prolific. So I figured I would try waking up earlier on Sunday and getting into it. But I searched my social media on my phone for awhile before this so now I’m just pissed the shit off. I’m a creative type, but I actually work in conservative field, for a pretty conservative company…so….idk I’m like one of those German citizens whose boss was a Nazi party member pre-1939. That’s a bad analogy. Maybe I’m just arrogant because I’m white. I probably wouldn’t be cracking jokes if I wasn’t just the gender minority. I mean that’s bad enough. I am married to a white guy though, so there’s that. But now I’m distracted.

Okay I guess I’ll pull one from the archives. Again, this is a story that I feel like you should know, but it embodies the spirit of what my adolescent (final) years were at my parents’ house.

But, real quick before that. Okay so I told you about my best friend. Remember how I said I’d have been in 2nd place for cumulative GPA for my grade school? That’s going all the way back to 1st grade too, but then my best friend and her twin transferred in from home schooling, and she was valedictorian and I got bumped. THEN, she left halfway through senior year, right? Well, the yearbooks had already been printed, they always sent the proofs in in December so they were printed by June when the school year ended. I was 11th (GPA-wise) in my senior class. My best friend was in the top ten. She left. If she’d left at the beginning of senior year (i.e. junior year was her last time at the Lutheran high school) I would’ve been in my classes Top Ten. But she was there through December, I think one of the reasons she stayed for that long is because she had a good chance at being valedictorian of that class too, but ruined it with an elective literature class. That and her twin’s REALLY creepy ex were probably huge motivators in leaving. But I just find it funny that two different times my best friend kept me out of a place I kind of deserved. Like with the grade school I remember my dad losing his shit over the idea that these two transfer home school kids were just going to “coast in the last year” (as he kept putting it, that’s one of the mental tortures he’s most fond of, he just keeps telling you the same things/same stories over and over until you react how you’re supposed to react (you know, how he wants not how you actually feel)). Then senior year it’s like I didn’t get to spend the last 6 months of it with my best friend…or with any friends….but I still wasn’t in the class’s Top Ten….even though one of the people pictured in the Top Ten didn’t even end up graduating with us…. As you can tell teenage me was pretty bitter about this. I had a right to be bitter about stuff.

Speaking of being bitter in high school, I think honestly one of the more crushing blows I felt was not making it into NHS junior year. That was another thing I definitely deserved/qualified for. It was really hard not to notice that everyone who’d had a religious mentor (pastor, DCE, etc) write their letter of recommendation was chosen….I’d unwisely picked a teacher I was student aiding for. They told my mom (because I think she called the high school about it because I was that upset…she hadn’t contacted my school about something that upset me since like 8th grade) I was really close to qualifying, I was one of the very last undecideds, but I just quite didn’t make it. Yeah, that’s what I sure wanted to hear. I’d always prided myself very much on doing well academically, I always had. It’s just very devastating to expect something like that because you’re certainly the sort of student who belongs in societies that claim to honor those who do well in school and make time to be well rounded. Like how did they not take into account the fact that I was working as well as doing this well in school and being in extracurricular things? I was a cheerleader freshman and sophomore year, I was in 2 plays. Then I stopped getting picked for parts. But you know who always got parts? Any teachers’ or pastors’ kids who tried out (and there were A LOT of those there). BOY did the faculty look mad whenever you pointed that out. So yeah, I already had some Oh-I-see-how-it-is experience at this place, then this NHS bombshell happens. I remember senior year I was told, and my mom was told, that I should reapply, that I might make it in for that year. I told my mom my application would be a xerox of my middle finger. THEN…a week or so after I found out I wasn’t in, after I had to tell my friends who’d made it in that I didn’t. I remember one friend who probably really resented me because I was the thin, attractive brunette version of herself with a slightly less grating personality, was telling me about some gift her mom had gotten her as a reward for getting into NHS and it REALLY bummed me out. Almost as much as the time I went into school after a night of no sleep/vomiting because I REALLY wanted to audition for the spring play…only to not get a part…not even like a bit/pity one.

In fact…the same teacher who wrote my non-getting-me-into-NHS letter of rec was the SAME teacher who directed that play…who didn’t give me a role. Damn, maybe she hated me. I bring that out in some people. My fifth grade teacher…omfg she was a raving lunatic bitch to me sometimes, like I REALLY was not that bad, and she had it out more for me than the dried up cunt that I had for 4th AND 6th grade. For YEARS I told myself my 5th grade teacher couldn’t help it, she was settling into the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s (her mom had died quite tragically/young from that). BUT, she’s still alive and well! Like…19 years later! I mean, that’s good for her and all, but she REALLY WAS just being a big fat bitch to me all those years! I always told myself not to focus on it but I accidentally came across her FaceBook….she’s not suffering from Alzheimer’s at all! Agghhhhh! My mom always says my brothers “problems” started when he was in the 4th grade, the teacher he had had it out for him, and it changed his personality forever. Of course if you knew my mom, you’d understand why she thinks that. I’m sure she was an insufferable bitch towards my brother (I had this teacher for a single class in the 4th and 6th grade but this particular bitch teacher liked girls and was only irrationally harsh on boy students, so she and I were on fine terms) but I think my brother’s problems stem from home/genetics more than from school. Like a lot of people have an absolute shit time in grade school and high school. It’s kind of better that way because you don’t miss it. Like not for millions of dollars would I relive a year of my first 18. NOPE.

It’s always progressively gotten better, that’s always been true, every year. There have been some BAD years..let me tell you…since then. When I first met him my husband his this naive, rose-colored-glasses, everyone-wants-to-be-your-friend-and-is-trustworthy, dazed, out-of-touch perspective on life. I saw him learn the hard way a few times that he was stupid to trust people who were clearly only out to take advantage of him. And someone like my husband back then is going to attract those sorts of people, so it wasn’t hard for him to get mixed up with shadiness. But, he never got in trouble, he has no criminal record. And I get he was only 20 when we met, but I was about 2 decades older in a lot of ways. But if he read that, I’m sure he’d be upset by it. At first I told him he could read the blogs I was going to write, but then I changed my mind because I didn’t want to have to censor myself. There’s A LOT of this that he could read, but he’d get mad if he saw some of things I said about his sister…and his mom….I need to be able to get incredibly emotional and be honest for once. I think he would understand my need for that sort of platform. Because, he has certainly gotten better with age, with his ability to understand my issues. Just this week something kind of funny happened concerning that…

I’d been stewing for several days (my desk job affords me a lot of stewing time, unfortunately) about some things concerning my mother in law. So I was discussing them with my husband because I didn’t want to keep stewing. He agreed that his mom is hyper sensitive towards her own daughter (his other half sister is his dad’s daughter) but that’s because she has no choice really, and that the relationship she had with her stepdaughter, and with me, was her trying to make up for what she didn’t have with her own daughter. Because her relationship with her own daughter had pretty much always been the daughter unloading her problems on her mom, being emotionally and financially and mentally dependent on her mother. He didn’t say that second part, that was me just now but it’s true. And after 4+ decades of that…it’s drained her.

That I can acknowledge, and I guess for her part, she probably doesn’t feel like she has too many options at this point other than to continue to support her daughter even when she makes terrible, horrible life decisions then unloads the resulting backfire directly onto her nearly 70 year old mother. It sounds so bad to say, like if either of them ever read this I think they’d have a fucking break down.

Because, I didn’t really ever think about it…or want to acknowledge it before…but it’s REALLY hard to tell how I really feel most of the time.

The way my husband put it, he was like “Well [his mom] thinks you’re a lot more normal than you are, it’s kind of hard to tell how upset you really are by things.” Which I kind of found this funny, the normal part. It wasn’t even that long ago, but I said something to him acknowledging that I wasn’t at all normal. He seemed relieved I’d said it first. Which again, that’s kind of funny to me. Like I don’t know, you don’t NOTICE how fucked up something is unless someone blatantly points it out to you. But, one of my biggest issues in the dating department was an inability to express how I felt. I always seemed to come across as something different than what was going on in my head. It’s not hard to trace, because I have SO many memories of having to hide how I really felt, because it was the only way to save face/protect myself from the deep, innate stupidity that drives cruelty that I just felt emanating from others most of my childhood. From the kids at school. The teachers at school. My parents, my brother, my ever changing circle of friends…. Try as I might I never proved successful in my quest for a best friend until my now best friend and i like got back together after a few different periods of not being on speaking terms. That also happened with other friends of mine when I was younger. It was a strange concept to me. When I was in…I like the 4th grade….my dad changed our phone number as a final *fuck you, I’m done with you* to his sisters. He’d (naturally) gotten into a feud with the both of them over a few different long-standing beefs, and decided he was once and for all never speaking to them again, so he changed our phone number. I remember ALL of my friends asked why the number I’d had all my life (listed in the school directory for all those years) was disconnected. I’m sure some of the bitchier girls said it was because we hadn’t paid the bill, but we had a new number right away so maybe not. I think I made up some elaborate bullshit story. I certainly didn’t tell anyone the truth. The way kids reported gossip to their parents there, that wasn’t a wise move if I didn’t want it getting back to my mom. She wasn’t part of the inner circle at all, but some malicious, “concerned” person would bring it up to her, more out of perverse curiosity and nosiness than actual concern for our family’s well being. So, having all out ghosting-wars with other kids didn’t seem weird to me. And idk, I feel like the special grouping of kids in my parochial school was a bad sample of society. And certainly, at home, it was always best to just hide how you really felt. It wasn’t going to gel with the general atmosphere my dad created, trust me. BUT, fucked up people like my dad do NOT like it when they see they’ve genuinely upset someone. Like it reflects the negativity of their own actions back to them, reminds them they’re shitty human beings, and they don’t like it. So, I spent many years, even well after I’d moved out, becoming practiced at pretending I wasn’t upset. I mean, especially when you throw in this huge part of my young life I haven’t even begun discussing yet (the 11 years of retail).

So, it was kind of funny, but also seemed really true, what my husband said. His mom must not get what she’s saying it hurtful. It’s better to think that than assume otherwise. It’s just..there are some things where you want to ask her why she felt SO compelled to say that…and then other times I feel like she’s forgotten who I am entirely. Like, her daughter, the messed up sister in law, I call the other one the high-achieving sister in law, then the one married to his half brother is sister in law in law. So the messed up one actually dated my brother for awhile. Yeah. She’s about 11 years older than him, but yeah, that happened. When did it happen? Oh they pretty much started going out the night of my wedding. They were both in the wedding party (duh, I mean I have one sibling we were going to include him, especially when I could include all three sisters in law and a cousin of his) I paired them because they worked height-wise and I thought they’d get along. Get along in that not make the other one feel like a loser sort of way…not…let’s date and be ‘in love’ for a bit, only to end horribly and terribly. I finally point blank asked my mom some questions about how it ended. I wished I hadn’t. It reminded me that things are just as fucked as ever over there, only now my parents are in their 60s (my mom, almost, she’ll be 59 this year) and my brother is in his thirties. I don’t know what’s going to become of all of them. If they’ll just keep living together until they start dying off. I feel like my brother couldn’t function on his own without my mom. Their relationship just makes me really, really sad. I mean it’s not sad in and of itself, but it’s SO very much two people who are all the other one really has. My piece of shit lunatic father doesn’t count. And he might not want to admit it, but my brother is really emotionally dependent on our mom. Which is fine. I just wish I somehow had enough money to be able to send them what they needed to live on their own. And, I just don’t know what they’re going to do when my mom retires. They’re bankrupt, like literally making bankruptcy trustee payments, their home owners insurance was cancelled because they can’t afford to make repairs to the house necessary to keep a policy with anyone, they have NOTHING saved for retirement. I don’t think my mom thinks that far into the future. She has this mantra about taking things one day at a time. She especially had to do that when she was dealing with the usual emotional turmoil of her life, and was taking care of her aging mother entirely on her own. It just worries me. I know it seems like I’m the sort of person who’d scoff and say it wasn’t my problem to take care of them, but if you care about strangers but you don’t care about your actual family, what sort of person are you? I’m not including people who were horribly abused by family members, but my mom and brother were more victims than anything else. Plus I mean my brother is only three years older, and I was always arguably much more intelligent and mature. Which isn’t really fair when you’re kids but it works in your favor as an adult, for certain. I just wish I could take care of them. Like send them a check every month to cover their rent, and my mom and brother have jobs to pay for everything else, and they live together and are relatively happy. My mom can handle his moods, I’d think. Then, when years later my mom passed away, my brother would have a place already like set up for him. What sucks is I don’t know who I’d enlist to help me with him. When our mom’s gone it’s literally JUST my brother and I. I guess that’s why I don’t want to just abandon them. I guess they think I have. I guess they have no way of knowing how I really feel, because I certainly am not going to tell them. I have more guards than I realized. Like there are times when I don’t know what facial expression I’m making. Like the person behind the persona is just busting out when I’m preoccupied concealing deep emotions like rage and fury and despair. It’s not ideal. So, you might ask, in my perfect future where I can somehow support my new and original family, where is my dad? Well, ideally, dead I guess. Or just gone. But that will never happen. He couldn’t possibly take care of himself after all of these years. Plus, whatever’s wrong with him, he needs someone to abuse, someone to take it out on, someone to regale with the same long, boring stories time after time. I don’t know if he knows that or not, but I’m positive it’s true.

Sometimes I emotionally exhaust myself before I even get to the point I was trying to make, which is kind of funny. It’s not all that surprising, given how emotionally exhausting my life can be sometimes. Like I said, I recently made the mistake of asking my mom for details about when my brother and sister in law broke up. Because to hear my mother in law tell it, my brother thinks they’re going to get back together still. But, from what my mom is saying that’s not the case at all. My mother in law always talks to me like I’m not related to her daughter’s most recent terrible ex. She has A LOT of terrible exes….what’s the thing they have in common? For example, last Labor Day weekend the in laws wanted us to come visit, so we did. While strolling a local gardens together, my mother in law began telling me that my sister in law was very worried my brother would somehow find out that she was dating someone else (he’s a DJ from the club she works at). And then my mother in law is like “Oh [sister in law] just couldn’t handle another suicide.” Because her boyfriend (I guess technically fiance, they got engaged towards the end there) of I think 8 or 9 years committed suicide maybe 4 or 5 years ago. And yeah, she was a gibbering wreck of a human being from that, for sure. She was still reeling from it two years later when Andrew and I were planning our wedding. But my mother in law is talking to me about how the suicide of my only sibling would just be TOO much for her daughter, that she would NOT be able to bear it. Fuck off to me, his younger sister, or my mom, it’s poor fragile sister in law we all need to look out for. Like how am I not supposed to be offended by someone bringing up something like that, in that manner? Please. It’s like I really give off the impression I enjoy being treated like shit, and nothing you can say could possibly hurt my feelings so have at it. Like I never say that, but I’ve been singled out as the one for shitty treatment my whole life. Not at my current job though, I’ll admit. But I feel like I paid my dues to the universe when it comes to that already.

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