Archives for posts with tag: family

This came through to me today in one of the blogs I peruse while pretending to work at my day job, and in light of my recent family troubles, struck home.

From a UK Guardian article on Regrets of the Dying from earlier this year:

#1 regret:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

 

Now go out there and buy yourself a bow tie.

 

So that whole gratitude armor thing didn’t really work. On Friday morning, before I was even showered, my father went in for the political kill. The argument that ensued involved me telling him to fuck off and him telling me to get the fuck out, so C and I packed our stuff and came back home.

And the thing is, the fight wasn’t about politics, or money, or any of the things actually discussed. The fight was entirely about each of us respecting the other, and talking to the other in a respectful way.

I was reminded forcibly of this excellent post from Butch Wonders:

To discuss issues with someone, I have prior questions.  A central one is: are we equals?  I am using “equals” in the sense of people who see each other as people, discussing and exchanging ideas–in the “all people are created equal” sense.  Does the person value me and consider me valid as a human?

To me, someone who does not believe in equal rights for gays and lesbians sees me (and/or my behavior) as subhuman.  They do not believe that my full, real self is equal to their full, real self.  They do not see me and my life the same way they see themselves and their lives.  For this reason, the answer to the prior question of whether this is a person with whom I can engage in rational debate is “no.”  If you don’t see me as your equal in terms of the human rights I deserve, it’s very, very difficult for me to think you’re worthwhile to engage with about anything else.

(Read the entire thing here.)

I don’t think my dad thinks I’m his equal, in this sense. Sure, he loves me – that is not even a question. But you can love something you still pity and wish to control.

It’s really difficult for me to be grateful.  Not because I’m not humble, or because I don’t believe in it, or because I’m that selfish. I’m sure I’m all of these things, a little bit. We all are.

It’s because I’m overwhelmed.

I’m ridiculously anxious about going to my folks’ house for the holiday tomorrow. I haven’t spoken to them in almost two months. I had made a deal with myself that I would limit contact with them until after the election, for one. And for two – I realized that anytime I interact with them, I feel like less of a person, and certainly less of an adult.

This morning my partner was encouraging me to say out loud three things I was grateful about, regarding my parents. I could only come up with two – but hey, it was better than zero. I believe that sounds have consequence, and that the words you say reverberate through the universe in a specific way, so I try not to say out loud anything I don’t mean.

And gratitude in general falls into a category that it is really difficult for me to mean. I don’t want it to be wasted or untrue. When I’m really, truly grateful, I can’t stop talking about it – but those times are fewer and fewer these days as I just feel harried and pressured by the pace of life. It’s not supposed to be like this.

So.

I’m grateful that both my parents are still alive.

I’m grateful that my father’s health is improving.

I’m grateful that my mother is happier than she was three years ago.

I’m grateful that I grew up with two sisters who taught me about the world, each in their own way, even if we don’t speak much now.

I’m grateful that I have a partner who is willing to lie in bed with me in the mornings and listen to my worries.

I’m grateful that I understand my fear, so that I can move out of it’s control.

These statements are going to be my armor for the visit home. They are the armor against the discussions of my wardrobe, my haircut, all the usual nonsense we gender-non-conforming folk have to deal with from those who don’t understand or who are afraid of the simple fact that we are living as we please regardless of what they think. These statements will be my armor for any discussion of politics or religion, any leading questions about why my acting career isn’t further along, why I don’t make more money.

I will be grateful for the company of the people who raised me. I am grateful the love me, even when their love feels more like pain.

 

C’s last remaining grandparent passed this week, and so tomorrow will find us on a plane headed to CT and NYC for the services. The upside, we get to see family and friends we’ve missed since moving to California five years ago. The downside, of course, is the passing of the ancestors.

Even though I’m not exactly getting on with my folks as of late (politics, politics, sigh), C and I are both lucky to still have all our parents, but as they age and we age, it grows bittersweet. Another reminder that there is never a better time to do what it is you’re meant to be doing, regardless of what anyone else says. Throw caution to the wind – turn around so the gusts can blow you forwards instead of backwards, and let yourself be carried. You can do it, so go, now, and start. The beginning is all. Your life is the reward.

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