There are a number of things that I could imagine someone taking from the title of this here post, but I’ll be nearly up front about it all. My actual family, the ones tethered by blood, are a loose pack of islands, all within reach, but preferring to be visible rather than present. Simply put, we don’t talk much, but we don’t fight in the classic sense either. We’re adrift, and for the most part, unconcerned with the troubles of the rest. I for one have had it with the useless bickering, the finger-pointing, the lies. My family only ever tells, at its maximum, 90% of the truth to each other, and I’d wager that number is less to outsiders. In fact, I know it is.
About the only family I keep up with is my brother whom is on the verge of becoming a father of two, and I’m quite proud of his changes. Slow as they may be, it’s still pretty awesome. Good for him.
My mother is a different beast altogether, and I say that with love. As an adult I understand how one choice can lead to another, and as a young mother of two boys I can begin to see how she could come to the decisions she made as we grew up, yet I know that people are not as noble as the choices they make. Most times the choices look better than the person, and nowadays she has lost her self-respect and is hell-bent on being with a man who shows her neither love or support. He’s simply someone for which she can try to work for affection to keep her busy. I’m at a loss for any solutions, and each time I try to broach the subject on anything serious, she changes subject like a brat, or worse, someone who is so hurt they can’t even bear to talk about it with the closest of family.
My grandparents, more specifically my grandmother, is the same as my mother in nearly every way, only older and more learned in the ways of manipulation. If the conversation isn’t going according to plan, tears well up in her eyes and she plays the “Woe is me” card, even though the things she is saying is insulting to those that I care about. My brother is a better man than they give him credit, and I will never leave him behind, and if I can, I will not leave him wanting either.
She doesn’t have kind things to say about my mother either, but that is understandable. It’s still aggravating as all I do is attempt to find ways to help, and all she says are ways to ignore them. The woman lost my trust a long time ago after I caught on the manipulations. I won’t lay my grievances at her feet as I have no intention of putting undue stress on an old woman. I don’t hate her, but I’m empty inside when it comes to my family. After a lifetime of my family being at odds with each other, I think I just don’t care about them the way I did when i was a child. Maybe it was the deceptions they didn’t think I was old enough to understand as a kid. Maybe it was the way they treated me, a kid who never put forth any true effort, but was praised as though he was perfect while his brother, his best friend, was disregarded as “His father’s son”.
They didn’t even tell me that our dads weren’t the same until I was like 15, and even then there was no great effort to help me find him. I wasn’t concerned with it either tbh. My mother having been remarried nearly half a dozen times, looking for love or whatever the hell she was doing, I thought I closed that part of myself off forever. But I haven’t given up entirely. I still try to create more love, I simply don’t feel it anymore.
And then I met a girl who captured my thoughts entirely. It was around my twenty-third birthday, we both worked at the same warehouse. One day she takes me to her parents home, and I’m immediately awe-struck by the peacefulness it exuded. Built by their own hands, her parents had a calming effect on every dark thought concerning family I ever had. To them I was probably just another guy that their daughter brought back to the house, but to me I knew that assumption was false. Me and this girl would never happen in any sense. Though I tried every trick in the book short of flat-out kissing her. (I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to girls. Honestly I think it’s because we moved so much as a kid, I got used to getting people to arms length and then moving before anything more could happen. I was stuck in emotional limbo so to speak, yet people love me wherever I go.)
So I’m talking with her family, and things are going great. They seem to genuinely enjoy my company, and I can’t help but relish the feeling I get from a family that feels like a true family. I even ask her mom for advice on occasion. Shes very motherly in the sense, whereas my mom feels more like a big sister! It hurts that I can’t do that with my own mother, but I don’t think she’ll ever know how much I appreciate it.
They have little gatherings there every so often to let off steam and drink a bit, everyone laughing, joking, just having a good time being with each other. And I seem to fit in nicely with them.
Her younger sister took a liking to me as well. I bring her books that I think she’ll like, and we gossip about games and movies. She just recently turned eighteen and is getting ready to go off to school. Sometimes I wish it were her that I met, but even so, I don’t know if I could do anything with her. The warmth was intoxicating, and to this day I still show up randomly just to sit on the porch and chat with them, I need it to be honest. Ruining that would hurt more than I think I can handle.
Though me and that girl are no longer talking. After three years I finally had a series of small internal crises where I vented to her about my feelings for her, of which she had full knowledge, but it broke the relationship. I lost her trust, and hurt my own pride because of it. I only apologize for how I went about it, but i still think my feelings were valid and on point. Were we true friends, she would have found a way to let me down anyway she could that didn’t hurt me. Instead she does what my mother does, ignore or forget it until it goes away. And if I was a true friend, I wouldn’t have needed her to do that to begin with. I’d have accepted it and moved on. Yet that was the one thing I could not do. I tried multiple times, but something kept calling me back.
I’m only thankful that I’m still welcome over their house. In my life, family is like being an acquaintance. Over there, I actually feel what family could be. What it should look like, and I’m drawn to that like gravity draws us to the ground.
Nothing lasts forever though.