Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blood is Thicker Than...

Ok... forgive me in advance for this stream of consciousness...

In case you haven't already inferred, I am not particularly close to my family. My mother's side nor my father's side. I love them, and they me, but we aren't exactly familiar with each other in any real, fundamental way. It's never really bothered me. My friends and lovers have done a pretty marvelous job of filling in the blanks. I am not one of those people that believes that you have to just deal with your family because they're blood and that's just who they are and blah blah blah. No. I have the power to choose who is in my life, whether we share blood or not. And if they are subtracting more than they're adding, you had best believe they're getting cut from the home team roster. I can't handle it.

My family is pretty negative. They aren't bad people. They love me. They're just short sighted and negative. And for me, for the transition period I'm in, for the things I wanna do in my life, I can't handle it. I can't shoulder their negativity and still be in a place where I can do for me. I can't sit through an hour and a half phone conversation of updates about all the negative shit that everyone is doing. Maybe that's selfish. But you had years to either fuck up your life or get it right. Most of you chose the former. My life is just starting. Let me live.

I said all that to say that while I recognize that family issues are complicated, do they have to be? I rarely speak to my fam. I don't call. More often than not when they call me they're screened. If I do pick up, they're asking for something. We email sometimes. But as I've gotten older, as I've lived, I have no desire of any kind to form relationships with these people. I have a family. It's the positive, supportive one I made for myself. The ones that were there for me in my darkest hours, that know even the parts of me that I try to hide. Is that wrong of me? To have no desire of any kind to connect with them?

And inversely, who says I SHOULD have that desire just because we share blood? We certainly don't share anything else. If it was a friend or a lover, and our relationship was this strained and forced and based on nothing of substance, everyone would be telling me to break up with them.

I am a huge balker of what I'm "supposed" to do in life anyway. Mostly because I refuse to live my life according to conventions rather than my own needs and desires. Sometimes the conventions line up with who I am. Sometimes they don't. Fuck em.

But am I being extra?

For the longest my family had no desire to get to know me. I had my role that they expected me to play in our family and they weren't really interested in anything outside of their perceptions of me. They still aren't really. It only kinda bothered me then and it really doesn't bother me now because I have surrounded myself with people who DO know me outside of their impressions. (I have a cousin that constantly calls me prissy. Yeah. Curses like a sailor, constantly threatens to beat bitches down, kisses chicks in a bar, drinks most men under the table and frequents the strip club but yeah. Prissy. Mmhmm.)

But why should I be made to feel bad that this is the way things are? Why is the responsibility squarely on my shoulders to "accept them as who they are" and get to know them? Why is it my fault that I've gotten along just fine in life on my own terms? Is THAT what you're mad at?

I just don't know. Maybe I'm in the situation so I can't be objective.





Am I supposed to work to maintain contact with my family despite not really having a need or desire to do so?

14 comments:

jameil1922 said...

why can't you just keep it like it is? don't raise or lower the communication bar. family is important, but if they're constant cause of stress, fall back.

Chris said...

"I can't shoulder their negativity and still be in a place where I can do for me. I can't sit through an hour and a half phone conversation of updates about all the negative shit that everyone is doing."

TOO much like my relationship with my mother. I've been called a selfish ingrate a lot over the last two and a half months because I refuse to indulge in the drama she's gotten herself into. I'll be that. My life is going to good right now. It's hard to deal with family when they constantly screw up and want to lay a guilt trip on you because you're doing the right thing.

shani-o said...

Yeah, I think you are. I'm kinda the same way (my parents moved us 3000 miles away from all of our family and expect me to be extra familiar with them, like, ergh?), but I've decided as the outsider, it's my job to work on getting to know them better.

Ms.Lady said...

You know what La??

I FEEL you on this.
I dont feel close to my family and me and my mom was JUST talking this morning about how either side of my fam (mom side,dad side) are close to me.

I dont feel like anyone knows me the way my BF does...or my man...and my mother.
No one has made an attempt and neither have I.
My GMa and Aunt on my Dad side have the perception of me that is SOO FAR from who I am I just look at them and laugh to myself while thinking "You THINK you know but you have NO IDEA!" Y'ALL MOFOS DONT KNOW ME MAAAAYNE!!

Real talk at its best Mama..I am sooo *doin the split finger thingie* "here" with you.

Ms.Lady said...

HAPPY V-DAY Laaaa!!!

X Factor said...

No.
That is all.

Kidding.... but, NO YOU ARE NOT WRONG. Please do not let anyone tell you otherwise. If I'm right and it's not about getting to know them, but instead them respecting you and who you are, then THEY should make the effort, NOT you. It's not like you're some spoiled child La who wants the world to come to you. You've shouldered two lifetimes of burden, you know you stole my mantra: if they are subtracting and not adding, then guess what? GET TO STEPPIN (in my best Martin voice) And another one: stop letting other people put their trash in your trash can.

Christina said...

If you dont have a desire to maintain contact with your family, i dont see why you should bother trying.

I dont have much of a relationship with most of my family and i'd like to keep it that way because quite frankly, the bitches aint doin shit for me and probably never will anyway.

As you can probably tell, i dont feel bad for not having a relationship with "those people"--strangers to me.

the joy said...

I'm the same way... Up like some of my family but don't feel obligated to be close to them. There's too damn many of em. And I refuse to let them guilt trip me into things. Friends are way more important. Now if you have family who are friends, you're golden. They might take a bullet for you.

Rashan Jamal said...

Short answer no, dont do it.

Coco said...

You are not wrong and nor should you feel wrong. My dad's family is the same way and my dad even had the nerve to tell me today that I need to start calling them. Last I checked my phone received calls just like it can make calls. I just ignore him b/c his family likes me when it is convenient for them. When they have legal issues my phone is ringing but when life is all fine and dandy my phone does not ring. They even try to make me feel guilty saying you never come to visit--once again the road travels in both directions. But like I said do what makes you happy b/c you have to live with you!

By the way I am a lurker but I felt that I needed to speak on this subject b/c I have had to deal with it for at least the last 10 years.

Ms. Behaving said...

I too have a distant relationship with my immediate family...

I mean it's not like I don't love em' and it's not like I wouldn't be willing to help out in any way I could IF I could but I have my own things going on and could most certainly do without the stress of a next wo/man and can understand anybody else who feels the same way.

Bottom line...you gotta do what works for YOU and if that means keepin' ya distance then it is what it is.

KeitaRae said...

I don't necessarily believe that you should be jumping through hoops for a relationship... but... I will say this...

To me, the lack of love in immediate families mirrors (and potentially fuels) the general lack of love people express for each other in the broader community.

The family is where we learn to love and deal with people who are very different from us... which I believe helps balance what we face outside the family.

It's like... once people starting seeing family as disposable and optional - the epidemic spread to a general disregard for others.

I'm not saying you suffer from that "disease," but love is about accepting a flawed human "in spite of" something... not "because" of something.

From Hawa at
Fackin Truth Blog

Epsilonicus said...

I say keep in touch, just enough to make sure they are still alive.

I only include people in my life that do no stress me out. Thats family included. If they cause trouble, leave them alone.

Caesar Cannon said...

I have very little interaction with my father's side of the family. Though there are a few cousins I try to keep in contact with, I'm usually not around them and they make few attempts to contact me (or my father), so I say whatever. I'm happy with it

I think you should keep it like it is, as well. I think it would be nice to, maybe talk more to them, but if it's going to seem forced, then don't bother, especially if YOU'RE happy with the situation

Cannon