Saturday, March 26, 2011

Self Preservation

I wrote the first draft of this post 2 months ago, and now finally have the guts, and the am free enough now, to share it: 

January, 2011
I have been contemplating something very heavy for the past couple of days, at least consciously (sub-consciously, I think this was something that I had wanted to do for a very long time but I didn't fully comprehend exactly what "this" was).

I learned a lot growing up, especially from my mother, and all of those things have shaped who I am today for better or for worse.  Growing up the oldest of seven... just remembering all that I did to "help out" exhausts me to this day.  I look at my son, who is about to turn 10 years old next month, and compare the responsibilities that he has versus what I had at that age and I am amazed that I am not in a mental institution or hate the world or something like that.  I cooked, I cleaned, I took care of kids, I disciplined, I slept with one eye open whenever my mom worked the overnight shift, I made Sunday breakfast even though people would complain that my pancakes weren't as thin as mommy's.  I knew about the bills- which were being paid and which weren't.  I knew about the frustration my mom was dealing with as an adult and a parent. I knew about the drugs my father took and the other women.  I knew that my father had a big job and a big position as director of a few group homes for teens, but he didn't share any of his money or pay any bills, which is why my mom would get on the cheese line often instead of being able to raise us in an actual house.

Did I also mention that for a majority of my childhood I actually lived in a two-parent household?

Did I mention that my father finally kicked my mom, me and my 5 siblings (at the time) out of the apartment we'd lived in for 11 years and kept the dog?

Honestly, just listing those few things alone exhaust me, but I have to ask, "is it a wonder that I am 35 years old and never married?  Single parent?  Still swimming in issues of self worth?"

See, I was the good girl.  The one who took care of everything.  The one you didn't have to worry about.  The one who - despite objections - would fix everything.  I'm surprised my nickname isn't The Fixer.  And even though I left home at 15 (got a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school), took care of myself financially since then, but was still be there to write a check for whatever anyone wanted,and be 'bad cop' to my mom's 'good cop' in the parenting area- what about what I needed?  Apparently that has never been important, well, with me being 'the oldest of now 7, who fixed things.'

To this day I have to remind people that I have 1 child. To this day I was still holding out hope, ready and willing to help any of my immediate family members who were ready for my support should they decide to finally do something opposite from the 'nothing' that they'd been doing.  To this day I still keep getting screwed over by those same people who are supposed to be there for me the way I'd been there for them most of my life.

In the Summer of 2009, I was in a car accident (I was not at fault -- I was hit).  My child was in the car. Car (which is names Kyle Reese) was almost totaled.  And we were driving through Virginia, en route to New York after coming from my grandfather's funeral in North Carolina.  My father - who had disowned me when I was fifteen - drove right pass the accident (for a minute I thought I was dead because it was just too coincidental to see him on the same road at that time).  Sometimes I wonder if God jokes around on folks, but I swallowed that because my father and I hadn't spoken with each other since I was 15 and he decided to fight me like a dude because he "thought" I didn't say hello to him one day - TRUE STORY, June 28, 1995.  And when I finally got home, back in NY, after taking my son to the emergency room just in case he was injured, after a now 12 hour drive... my mom didn't call me.  She called and spoke to my brother (who was in the car that hit me), but she didn't call me.  Why?  Well, I found out when I finally called and asked her - that it was because she "heard I was all right."  About a week later I had an emotional breakdown finally, because it'd really hit me: right after the accident all I cared about was if my child and the other passenger in the car was ok, and how I was responsible for getting them back to NY safely.  Forget the fact that I drove through VA, MD, NJ and NY with a hood that looked like an accordion.  Forget that my car was the only car in the 3 car accident that looked like it got the snot beat out of it. Forget that I had just come from a very emotional event.  I had to make sure everyone was all right - and there is nothing wrong with that.  What is wrong is when other people - my own family, my own momma - don't care if I'm all right.

It's been about a year and a half since the accident, and a lot of drama has happened over recent weeks.  Apparently, I wasn't supposed to ask my sister's and my mom why my brother's mistress was hanging out at their apartment.  And now interestingly, I have been silently shunned.  I say silently because no one has said anything to me directly - and I'm all about the direct approach - but when your little sister un-friends you on Facebook... "Houston, we have a problem!"  When your brother yells that you and your sister (the sibling after me) are "bougie" and we need to fuck off (forget the fact that I'd not had a conversation with this dude in years), AND your mom witnesses this, and says NOTHING... (this bears repeating: "dot-dot-dot").

Look, I'm gonna stop with the bullshit that I hate and just accept the fact that I have to make the phone call (if they actually answer the phone when I call) and tell everyone to lose my number. I recently told a friend that it makes no sense for someone with such a huge family to be so alone. There really isn't.  This type of thing has been going on for so much of my life, and now I've finally had an epiphany. I realized that I have to stop the madness. I have to cut the bad part off. I have to say to everyone - I'm done. Because I am not ready to give away my happiness any longer.  It makes me really sad to have come to this conclusion, but there is a sense of relief as well.  I'm really interested to see how I play this out.

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