Thursday, August 29, 2013

Family ties that bind...and strangle.

A letter I just emailed to my Dad (who I just heard is suffering with severe congestive heart failure), whom I haven't spoken to since Dec. '09:

So...
It's been a few years, and you probably feel as justified for your feelings as I do, but the simple fact of the matter is that, unless we are both willing to set the past aside and move on, nothing is ever going to change with us.  Personally, I want you in my life, but not in the way things have been previously.

I heard your health had been challenging lately, and I can't lie, this stirred up a lot of stuff with me.  On one hand, you've never seemed to try and meld Stepmom and me, Sister1 & Sister3 together.  You've never seemed to want to find a common ground for all of us to get along, or maybe that was Stepmom.  I don't know for sure since you never discussed it much.  I genuinely feel like I tried (HARD), even if Sister1 & Sister3 had other ideas.  And, as a  reminder, you did tell me to "keep out of it" in any and all matters concerning them (Sisters), which I truly believe I have done, and that seems to be a large part of why you basically "disowned" me that Christmas (which crushed me emotionally, by the way). 

On the other hand, I do believe in giving people you care about multiple chances/opportunities for forgiveness, regardless of the level of hurt involved.  Truth be told, as much as you feel like I may have wronged you, I feel like you've wronged me ten times more.  Perhaps we both need to suck it up & take the blame equally.

...but I'm willing to let it go, and I NEED to let it go, if that means I have you in my life. I'm willing to NEVER discuss "old business", forgive & forget, and just move forward to be happy.

Here's the deal: despite whatever is going on with you health-wise, I still require a certain amount of respect and humility from you (and Stepmom) for this to work.  I can't lie- your choosing to think/believe all sorts of outlandish/untrue things about me without looking for the truth of the matter hurt me deeply.  I pride myself on being explicitly honest and trustworthy.  My friends, as well as the family I have built with Husband believe this, and I trust the any of them would walk over white-hot coals for me, as I would do for them. I don't lie- I don't see the point.  I live genuinely, honestly, and lovingly. 

For this to work, you have to accept me entirely as I am, and I mean this. There is no trying to change me, trying to stir up drama, or dissecting every word I say to see if there's a "hidden meaning" there.  I'll save you the time- there isn't. 

I'm pretty awesome the way I am- I have great friends, Husband's family adores me, and I excel at my job that I've had for 9 years.  I regularly volunteer at a local soup kitchen, and I have 5 rescued animals as my "furry children".  My life is great. 

But...I think you're pretty awesome too.  I get my sense of humor and love of life from you, as well as my height and tendency to freckle in the sun.  :)  I gravitate towards people and want to make them happy, all because of you.  I generally admire you, but the fact that you seem so quick to dismiss your own flesh and blood children has genuinely bothered me these last 10 years or so. 

I don't expect you to exit your current life to accommodate me (that is ridiculous), but, if you want this to work as I do, you need to just wholeheartedly and genuinely accept me as I am.  It would also be nice if you would try to encourage Stepmom to get to know & appreciate me (and maybe eventually Sister1 & Sister3) for who we are and not who she thinks we should be.  She is a large part of the problem, and to ignore that fact would be ridiculous.  I think there's an understanding, accepting person within her, and I KNOW there is within you.

I hope you read this, think about it, and eventually thoughtfully reply to this, but honestly I don't expect you to.  Prove me wrong.  Make the hard decision to try & fix things.  I would love you to be in my life, and I think you would benefit from me being in yours.

When all is said and done, I love you.  I always will.  I just hope we can figure this stuff out.  Life is too short to worry about petty misunderstandings.  Even if you choose not to reply, just remember that I always love & care about you- you're a big part of the reason I am who I am, and who we are  is pretty great.

-WM

Update!:
Much to my own shock and disbelief, he called me today (Monday).  He was humble, forgiving, and seems to just want to put this disaster of a past behind us and move on.  I hope he's for real, I hope he means it.  Current forecast is optimistic with a chance of light cautiousness and relief.  Whiskeymarie:1, Daddy issues: 0. (For today, at least.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The quiet poetry of Baywatch

I wondered aloud to my friend Waffle if the night was going to be another "Baywatch" sort of night as we walked from the Mexican restaurant to the formerly glorious supper club for an after-dinner drink.   It was cold and gray out, and finally getting dark.

Many years ago, when Waffle and I had the luxury of youth, time, and barely a dime to our names, we went out on a weeknight with no definite plans in mind.  We ended up at a spot we often ended up in, a maritime-themed, somewhat rundown place that always held the promise of strong drinks and occasional mayhem.  We sat at the bar, ordered our drinks, and just...sat. 
"Baywatch" was on the old TV behind the bar with the closed captioning on, in case we weren't able to discern the predictable plot amidst all the boobage. 

And we sat.  Silent.  And we watched. 

And we were perfectly fine with that.

After the supper club, where we ran into a peripheral friend (the one that, on paper, should make us feel insecure about ourselves but for whatever reason doesn't) and scheduled to purposely run into another, less-peripheral and near-and-dear friend, we ventured out again into the cold, unforgiving weather that had me regretting my "no tights" proclamation earlier in the evening, when such decisions still could be made.

One crowded gay bar, a rainbow peace sign stamp on my hand, a few drinks and three cigarettes later, Waffle and I looked at each other with that knowing look. 
The one that says, "I think I would have preferred Baywatch."

I hitched a ride out of the cold, now very dark city with the guy I vaguely remember hitching myself to many years ago, when we had the luxury of youth, time, and barely a dime to our names. 
Now, finding myself wide awake on the airbed in the den of his mother's condo at a time when, in my 20's, I may have just been getting home, smelling of cheap drinks and cigarettes to stumble into bed, I rub my snoring dog's belly and think,

...there are worse ways to have spent your 42nd birthday. 

And I smile.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

And so we move on.

So, just when I recommitted myself to my home here, the universe decided to throw the proverbial poo in the fan and I had to take an unexpected hiatus.  Sorry.  I lied without the comfort of pre-meditation, which usually gives me time to fine-tune my tall tales. 

My Father-in-law, after many years of defying the odds and staying optimistic when staying optimistic made no sense, died a few weeks ago. 

This was a man who has been sick for the entire 18 years that I have known him, yet he rarely complained, rarely felt sorry for himself, and rarely let those around him know when he was feeling less than stellar, which was pretty much always. 
He was the most honest, forgiving soul that I have ever known.  After knowing him only a short time, I was easily able to see where the Mr. got both his rare and true ability to not give a shit what people think about him, as well as his innate inclination to see the best in even the most awful human beings.  My Father-in-law, in these 18 years, only twice indicated that he, indeed, did not like someone, and both times I totally understood why he felt the need to vocalize that which he normally kept to himself.  One was someone who, in a very short time, dragged a close family member (as well as the family) through the mud with their selfishness and total disregard for humans in general.  The other had brought doubt onto my Father-in-law's character many years ago, and knowing how impeccable his character was, I get it.  Some things are unforgivable, and crimes against family and reputation fall into this category.
He was a better person than most of us can ever hope to be.  This has been a challenging time for all involved. 
But, we move on.  We figure shit out.  We find a way to fill that void.  Having lost a parent myself, I get it.  No matter how it happens, it's never easy.  If you're lucky, this was the person that protected you from the ugliness of the world as long as they could.  If you're lucky, they made you feel special when everyone else told you otherwise.  If you're lucky, they never judged and helped you along even when they knew you were probably going to fall on your ass.  If you're lucky, they knew when you needed to learn a lesson but were there to comfort you anyways.  And, unfortunately, they generally die before we do, which we all think we are prepared for, yet we rarely are.

So, I apologize for yet another absence, but I think you'll forgive me.  And, given my Father-in-law's general "do what makes you happy" attitude, I shall be back in full force, my nuggets.  Maybe a re-design of the site is in order, maybe costumes will be involved. 

Regardless of the details, the time, it is a-tickin', and we need to make the most of every fucking moment.  Hug your people, hug your furry nuggets, hug your bus driver (but don't squeeze their bum- trust me, that never ends well).  Because, as cliche' as it sounds, putting stuff off until tomorrow may not pan out so well- sometimes there isn't a "tomorrow".  Sometimes all you have is that moment where you have a chance to create a memory, and for better or for worse, you need to grab that motherfucking moment and create the shit out of it. 
Dammit.

Now, go out and embrace the crap out of the day, you awesome little nuggets of magic.  You make today your bitch. ok?