hypocrisy

Lucky me, that I find my day full enough of discomfort to write two posts in one. More than likely this is going to sound like crazy, illogical ramblings, since I do find myself fall victim to my feminine irrationality from time to time. Who knows. I guess that’s up for you to decide.

For some reason, saying “my boyfriend” just makes me feel that much worse. It’s such a childish term, if I think about it too much. But “male partner” or “significant other” just sound too formal or too official. So bear with me.

When I started dating him, one of the highlights was that I thought I had found someone like me, more or less. Well, like me in a way no one else was. At least, no one I could find. I’ve never been interested in smoking, drugs, or alcohol like most people seem to be to some degree. Perhaps it has something to do with my past, how it has affected my family. I honestly couldn’t tell you. But something twists and turns deep down when I think about myself getting drunk or high. The same applies to him. He once told me that he hated “changing states,” I think is how he put it. He doesn’t like the feeling being drunk or high gets him — so obviously, he’s been both before where he is familiar with what it’s like. That is enough to get me nervous, as crazy as that is. Like I said, I don’t know exactly why.

But him saying that brought me some sort of relief. Finally, I thought, I had found someone who maybe could stay sober with me when my friends got drunk, who could sit awkwardly in the corner and watch all the stupid people do stupid things and avoid regret at all costs. That last part sounds unhealthy, and it is, but that’s how I am. I’m not saying it’s right, or justifying it. Just stating. I’m working on it.

Anyway, he’s got this idea in his head that he is a slave to his family, and that whatever his father or older sibling ask of him, he is to do without question — because that’s how it’s always been. However, for someone who prided himself on letting people know he was anti-rules in high school, who consistently tells me to “fuck everyone else,” knowing that he refuses to refuse his brothers or his father makes me quite uncomfortable.

And one thing his oldest brother makes him do is drink. And he does.

Last night, he was invited to play Mario Kart at his brother’s house: drunken Mario Kart. And, of course, he participated, without any objection, despite everything he has told me. And it makes my stomach turn, my throat close. He did the same thing in Florida. He went out of his way to tell me that he would never do something for me that made him uncomfortable, and yet he does it consistently for others, like our mutual friend and his family members. While I understand family members more than the others, he makes no effort to change. He admitted to me that it was hypocritical, but he didn’t care.

What am I supposed to do with that? Should I be this upset? Should I let it get to me so much?

Obviously the question is no. But I can’t help it. I can’t help it. And he doesn’t care. Because although he’s unwilling to change for anyone, he still does, but only for certain people in similar situations.

It just makes me want to do terrible, passive aggressive things, as immature as that sounds. But I do. I’ve never wanted to so badly in my life. But I can’t. I’m trying so hard not to. Because I can’t be wrong. I’m always wrong. I can’t be wrong anymore. There has to be a valid point I can make, an argument I can definitely win.

God, I am pathetic.

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home for the holidays

This morning, I sat in a cramped church pew for the first time in years. It was uncomfortable not just because it was crowded, or because I’m not very religious at all. It was uncomfortable because, regardless of the dozen family members that squeezed in next to and around me, I felt lost, displaced, and awkward.

It’s not that I was unwelcome. My aunt had invited my siblings and me to come see my cousins perform in the little nativity reenactment. It’s not that I was treated strangely or differently. It had been a year since I had seen everyone, and no one had really changed — which is always my biggest fear, living 1000+ miles away from my entire family. But there was some change, nevertheless. This time, however, children hadn’t aged or grown taller. Instead, my aunt and my uncle — the two who had only just before been practically shunned by the rest of my family for assaulting my other uncle — sat in front of me, next to the very same uncle who was beaten. Normally, this would be considered good. It was progress. And while it did make me happy, the fact that my own mother was not among them showed me just how much damage she had done in the short time since she had moved back to my hometown.

We’d (or, rather, my mother) had been expelled from the general family before. Years and years ago. The last time I was here, it wasn’t that way. Everyone was getting along. We’d all go to my aunt’s and have coffee and see the cousins. Now it’s just awkward, because I know every time they see me, they see my mom. My little cousin thought I was my mother at first, due to my different color and styled hair. And, for some reason, that made my stomach turn.

After mass, we all headed over to my aunt’s for coffee and snacks, just like old times. But I hovered in-between rooms, in-between the childhood and adulthood, not knowing where I belonged — if I even belonged anywhere. The kids were upstairs in their own worlds, playing and running around. That wasn’t exactly appealing to me. But the adults were sitting at the dining room table, drinking coffee, gossiping and discussing their absurd views on god in schools and whatever. I tried to endure, but I started getting frustrated and a little bit disgusted. Especially with my grandmother. Usually a beacon of sense and stability in my otherwise insane and shaky family, she quickly conformed to the idea that one of the reasons that led to the Sandy Hook school shooting was in some way connected to the lack of god in schools. They were quick to voice how upset they were over the fact that people were encouraging the use of the term “holiday” over Christmas, as if it’s some huge problem.

Now while I do see it kind of absurd that such a fuss be made over political correctness, especially when Christmas is about the birth of Christ in Christianity, I do not see the problem with being able to recognize that there are other kinds of people in the world who think and live differently, and addressing their holidays — like they demand others do as well — isn’t trying to foster as much alienation as it is trying to foster inclusiveness. This may not have been done exactly the right way, but as impartial as I try to be, I can see the good intentions behind it. Some people just like being the victims, the martyrs. It’s almost like they want to be persecuted. They are just looking for reasons to be angry.

Atheists will be quick to let you know that Christ more than likely wasn’t born in December on the 25th, that in fact the church moved it there to overlap and overtake a popular pagan solstice holiday in hopes of integrating others into their belief system. That may be true, and they have every right to inform people, but there comes a point where all of it becomes so obnoxious, from each side.

No one is trying to take Christmas from you. Christmas is not sponsored by the government. Christmas itself is not a right. The freedom to believe in Christ and celebrate his birth is, though. But so is believing in Yahweh and celebrating Hanukkah. It is the government’s job to be secular. Most founding fathers were not, in fact, religious, so saying the Constitution or the nation was built on Christian values is moot.

Here I was, ranting about feeling out of place in family, and I end up with a silly political/religious sermon. I apologize. It just bothers me.

Anyway, I suppose in a way it ties into just how far I’ve drifted from the people I once identified the most with. And I felt pathetic, because even though I was so happy to spend time with the little ones, I wanted nothing more to just hop on the next plane back to Georgia. I’ve been wanting that for the past few days, actually. And I feel like such an asshole. I’ve cried and complained about how much I’ve missed my family, how I’m devastated they’re all growing up without me. But a good percentage of the time I’ve been here, my temper and my patience have been so short; the lack of privacy and of my own space have eaten away at me. And one of the few people who I relate and connect to — my boyfriend — will not be visiting, and I feel like I’m dangling without him next to me for support. I know that’s unhealthy and weak, but it’s the truth.

How more pathetic could it get? Oh, right. My beloved bird is having seizures daily. I don’t think he’s going to be around much longer. And now, my mom wants me to take him back with me, when I begged and tried to get him when he was healthy. Yay me.

a relationship

Not everything in my life is terrible. Maybe you’ll find this cliché, or sappy, or stupid, or whatever, but I’ve been in a relationship now for over a year now.

I don’t mean to say that nearly a year and a half is a significant amount of time. In reality, it’s not very long at all. But for someone who has never been in a relationship, this being my first, it seems just a bit remarkable. Maybe that’s just me. I guess that’s for you, imaginary reader, to decide.

Sometimes my life is full of such strange coincidences that I wonder if there is any such thing. Does that make sense? My boyfriend is one of them. He says he liked me ever since high school. High school was… a bad time, to put it lightly. I went out of my way to make myself as unappealing as possible in high school, just so people would leave me alone.

Partially. Part of that behavior was also a result of low self-esteem (like every other high school girl possesses), and my own challenge to the universe.

As far as low self-esteem goes, I’ve always been more of a tomboy. I don’t think anyone believes me when I say I never had a crush before my junior year of high school. But it’s true. I even went as far as lying about having a crush when I was in elementary school, just because I felt abnormal.

I’ve never really been attracted to people in the traditional sense. Sure, I can admit when someone is pretty or handsome, but that has never influenced my perception of that person. And I’m sure this is thrown around a lot, but I am genuine when I say that personality is everything to me. My first and only real crush was on a boy who was far from attractive. As tall as me (5’4″-ish), big nose, face plagued with acne… that was him. But I liked him because, although he was so awkward, he was so comfortable with himself. He embodied what I wanted to feel about myself. I knew I wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world. I knew I was weird. But I was always so uneasy about it. So paranoid and upset and disappointed. But he embraced who he was. And it was just so nice to be around someone like that.

I can pinpoint the exact moment in time when my self-esteem died. It’s when I noticed I was getting boobs. Although small and nearly unnoticeable, to me they were hideous, disgusting, and embarrassing. And I noticed that if I slouched, they were harder to detect. So I started forcing myself to slouch. Needless to say, I don’t have to force myself anymore. I have a lovely curvature in my spine as a result. I would wear baggy sweatshirts no matter the weather; hot or cold, rain or shine.

Eventually, this evolved. I typically went through phases of how I wore my hair; for a while, I would adamantly keep it down; other times, I would always keep it up in a ponytail. By the sixth grade, it was permanently in a ponytail. That lasted all through high school and into my first year of college.

On top of this, I refused any sort of cosmetic, except concealer to hide my horrible skin. I didn’t pluck my eyebrows, use chapstick, lotion, anything. I never wore (or wear, even to this day, my junior year of college) shorts, therefore leaving me borderline albino. I bit(e) my nails. I disdained any form of jewelry. No dresses, no skirts. Nothing nice or remotely girly. This was me.

And this was the hopeless challenge I sent out into the universe. I said: “Here is me, in my rawest, ugliest, most unattractive form. I dare you to have someone who likes this. Who will like me.” And I knew that it was impossible. I had made it impossible. In addition to my appearance, I spoke out against men and relationships; how stupid and pointless they both were. My insecurity became my barricade, but at the same time, it also became a tiny whisper to the darkness, a tiny wish.

According to various friends, there had indeed been people who had liked me. I was just too oblivious to notice. My boyfriend-to-be was one of them. I came to know of his existence in my trigonometry class, also known as my personal Hell on earth. He was the one of the few who could stand up to and put up with my demon teacher’s horridness. I told a friend about him one day, and miraculously she knew him. I told her to tell him he was my hero, and soon enough, he was sitting with me every day at breakfast. Every day. I never thought anything of it. According to him, he would stare at me nearly the entire time.

It wasn’t until after graduation and a few months into college that we started talking. Well, he would talk to me, on Facebook mostly. We finally met up sometime in March, had some awfully awkward get-togethers, and by August we had kissed.

This may sound strange, but we started dating at a very convenient and inconvenient time simultaneously: when my life first started falling apart. I had just transferred from my first college (a private, all-girls, liberal arts college) to a public college in downtown Atlanta for financial reasons. I was not too happy about it. Family issues were abundant after we found out about our stepfather’s insane number of affairs. And by the following summer, we were being evicted from our home. I had to give my beloved dog away because she couldn’t fit in the moving truck. All the money I had made working two jobs over the summer was lost with a single mouse click, as I used all of it to pay for school I thought would be covered by my scholarship. Unfortunately, the state had passed reforms on said scholarship, and I had lost about $1000 worth of aid I so desperately needed.

My boyfriend became the single thread left intact in the curtain of my life, which I desperately hung onto, cartoonishly dangling from a metaphorical balcony.

Regardless of all the credit I give him, which is aptly deserved, there is still some lingering paranoia and disappointment I harbor in regards to him. He wasn’t exactly the best person before dating me (not that I am saying I had anything to do with the transformation). He’s stolen. He’s lied. He’s done drugs. He’s used girls, fucking just to fuck. He claims to feel little to no regret. And all of this still, to this day, terrifies me. Makes me sick to my stomach. Even when I asked a friend her thoughts before we started dating, she said she’d never date him because he was “always doing stupid shit.” He doesn’t do any of this now. But the real thing that scares me more than anything is knowing what he’s capable of.

And he is capable of all those terrible, awful things. Who’s to say he won’t do them again? My personal history, my experiences, prevent me from placing any total and absolute trust in anyone, including him. When he was dropping me off at the airport this holiday season, we joked about him getting to hang out with his other girlfriends now that I was leaving. He asked me, “Do you really think I would cheat on you?” And I answered honestly: “I hope not.”

I find myself somewhat justified by the fact that he’s always had girls chasing after him. A woman randomly came up to him in a grocery store and asked if he was donating his sperm. Just recently, a new receptionist at his job lifted his number from the company’s system and called him three time in one day. The third time she called, it was after midnight, and the two of us were trying to go to sleep in his bed. He got upset when I ignored the call instead of letting it finish ringing, because you can tell by how long it rings if the person is ignoring you. I just wanted to turn off the obnoxious, loud ringtone. I play all of these things off as funny, so I don’t seem like that crazy girlfriend (because that is the one thing I desperately try to avoid), but this incident was less than reassuring. He tried to get me to look him in they eye when he told me he’d never do such a thing. That there was nobody like me. That I was the girl of his dreams. But no matter how many time he says that, no matter how sincerely, how adamantly, I don’t think I’ll ever believe him.

Why? Because I know what he is capable of, and what everyone else is capable of. I expect misfortune and betrayal at regular intervals. I just feel it is unwise and immature to expect someone to be able to remain loyal to you forever. Maybe I’m hypocritical, but I don’t apply this to me. But my convictions are the only ones I really, fully know and understand. I’m just filling in the blanks for everyone else, and I’ve always been let down.

For now, though, he has been faithful, he has been kind, and he has been generous. And I love him more than I have anyone else of non-relation. He says he’s in for the “long haul,” I suppose. So for now, I’m just watching and waiting and hoping that he’s different than everyone else, like he’s proven in the past.

it gets worse

On top of the fact that I had insufficient funds to continue my next semester in college (my grandma ended up paying the entire $1,817.04, begrudgingly), my younger sister and I uncovered something rather scandalous in my mother’s life.

One day, my sister was snooping through my mother’s cellphone. My sister has little regard for my mother, let alone other people… not necessarily out of sheer selfishness, but rather because we have both been betrayed so many times by so many people, including my mother. At the time, I honestly didn’t care. But she stumbled across some… unsavory text messages between my mom and our uncle.

This uncle isn’t technically our uncle; he’s my mom’s cousin’s husband. Confused yet? Good. The point is is that he is not related by blood. He is an actor, having just landed his first really big gig a little over a year ago in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. My mom’s cousin, and his wife, are best friends.

If it isn’t painfully obvious already, these were not regular, innocent text messages. They were sexts. Each one of them going back and forth about how “hot and bothered ;)” they were, asking to send pictures of “that face, those breasts!” My sister had a better look at them than I did, but we honestly had no desire to see much more than that, and nothing more had to be seen. In that moment, we inherited a large, destructive, damnable secret. The question was then: what do we do?

Since it was very close to Christmas, we decided to hold off on telling anyone until after the holiday season. We didn’t know who to go to, anyway. Approaching my mom about it wouldn’t have worked; we would have just been attacked for compromising her privacy. Telling our aunt, her best friend, his wife, about the whole thing was another bad idea — that would ruin not one, but two families… including ours. I thought about just texting my uncle on my own, saying something along the lines of: I saw those text messages. You have such a great family and a great life; I don’t want you to ruin that.

In the end, I told my grandmother. My grandma (the very same who paid for the remainder of my tuition recently) has always been one of the only people I could talk to within my family. To me, she’s always been the level-headed, objective figure who — through her years — had developed a maturity beyond everyone else’s. I thought that maybe taking it to her, it would be handled correctly. Maturely. Appropriately.

I was wrong.

Turns out that my grandma had already had a feeling my  mom was doing something like that. My aunt decided not too long ago to move back to New York from California — but only for half a year. They would be going back and forth, she and her four children. Sounds like a hassle, no? Taking your kids from their school to NYC, having this happen twice a year? She speculated that perhaps my aunt had caught wind of something, or had a feeling that her husband, my uncle, was up to something.

It didn’t seem at all implausible. When my mom drove to La Guardia Airport to pick up my stepdad (whom she is on bad terms with; he cheated on her with 11 women and she will never forgive him for it, even though he’s getting help and trying), she had him drop her off in the city so she could go party; he would have to drive the rest of the way back home, alone. My sister told me that my mom said she didn’t know if she’d be staying the night in NYC or not that night… which raised some red flags. She later revealed that she had, in fact, met up with my uncle that night.

In addition to this new development, my grandma was angry that she had to spend her retirement money to pay for my college fees. She wasn’t mad at me, she was mad at my mom, who had the nerve to lie and say she wasn’t getting any child support payments from my dad. Just two of those ~$800 payments would have made a huge difference.

So, after I had left New York and returned to school in Georgia, my grandma assembled my aunt (a different one, my mom’s actual sister) and my uncle (my mom’s actual brother) to confront my mother about the situation. They weren’t trying to back her into a corner or anything; just coming to her as a family. But it all backfired horribly. In the midst of the arguing, my mother mentioned something about this aunt’s husband apparently being kissed by a family friend. And with that, she successfully turned the tides and switched the spotlight onto my other uncle.

This is getting a little confusing. My family is larger than the average, and I wish I could use real names. Please bear with me.

I received a slew of angry texts from my mom not long after about the whole ordeal, saying that next time I come to her first, that there was no affair, and that I was not to respond to my grandma or my aunt should they try to contact me. I ended up calling my grandma of my own volition about a week after to learn all of this and more.

Apparently, my aunt is now going crazy. Outraged at her husband for not telling her about the family friend coming onto him, she is threatening to leave him. And all I can think is that I left my family with it whole and intact; now it is is complete shambles. And I can’t help feeling like some of that is my fault. And all I can think about is the kids. My poor cousins, my poor siblings. I’ve been through all of this before, more or less. These things… regardless of how young they are, and how many specific memories they forget, the feeling of total despair never goes away. And I can personally vouch for this statement. I can’t recall specific events, but there lingers terrible remnants of hopelessness and loneliness that still make my stomach knot.

And I think about them, how they are the least deserving things in the world for this sort of thing. My little brother and sister had just earned a fun family, and now they’ve already lost them. All because I decided to go to my grandmother.

My mother still insists that both my aunt and my stepdad are aware of her “activities” with my uncle. I have never heard my grandmother sound so ragged and miserable before.

venting

It’s easy to tell by a mere glance that this blog is almost 100% angst. The reason for this is that I need some place to vent. I can’t do it on my oh so public tumblr, lest I look like an attention-seeking idiot. So I made this blog, that no one knows about, where I can record my anxieties, my problems, in the privacy of strangers. I don’t post for views. I barely get them anyway. So it works out.

Right now, I am at home for Christmas vacation. My family moved from New York to Georgia when I was 14; they moved back just a few months ago. I am now 20. So I am trapped in college in Georgia, having already started, and desperately needing the state-awarded financial aid. But for now, I am here. In a new house, surrounded by family that had long grown adjusted to our absence and probably regrets that we’re back.

I am also quite sick. I feel like shit. I probably have a sinus infection, along with a sore throat. My mom left my sister and I to take care of my 5 year old sister and 3 year old brother while she finished up Christmas shopping. I was already feeling shitty, but with two constantly fighting and crying children to watch out for, I felt like I was going through a cheese grater.

Perhaps the only source of solace I have here, considering I no longer have a room or my own bed in my own house, is videogames. I found out earlier that my copy of Skyrim was suddenly scratched beyond repair, for reasons unknown to me. I was just playing Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. In the midst of gameplay, my little sister runs into the room, her foot snagged a cord, causing my xbox to crash onto the floor. The disc within screeched as it was dislodged. Lo and behold, I open the disc drive and look at the scratches going around the entire circumference of the game: the same exact kind I noticed on Skyrim.

The two games I had any interest in playing are now ruined.

I just want to go back to my dorm, as sad as that sounds. But there’s a complication with that, too. There are always complications. Even with the financial aid that I get, I still need to pay the school almost $2,000 out of pocket. I was able to do it myself this past semester from working two jobs over the summer. But this past semester, I did not work because if I did, I would not have been able to visit family for the holidays (hah). I have been practically living off my boyfriend, shamefully, and it fucking kills me. The only money I do somehow obtain goes to my Proactiv, because my face is fucking disgusting. That money is taken directly out of my account before it ships. For all my life, my mom has been receiving child support payments from my father. It amounts to about $800 per month from him. But she’s never given the money to me. Technically, since I’m not living at home anymore, all of it should be going to me. But it’s not. She denies even getting any checks over the past few months because something about the moving and changing the address with the state etcetera etcetera. I have the same payment due in a few weeks.

My dad came up with a plan, though. For the longest time he has been trying to get that money directly to me and not my mom, because she doesn’t use it on just me. She uses it for everything else, too. Bills, the other kids, herself. He said he had connection with the child support agency, that he could just talk to some people and get it all straightened out. Said that because he only had two more months of payment left (I turn 21 in February; after that he no longer is obligated to pay anything) and the state wouldn’t really care if he just sent a note to them explaining the situation and then sent the money to me for school. He said his money situation is in good condition.

Of course that didn’t work like he said it would. And of course, as soon as this happens, he’s suddenly short on cash. I had already told my mom that my dad would take care of the payment. My dad was obligated by law to send the payment out. My dad said the only way we could make it happen would be to start a petition and go to court… but the court date would probably end up sometime in the spring. By that time, she would have gotten the last payment and the due date for mine would have been long past.

I’m slowly imploding, and Christmas lights look so pretty through tears. And that may have been the most emo thing I have ever said.