I am not one usually to run out of words. I have been known to be quiet and withdrawn, but the events of the past two days have truly knocked me sideways.
I have been deeply depressed. This is not news. I have been fighting my health problems and feeling suicidal for over six months. I have been suicidal before, but I usually stuffed my feelings down and made it through by making myself numb. I have lived most of my life appearing cheerful, but feeling like a zombie inside.
On Monday night, I finally decided that if I was going to die, I should tell my brother how very angry I was with him. So I sent him a text that basically said that I was sorry I was born and caused such misery to everyone in my nfamily, but that I had expected more from him. Thanks, but no thanks. He won no prizes for being a gentleman.
Shortly after I sent my text, his wife called me. She had refused to answer an e-mail I had sent her last September, and she had left me high and dry after my visit with her in April, after she moved in with my nmother. I picked up, and she asked if I was okay. I said no, I wasn't. She then said that A (my brother) would call me when he could get out of the lab. I said fine, and then told her that I had been horrendously betrayed, that I didn't trust her, and that basically there was nothing left to say. I hung up.
A called a bit later. He asked if I was okay. I said no. I also told him that I was really angry that he hadn't answered my e-mail in October, or bothered to tell me that he had made it home safely from his tour. He said that he was tired of being in the middle (as if *I* put him there!) and that no one in the family was going to have a relationship with me until C and I worked it out. He had told my cousin to stop communicating with me; I had suspected as much when my cousin stopped responding to my texts and messages. The straightjacket of such an arrangement insisting on complete family harmony made no sense to me on multiple levels: I wasn't doing any of the obstructing, and why can't adults have relationships with other adults without the blessing of everyone on the planet? I brought up how honoring thy father and mother doesn't mean committing murder; where do you draw the line? He asked for some time to think, then said he'd call me back. I answered very sarcastically, "When? Six months? A year from now?" He told me he'd call me the next day, and call our mother that night.
I felt sad beyond measure yet again. I really had done nothing but be born into this family of people I couldn't begin to understand. I wasn't asking for anything more than friendship and respect. I cried, lay in the fetal position, felt more alone than ever, and wondered what in the hell I had done to deserve such treatment. And sadly, this kind of thing is not foreign to me, in love relationships, friendships, and otherwise. You'd think I could find a pattern in myself and fix it, and I've tried, but there is no way I could have created this situation with my nfamily. If anything, my problem is being stubborn and not letting go, but I think I hold onto things for a reason.
So I got the kids ready for bed, took a Xanax to help me sleep, and woke up at midnight with my body and emotions in a knot. I checked my phone and noticed that C had called me. Great, I thought. I am going to get reamed again for contacting someone or upsetting A.
The next morning, I was getting the kids ready for school and saw that C had called again. I couldn't pick up because I was too busy tracking down shoes and jackets and homework and trying to get Tobey to brush his hair. I had an appointment right after I dropped off the kids, and hashed it over on the phone with a friend who is trying to get over a breakup. He advised me to do as he is trying to do, simply to walk away. But I couldn't, I just couldn't.
I got home, arranged myself with Kleenex, a warm blanket, the dog, and the phone, and then called C. She picked up immediately and began to ask what was wrong, why I felt so bad, and what could be done to change it. I told her that I'd been unhappy pretty much all of my life, stumbling through it, never valuing myself. I asked her the three questions I'd forgotten to ask last time: Did she hold me? No. Did she name me? No. Did she listen to Edith Piaf while pregnant with me? No. We talked about how she was drugged for my delivery and doesn't remember anything of it. She was horrified to learn that I'd been in the NICU without a primary caretaker for six weeks; she'd been promised I'd go home with a family right away. She was angry to learn that the agency had lied to my parents about her prenatal care and about my father. She told me about hiding her pregnancy so successfully that she did her whole semester of student teaching and no one noticed. She told me about the day she screwed up the courage to tell her parents that she was pregnant with me.
Our conversation flowed for over an hour. She wanted to know about my parents, my childhood, my experiences. We joked about how we both suck at housework and would rather read books. How we're stubborn and good liars. We compared medications for depression, she asked about my boys, and we talked about how marriage is really hard. I told her that I'd left flowers for her father, and she was happy that I had done so. I asked why he had no flowers while the other family members in the cemetery did, and she said that she kept meaning to do it on her visits, but never got around to it.
At one point she said, "This is a nice conversation. Look, we can talk without yelling at each other!" I agreed. She said that she didn't feel like my mom, but that she would be interested in pursuing a friendship. She encouraged me to call her if I felt sad. I really *want* to talk to her. We do have a lot in common. It was so odd but wonderful to have shoved all the garbage off the table and to be able to interact just as people.
She told me that she had told A that she had no problems with our relationship, but that he insisted on this whole family reconciliation thing. She told me that she'd call him to clarify, and she told me to text my cousin saying that I'd spoken with Aunt C and that she was absolutely fine with him getting to know me. My cousin texted back and said, "Thank God! What a load off." C explained that my aunt and uncle want to approach me, but aren't quite ready yet. I think it's a relief for C now that everyone in the family knows. We can move ahead, take things slowly, and be friends--I hope. I never thought I would be able to say that. It feels wonderful.
A and I are figuring things out. I was so angry, angrier than I had originally thought I was. All those months I fretted about having him back in my life and wondering what I'd done--while knowing I had done nothing except exist. The enormity of his betrayal ripped me to shreds. It will take a long time for me to be able to trust him again, although I really want to get there. I asked him if he'd come visit me so that we can spend time together and reestablish our footing. He agreed, and will hopefully get up this way the weekend after next. My boys are thrilled: Callum said, "I think Uncle A owes me an apology, but then I want to hug him." Tobey just said, "I can't wait to meet him and show him all my Lego. And thank him for Alfie [the Elf on the Shelf A gave the kids last year]."
A assured me that he feels terrible for what he did, and that all of what happened was because of the situation, not because of me. Sound familiar? Oh yes, the situation that *is* me and for which I get punished, over and over and over and over....
But mostly I can't wait to hug him and cry and be happy that he's home safe and sound from Afghanistan. I also told him that he's too Southern and military and has to stop saying, "Yes, ma'am," to me unless he's teasing me as my little brother. I am too young to be "Ma'am."
So things are better, I guess, although I can't decide if this is actually my life or I woke up as someone else yesterday.