This post is going to be two-parts airing dirty laundry and one-part rant. I'm sorry to break away from my normal topic (sex), but this post is something that is weighing heavily on my mind and I won't be able to keep writing until I post it. I hope this helps me move on. Don't worry, my regular topic will be back soon.
As many of you probably noticed, I didn't post anything Monday or Tuesday this week, even though I spoke on Twitter and Facebook about having a fun event from the weekend to post about. Monday's lack of post was mostly due to the fact that I went to bed early Sunday night after spending the day prepping and then relaxing. The idea was to be fully prepared to get up early in the morning and get online for my first day of taking online graduate classes. Being the worrier that I am, my nerves were eating me up inside. The fact that I was able to think at all and sleep soundly is amazing.
Things on Monday started off great. My classes were open and easy to get in to. I found out that I already had the first few books I need to read, so I could start right away, and the classes didn't have too much work required in the first week, which will help to ease me into the process. After Monday morning, I feel very much reassured that graduate school is something I can handle and that I will be able to emerge with an MFA.
Seeing that I have a manageable, if not easy, road ahead, I called my dad to tell him that I was going to be coming to lunch. My dad and my grandfather have a lunch together every so often. It used to be every two weeks, but I'm not sure if they still do it that frequently. The two of them were supposed to have lunch around the time that I signed my lease for my Boston apartment, but my father had been sick and couldn't go. They rescheduled for Monday, and my father invited me, but didn't tell my grandfather as neither of us were entirely sure how my schedule was going to work with class.
I give my father a lot of crap, and he deserves most of it, but he does give me a lot of support when it comes to achieving my goals. He may not agree with said goal of studying writing to at least a Masters level, if not PhD, but he will support me. And he is totally on my side about moving to Boston. Interestingly enough, he lived a little ways down the same street my apartment is on almost thirty years ago. He knows the area well, and knows I can handle myself on my own. All my life he has been telling me to leave Maine and make something of myself, and he is happy that I finally can.
Of course, not everyone in my dad's family is nearly as supportive of me as he is. When I first called my grandfather to tell him that I had signed a lease on an apartment in Boston, his response was something along the lines of, "Well, at least you'll get that out of your system." I was a little thrown back by the response (get what out of my system? Boston?), but I managed to recover and keep the phone call congenial. When I hung up my father had promised to make sure to convince my grandfather that it was a good idea at their next lunch. The one that didn't happen. So there was a little bit of business hanging around unaddressed between my father and I and my grandfather. On Monday my grandfather aggressively tried to solve that business.
Maybe his bad mood came from the fact that his car had broken down, making him late. The fact that he had been confused about the exact road he was on wouldn't have helped as my grandfather has a lot of pride and would not want to start losing himself to brain deterioration of any kind. Or maybe he had been planning this talk for a while and had simply not had the chance to have it with us yet. Whatever the reason, my grandfather really blindsided my father and I on Monday with a third degree inquisition on my move and other issues.
The hardest part of answering my grandfather's questions was that, no matter what I said, he would turn and look at my father. "And you're perfectly comfortable with this?" he would say. His voice would be inquisitive, but his look was accusatory. It was a look that said, You shouldn't be OK with this because I'm certainly not. And if you were a better parent or I was in control, Ace would have been reined in years ago. With every question he was basically accusing my father of being a bad parent. It was clear that he did not approve of my choice to move to Boston, but even more clear that he felt like he should have had some say in the matter. As if he should be allowed some control over my life. (Keep in mind I've been an adult for almost four years now)
My father did the admirable thing and stuck to his guns. He wasn't going to let my grandfather act as if my moving to Boston was the breaking point of our family. Apparently there are many people in my family who feel like my attending college in Ohio and now moving to Boston is representative of my desire to no longer be a part of my family. This may seem like a silly issue, but it isn't to my family, who are for the most part extremely xenophobic. The outside world scares them. Add to that the fact that I am the only child in my generation and a male, and there is a lot of pressure to carry generations of family tradition on my shoulders. It is a weight I have felt my whole life, but until recently I never had the sense that people suspected I wasn't carrying the load.
I suppose it doesn't help that I haven't really spoken to one of my aunts in over a year now since she said some very hateful things to me and then defended her right to say them instead of apologizing. Anyone who knows me should know that shit like that doesn't fly by me. My father is known in my family for not putting up with drama or antics, but I'm a step above him. Not only do I refuse to take shit from people, but I have no qualms with cutting the crap out of my life. I spent too many year suffering under depression and my own self-hatred to be affected by the dumb comments others make, and I will do what I need to protect myself. If one good thing came from lunch on Monday, it was that I finally was able to tell my grandfather all the terrible things my aunt had said about me. I did it calmly and evenly, causing my father to later applaud my ability to keep the emotion out of my explanation. Realistically, though, it wasn't a struggle. After so long I really don't care one way or the other if that aunt ever says a word to me again.
Overall, however, the lunch was a disaster, ending with both my father and I pretty pissed at my grandfather and the others in my family who have apparently been talking behind my back about me. It is one thing for my aging grandfather to be worried that I am pulling away from the family, but it is an entirely different matter if you a whispering lies and half-truths into his ears so to make him fear it. I feel betrayed in a lot of ways by my family now, as if they, in their need for superiority over my incredibly happy life, purposefully have tried to ruin it. The joke is on them, though. I'm not going to let it bother me.
If they are dead-set on believing that I am leaving the family, then there is nothing I can say to change their minds. So why bother? I have been slowly crafting my own chosen family out of close friends. People I care about and who love me unconditionally. Is it a little strange to be collecting family members like I am? Maybe. Probably. But I'm not the only one who does it. There is simply no reason for me to operate under an oppressive family system. The solution is to move to Boston and make the close relationships I need on my own. I can make a family out of supporters instead of detractors. A group of people who love me for who I am, instead of my real family who would never forgive me if I told them I have sex with men regularly.
So that is where I'm at mentally at the moment. The move creeps closer and I have a lot to do, like renting the truck, calling the cable company, etc. I have to read a lot for grad school and keep up with my classes. I am trying to keep myself healthy so that I am over mono for good. Meanwhile I dealing with my new-found lactose intolerance and the new diet I have because of it. I hardly have time to think about my family, but the thoughts creep in anyway. I hoping that by writing this post I have exercised the thoughts, at least for a while, so that I can get out of what is clearly a funk and move on. Thank you for baring with me through it. I know some of you will be bored, but there are those who always enjoy these peeks into my very messed up world.