Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blog, interrupted

I didn't intend to take such a long sabbatical from blogging. It kind of just happened when I stopped writing over the 4th of July holiday and then didn't start again until now, six weeks later. I have a good excuse handy. I started massage therapy school right after the holiday. There's a fair bit of homework and all that. And I'm still working part-time as a lawyer. And I'm a mom. So I'm busy, busy, busy. So, yeah. Sounds good right? Well, it's bullshit. I mean it's true - I'm busy. But it's bullshit that I didn't have time to write. The fact is, I couldn't. Or wouldn't. Or whatever.

I had a bit of a . . . thing . . . with my family over the holiday and it knocked me way off center. Holidays are hard for me generally. Try as I might, I can't seem to get rid of my high expectations for holiday cheer. Even though I've never, ever had a Norman Rockwell family experience, there's a part of me that holds onto the hope that my family can be that loving "together" family of my dreams. Ever since the "thing" on July 3rd (which dashed my holiday hopes yet again) I've been struggling to write. I needed to write about my family but I didn't want to. But I couldn't write about anything else either. When you try to ignore the elephant in the room, it just keeps getting bigger until you can't see or even think about anything else.

So why don't I want to write about the "thing" with my family? Because I keep hoping that I can somehow make this blog non-anonymous. It's not really anonymous now, most of my readers know my real name. Hell, most of you are Facebook friends. But most of my off-line friends and family don't really know about it. Not that I would be upset if they stumbled on it but I'm hesitant to write personal stuff about my family and then make the blog more public to people who know them. On the other hand, pretty much everyone who knows me knows at least part of the story. So f**k it.

I was estranged from my dad and my brothers and pretty much most of my family for the past 12 years. Part of it had to do with my family not getting along with my husband and my feeling that I had to choose between them. (I was 7 months pregnant with my first child when we had a big falling out. I chose my husband.) Part of it had to do with everyone being stubborn and no one wanting to admit that they were wrong. For the record - and I've said this to everyone involved - I take responsibility for my own part in the whole mess. Also for the record, no one else in my family has been willing to do the same. But whatever. Life is too short. I'm willing to let it all go and just start fresh. I thought everyone else could do the same.

To the extent that I ever thought about it during those 12 years, I guess I saw myself as a puzzle piece lost under the couch. Once I was "found" I could just fit back into my very own tailor-made spot. But life isn't that neat and orderly. The puzzle changed. I changed. And I don't fit so neatly into the slot I once occupied. I missed a lot of stuff that went on so I wasn't there for various people in my family during some tough times. There are hard feelings. (Never mind that they weren't there for me during my hard times. But, like I said, whatever.)

What happened on the 3rd of July is kind of silly, in retrospect. My kids and I were supposed to go to my dad's and hang out with family. But some of my family members were going through another one of their tough times. And they only wanted "immediate family" around. I'm no longer considered immediate family so my kids and I were uninvited. I was disappointed. And really, really, really hurt. My kids couldn't have cared less. So that's good. I guess.

After six weeks of reflection I'm able to see that this has very little to do with me and a lot to do with them. I can sort of look at it objectively. Sort of. Here's what I've learned:
  • You can go home again. But you can't expect it to be as if you never left in the first place.
  • I've done the right thing - for myself - in forgiving them even if they can't forgive me. Life is too f**king short to hold grudges.
  • If the family you were born into doesn't fill your needs, build one that does. Surround yourself with supportive friends who love you unconditionally. If you look, you'll find them.
  • No matter how hard you try to stay grounded, something will come along to knock you off your feet. The key is to get back up and find a way to get grounded again.
So it has taken me awhile to regain my footing, so to speak. But I'm back and feeling stronger, and happier, than ever. Now that I've gotten the elephant out of the room, maybe I'll even start writing regularly again. Not many things would make me happier.