Family, chosen and otherwise

My grandfather passed in his sleep the night before last.  As complicated as our relationship was, I still felt close to him.  Even when I couldn’t share 85% of my life and the things and people I cared about with him, he was still someone I loved very much.

When I was a kid, I was always the favorite.  I was the first blood grandchild that they had.  I was the one that they took on vacation every summer, the one they fawned over, etc.  And when I became a teenager and started thinking for myself, that’s when the trouble began. 

I’ve always been independent.  I’ve always followed my own path instead of walking one that someone would set before me.  I’ve never needed anyone’s advice on how to handle things, I’ve made my own decisions and accepted my own consequences.  For my control-freak family, that’s always been a problem.  Through it all, I’ve never asked anyone to help me out of my own messes.  I’ve learned from them, become stronger (and stronger and stronger), and moved on.

I’ve also had various hair colors, tattoos, non-traditional relationships, non-traditional spirituality, and very little in the way of financial success.  But I’ve always, ALWAYS, been true to myself.  My life path sometimes seems like a sucking, treacherous rut in deep mud, but it’s MINE, and I do the best that I can with it.

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One of the things that I’ve learned is very important to me, is the concept of ‘chosen family’.  I’m very, very particular about the people I surround myself with, especially with all the death and upheaval over the past 3 years.  (Bear with me, I know I harp on this a lot, but it really is a major influence in my life, and something I’m trying really hard to work through.  8 deaths of people close to me in 3 years really DOES mean that I get to whine about it a little.) 

So yesterday, I got the call about Papa at about 8:30.  I was at work, and was already hurting quite a bit because I’d only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night before.  I was tearing tags, prepared to be miserable and hurty for the next 5 days that I was on.  When Mom called, she lost it on the phone.  I tried to be supportive and calm, while processing the news myself.  I was at work, after all, and customers were coming in throughout the entire conversation.

So when I hung up with Mom, I stared at the phone for a full 5 minutes, trying to make sure I was calm enough to call my manager to let him know what was going on.  I wasn’t.  Of course I wasn’t.  Even after 5 minutes, I ended up crying on the phone with him, at which point he came out of the office and took over for me while I went back to the bathroom and lost my shit.

I began trying to call Bear and J, and they were both dead asleep.  I texted, called, etc.  Eventually, J called me back and rushed to come take over the last 3 hours of my shift so I could go be with my family.  He was exhausted from the previous 2 days, and I felt terrible asking, but I needed to leave, and he was there in a snap. 

I’d been holding it (mostly) together all morning, until he showed up, and I lost it.  I cried all the way home, called Mom, cried some more, etc.

 

******************  This is where I dropped off.  I was just too tired to write anymore.  The gist is that when I finally went over to my grandmother’s house, she LAYED INTO ME.  She gave me a stream of shit about my tattoos, how much had I spent on them, when was I going to cut down the trees in my backyard, when was I going to pay my property taxes, when was I going to sell all of the things I kept when my other grandmother died, etc. 

Bear started getting pissed, my aunt and uncle looked embarassed for me, and I just wanted to leave.  Those people are toxic to me.  I know that she and my mother and my sister sit around and talk about me, and figure out all the little nuances of my life and how much of a failure I am.  They want to know why I don’t spend time with them?  That’s why.

I need distance from my family.  Family is supposed to love you unconditionally, but that’s not the kind of family I have.  Bear and J love me unconditionally.  My blood family mostly think that I’m worthless.  Fine.  Who needs ’em?

So I’m stuck with this urge to just move.  Out of state.  And maybe not even leave a forwarding number. 

 

*************************  The funeral was last night, and it was short and sweet.  It was actually more of a visitation, and Mom was happy to see that Grandma cried for the first time since Papa passed.  It was nice to see Mom’s cousins that traveled from Md and Fl, and one that lives here but that we never see.  After the visitation, we went back to Grandma’s and had drinks.  Everyone needed that. 

I think everyone behaved towards me because of the out-of-towners.  😀

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2012 in review

English: Snowy forest track. The tree cover ha...

English: Snowy forest track. The tree cover had insulated the late snow from melting, so the snow was deeper here than outside the wood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2012 has been a rough year.  I have been broken and rebuilt in ways that have stunned me, and I feel like I need to record it all here.  Maybe that will make it all seem less surreal, less like a movie of someone else’s life.

January: Lost my job.  I trained throughout November and part of December to do tech support from home, but because of various factors, it was too stressful.  So stressful, in fact, that I got very, very sick.  So sick, in fact, that I couldn’t talk on the phone, and was therefore useless for this particular job.  Also, J moved here to be with us in a romantic triad.

February: Found my current job and realized how difficult it is on my body.  It’s very low pay, very low skill, and very physical.  It’s certainly not where I thought I would work at this age, but it’s getting me by.  Also, my aunt (stepmom’s sister) passed away.  I went to the funeral and saw my stepmom for the first time in over a year.  She’s pretty much made it clear that she’s not interested in me or my life, (she thinks I need saving *eyeroll*) so it was a bit strained.

April: We began to realize that things weren’t working out with J, despite the fact that we all care a lot for each other.

May: In early May, Bear’s aunt (whom he was very close to) passed away.  We went to Md for the funeral, and that killed us a bit financially.  Also, when we returned, we realized that it was time to part ways with J.  Bear and I had been trying so hard to make things work that we had lost touch with  each other.  Ironically, we reconnected during our time in Md.  We had ‘the talk’, and J admitted to just not feeling it with us.  It was devastating at the time, but ultimately the best thing for all of us.

Later May: Bear just started feeling poorly.  REALLY poorly.  He just wasn’t himself.  He was pale, tired, splotchy, and the final straw was when he couldn’t hold a conversation without falling asleep in the middle.  He had also been having some serious sleep apnea, which he’d never really shown any signs of before.  It was terrifying.  So I dragged him to the hospital.  He was having a heart attack.  A very serious, very severe heart attack.  It just didn’t look like what you would think of as a typical heart attack because he’s so young.

It was the single most horrible thing that’s ever happened to me.  I had to face the possibility that he wouldn’t be with me, and just typing that makes me want to cry.  He had 4 blockages in the 3 main arteries into the heart.  There were 3 100% blockages and 1 95%  blockage.  The reality is that he’s extremely lucky to be alive right now, 4 stents later.

June: We began to radically change how we eat.  It was great, and I wish we had the $$ to eat as healthy as we were.  It’s our goal to get back to that.  We also learned to deal with the reality of Bear’s diabetes, high blood pressure, and all the piles of pills he would need to take from now on.  Things were still difficult with J, as I was a bit confused about what exactly had gone wrong.  I doubted myself a lot.

August: Worries about losing our house.  It’s a long story, and I think that we’ve pretty much gotten through it, but it caused SO many sleepless nights.

September: Our Dragon*Con wedding and a visit from Bear’s dad and uncle.  This was all GOOD stress, but stress nonetheless.  Continued worries about losing the house and worries about Bear losing his job.

October: My ex had a massive stroke and passed away a few days before Samhain.  It was devastating.  We grew up together.  We were together for 7 years, engaged for 5, and though I didn’t get a chance to talk to him much, I always knew that we could pick up the conversation right where we left off at any time.  He knew me from a time before I knew myself, and being with him helped shape me into who I am now.  I still can’t believe he’s gone.  😦

Second week of October, I came down with what seemed to be a small cold, and which I’m still suffering from now.  Twice now it’s moved into pneumonia territory, and I think that’s where I’m at right now.  Lots of middle-of-the-night coughing fits resulting in sleeping upright on the couch.  Lots of worrying about how to deal with it with no insurance.  😦

November: We finally met someone that we wanted to date, but she turned out to be crazy.  It was very disappointing, but obviously we just weren’t suited for each other.  Also, a catastrophic fight with my mother which confirmed that she is someone that I can’t rely on and that any little thing I say to her will be used against me in the future.  She can’t support me as an adult, and doesn’t even understand what my life is about.  She always sees the very worst in me.  I can’t talk to my sister, either, because anything I say to her will immediately get back to my mother.  Continued sickness, continued house worries, still fighting fleas.

Also, my uncle passed.  He was the last person left on that side of the family.  Now there are assorted cousins I really don’t have anything to do with, but my Dad and his family are all gone now.

December: The month of working.  And being sick.  And money worries.  And failing at Xmas.  And exhaustion.  I’m beginning to believe that Xmas is designed to make me feel completely inadequate in every way.

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There were good things that happened this year as well.

  • I appreciate my husband even more than I ever thought possible.  He’s the solid, good thing in my life, and I get to keep him.  I also got to marry him.  I’m a lucky bitch.
  • We found out who our friends are.  Some people who we thought were our best friends, couldn’t be bothered to show up for Bear when he was in the hospital.  Some friends who we thought were good friends were actually GREAT friends.  They showed up for him.  We learned the difference.  One friend even got ordained so that she could marry us.
  • We found the most amazing friend in J.  He was there for us in a way that means he’ll be in our lives and hearts forever.  He could have cut and run at any time, but he helped me through the worst time in our lives.
  • We learned a lot about health and lost about 25 lbs each.  We had to start eating cheap, and put a LITTLE of that back on, but we’re ready to get healthier and feel better in 2013.
  • Bear began his voice acting career in earnest.  He did a radio play in December, and he’s been auditioning for audio books and radio plays online.
  • Things seem good with someone that we’ve recently started seeing.  She’s sexy, sweet, honest, and seems interested in building something lasting with us.  I’m feeling VERY positive about having a lot of fun and new experiences with her.
  • I found my spirituality again.  It’s kind of one of those things that ebbs and flows, but it’s flowed back in a big way.  In addition, Bear and I have started talking seriously about starting an incense business.

Sadly, I didn’t get the writing done that I wanted to do.  I honestly just couldn’t drum up the energy for it.  I was spending so much time in survival mode, that everything else took a back seat.  I also just settled into my job.  I need to find something else, but again, survival mode.

As much as I went through in 2012, I really do have higher hopes for 2013.  I have goals, and I’ll be writing them in a separate post.

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Samhain, Rememberance, Yule presents, and NaNoWriMo

Sorry I’ve been quiet.  The death of my ex hit me pretty hard, and I haven’t done a lot of anything, including NaNoWriMo.  I’m at roughly 1900 words, and it’s day 7.  I need to decide to either catch up or give up.  I’m not going to be hard on myself either way, I’m just going to see how much writing I CAN get done.  It would be great to finish the last 35K of my first book before the end of the year.

Samhain was relatively low key.  We were babysitting some rats for a couple that Bear met on Reddit, and they came over to visit their kids.  We invited them to share some of the corn chowder I made, and we had a great time shooting the shit.  It turns out that we all have loads in common, though they’re a bit younger.   So I didn’t get to do some big ritual like I had planned, but it was very nice and mellow, and was exactly what I needed.

One thing I DID do, however, was to write letters to both my ex and my father.  The letter to my ex was mostly an apology for not getting to see him more.  The letter to my dad was..  Well…  Angry.  I got to say a lot of things that I needed to get off of my chest.  It was very cruel, very honest, and very cathartic.  I intended to burn them, but didn’t get to it until tonight.  It was nice to watch the flame spread over the paper and let go of the things I needed to let go of.

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I finally feel like Samhain tide is over, and now I’m starting to think about Yule.  I have plans for my altar, and I’ve already started looking for what I want.  I can’t afford the ingredients for the incense yet, but I know what I’ll be using.

After reading this post by The Witch of Forest Grove, I realized that I wanted to make Yule presents.  I haven’t done that in quite some time, and I truly didn’t have any better ideas.  I can only give so many people so many damn candles before they start throwing them at me.

So this Yule, I decided to make liquers.  I do this by infusing cheap vodka with various fruits and herbs, and I’ve done it a few times before.  It’s been a while, however.  So this year, I decided to give it a shot again, and also try some new things.  For my first experiment, I infused the vodka with roasted pumpkin and Werther’s Originals candies.  I wanted a rich butterscotch flavor, and it really does come out.  It’s been infusing for maybe 20 days now, and I’m going to strain it and add more roasted pumpkin.  The candies were interesting to work with, however, as they contain quite a lot of fat.  That fat separated and created an interesting look.  Nothing smells rancid or iffy at all so far.

 

Pumpkin butterscotch liquer

Pumpkin butterscotch liquer

 

I have plans for two other batches.  One will be elderberry/mandarin orange and the other will be lavender/lemon/vanilla.  I just need to save the cash for the vodka.  Even cheap vodka is expensive when you’re using this much of it.

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So, new words written since my last post: 1900
Writing goal: Do the terrible thing to the character I really like so that the story can close  *sigh*

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That first love

There’s a person out there who will always have a piece of my heart. We weren’t meant to be together, and the love faded in time, as happens when that’s the case. But he has always been someone that is incredibly special to me.

You see, we grew up together. We did stupid teenager stuff together. We got high together, we explored kink together, we spent hours and hours digging through the woods for rocks together. He lost his virginity to me. And as far as I know, he still has my name tattooed on his arm.

And he’s in bad, bad shape. He had a massive stroke a few days ago, and he seemed like he was doing better. Now he’s doing much worse. The swelling and bleeding in his brain has taken over, and from what I can tell, it looks like he won’t make it. I’m gleaning as much information from Facebook as possible from his wife and sister’s posts, so I only know so much.  I’m going to visit tomorrow.

He’s 40. We were supposed to live SO much longer than this. We were supposed to live forever, in fact.  What the fuck happened?
It’s been a long year of that.  Asking what the fuck happened.  I don’t have any answers.  I won’t get any answers.  It just is what it is.  The wheel turns, and our time has a limit.  It makes it tough to keep any faith that there is something better out there.  It’s nearly impossible to believe that the nearly constant loss will let up.  It’s the dying of the year, and it feels like my spirit is dying a little too.

I hope I don’t have to write another letter to put on the altar.  😦

 

Prom

Prom- was I really that young and thin?