Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cleaning House

Sometimes, we just have to clean house. Not just literally but spiritually as well. With all the personal shit I've been dealing with these past few months, I've found it necessary to re-evaluate things in my life & clean my house, so to speak.

I've also been reminded of the fact that in December between Christmas and New Year's I will have officially been out of the South for 10 years. That's not an accomplishment I take lightly considering I had to make my own way up here. I didn't know anyone before moving here. It's also one of the best things I did in my life since my emotional state & my spirit were so much better once I lived in Connecticut. I felt like my life was finally starting since before that, I was in a temporary state. A limbo, if you will.

That's one reason why I have tons of ex stories & experiences from college; part of it was getting an education in things my parents would never have encouraged me to learn or know about. You think if I'd lived with my parents I'd have gotten to date some of the guys I did? A huge part of me was feeling like my true future wasn't going to start until I got to NYC or found people who also wanted to live there like me. I felt like I was just killing time and preparing for my life, the one I chose and the one I made vs. the one inflicted on me.

I was reading a Dear Prudence letter from this week from a woman whose grown children didn't communicate with her as much as she'd liked (it's the letter signed "Abandoned"). Then I read comments about that one & a theme started to emerge: it seemed the people who still talked to their parents were friends with them in their adult lives. Their parents weren't "their parents." They'd had a friendship relationship with them.

I thought about it & it occurred to me that I'm not really friends with my mother. I'm not really friends with my sister either when you analyze it. There are things I absolutely wouldn't be able to discuss with them that I could discuss with most of my friends & we're way too different for there to be very much common ground. I wondered whether I would be "friends" with these people if I met them someplace or would have had them around if they weren't related to me. The answer is "no." In fact, our worlds would most likely never collide if you consider this objectively.

My mother was not the type you could talk sex ed with. If she'd had her way, I'd have gotten married a virgin & then just married everyone I slept with like my sister; perhaps I'd have even been frigid. My mother probably maintains to this day that if she'd had her way I wouldn't have gone to college in Atlanta. I see Atlanta as a partial refuge from some of the shit I had to deal with & got to live on my own, make my own decisions and as Janet Jackson would say, "I'm gonna be the one in control." In Atlanta, I was in control.

Had my mother been the kind of parent who wouldn't have the urge to throw scalding water on you if you'd dared to suggest abortion as a solution to an unwanted pregnancy, maybe I could have had a better relationship with her. At least, a more honest one.

My sister told me I was the favorite kid but I've never seen it. I think both she & my mother judge my lifestyle and the fact that I don't live in a prison of others' expectations. Since I don't see my mother (or even my sister, for that matter) respecting me for who I am and not making little cracks implying I'm a slut for not marrying everyone I had a sexual relationship with, I think we're at an impasse. It's creepy how my sister is starting to become more like my mother when she was quite the rebel as a kid.

Now I have decided the kids shouldn't suffer. I'll still get birthday & Christmas gifts for the niece & nephews since it's not their fault people in my family can't treat me with the basic level of respect they'd treat a total stranger. If family members refuse to give them those gifts, that's their pettiness if you ask me. If they trash me, that's also their pettiness. I think my oldest nephew especially will eventually see people in his family as I see them. I also got my mother something I told her I'd get her beforehand to not be a total bitch.

It's funny because it's not like my mother hasn't cut people off herself. She doesn't talk to most people in her family & doesn't really have an explanation except she doesn't want to deal with them. If she doesn't have to deal with people in her family, then why should I have to deal with people in mine? Why is "family" some sacred cow I have to follow but isn't for her or millions of other people who don't talk to their relatives for various reasons, good or bad?

I might look quite young but my spirit is much older. You have to remember that I went through big life altering, perspective changing events earlier in life than the average person. My spirit is in a state of fatigue with general acts of BS. I just don't have the will or interest in dealing with nonsense in any corner of life. I have no time or interest in chasing anyone or trying to make anyone like me or give a damn about stuff I do. To me, that train is moving along and if you aren't on it you probably won't get to hop back on especially as things are picking up in other areas of life.

I also recently got rid of a Facebook friend that wasn't really my friend. More like an acquaintance of my husband's. She decided to make a backhanded remark on a political issue I am extremely hard core about based on my personal experience; apparently, she's perfectly fine with illegals charging into the country & not bothering to learn enough English to be able to call the police or know when school is closing for the kids. I challenged her remark & she showed her true colors. I got on the defensive, de-friended & blocked her.

Then, she made the mistake of contacting my husband. He told her off & also de-friended/blocked her. Like a leaf falling from a tree branch, she was gone. It's not like she'd made any real effort to be a friend in the first place. And, gee, what is the title of this blog? When I friend people on Facebook or get requests from people, what's the first thing I say? What occupation do I have state licensing in? These should be blatant clues that I'm outspoken & you'd better not come to a debate with me without having some sound logic to back up your position. I'm also proud of my husband for standing by me this time & not trying to change or challenge me.

As a rule, I don't generally de-friend people for disagreeing with me. I'll listen to dissent but you have to present a clear, rational argument for why you disagree with me. You don't get to make backhanded, veiled remarks that might be a personal attack on me. You also don't get to expect me never to take a stand on anything. Jesus, do you WANT me to have a stroke, go on a shooting spree, or do something else crazy, destructive & generally bad for society at large? That's what you'll get if you try to impose censorship on me. It's also a major factor in my working for myself. At least some people appreciate me for who I am instead of what they wish I were or think I am.

I viewed this little exchange as just more cleaning house. When you're severing relationships with close family, it sort of feels like you've just gotten out of prison and had shackles removed from you after having worn them for decades. I feel like I'm rubbing my wrists and looking out at the horizon into a new life and future. I decided it was not my problem that my mother doesn't want to speak with anyone or take steps to help herself. I have my own life to live & my own psyche to consider.

Grief and all this is sort of funny. My career popping has been keeping me going & given me a nice distraction from all this mess; I've actually done more modeling, which has made me feel tons better. Friends have also been a help. The real ones who have some self-respect & don't spend more time taking from me than giving.

My mother claimed that I never let anyone make a mistake. Well, it depends on the mistake. Am I picky & critical? Yes. I won't lie. In my business, letting someone make one huge mistake can mark the end of a career and reputation you worked forever to build. There's also the question of remorse. Should I just be a doormat?

I've always felt people in my family have allowed the world to treat them as doormats, which I can't do. Especially for people who are supposed to have your back in the personal context. They're more important than the people you're doing business with & get to see the real you. I feel like a real friend isn't someone who makes you feel like you can't be "the real you" around them.

I also have high standards for myself and those who get the privilege of being in my life. That's how we should view people in our lives: privileged. If someone doesn't take that seriously, then in my opinion they don't belong in your life. If I'm making all the effort or doing everything, how do I know the person actually cares or if they just don't want to hurt my feelings but could really care less about me?

When I dated guys, I eventually adopted a 2 week rule. If a guy didn't follow up with me after a first date or meeting in 2 weeks, I'd say "Next!" and move right on. If I'd met some other guy within that time, I'd have probably said "Next!" even sooner if the second guy was following up & showing me he actually valued my presence. Comes back to the basic ethic of "Life's too short." It really is. For me, it's way too short to deal with bullshit. Even when getting dumped, I had a process for getting over a break up down pat. I only had a problem once when my sex buddy came along too soon in the grief process & made it take a week longer than it should have. See why my longest relationship with a guy in the same zip code before my husband was 6 months?

I think more people should view others' presence in their life as a privilege, not an entitlement or a right kind of how David Chase viewed the characters on The Sopranos (he said any of them, including Tony, could be dead at any time). I also feel more than justified in why those relationships ended since it allowed me to spot problems & articulate exactly what I wasn't putting up with in the next guy. I wasn't the type to linger in a bad relationship & I still wouldn't. I feel like it delays the inevitable.

These are reasons cleaning house can be a very good thing. At least as a writer and actress, I've got a lot of emotions to draw from and creative spark to work with. For me, those are good things. You've got to use tragedy and bad shit somewhere & I feel like putting them in a positive place is much better than wallowing in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment