I don’t write much about my family. Hell, I don’t really even write much about everything I’ve gone through. While there are so many things about which I demur, complements I can’t accept, ideas about my life that I disbelieve.. I do agree with people when they say that I am strong. Because I am actually much stronger even than most people know. Simply, I deal with a lot more than I confess to anyone. J knew, but he was the only one. (Writing this fills me with guilt; I am much more comfortable with modesty…)
The thing is, I don’t think the problems in my family are mine to claim strength from, really… though I’m doing it now. The individual family members who have to cope with their demons are the stronger ones. Sure, I have my own demons but nothing compared to what my sister and father, aunt and uncle have/had to deal with.
I won’t talk about my sister here, although if I were it would be to say how much I admire her for persevering despite inheriting much more than her fair share of the family sick. I want to respect her privacy; she’s one of my heroes.
No, I kind of need to talk about my father.
My father’s family has overwhelmingly suffered from crippling, devastating mental illness… typical Irish family, eh? Since I can remember he’s been an alcoholic; I’m pretty sure he was removed from his own company (Cancer research) because of it. He simply has no interest in healing from the slow-motion suicide he’s been performing my entire adult life. As I’m a bit obsessed with health and wellness (happy body, happy mind), I often share information with him where it’s not wanted, pass on literature he discards, etc. He openly resents my interventions, my timid prayers for his safety.
I have had moments where my attempt to repress and ignore the effect he’s had on me break down, like when he stopped trying to hold it together in front of J, and was smashed during one Christmas visit. I found his jug of cheap vodka in the cabinet, and smashed it in a wild frenzy of rage and grief, leaving behind the most gut-wrenching note to my father in its place.
My mother hides the vodka bottles because she doesn’t want to put them in the recycling bin. Who would see? I don’t know.
My father tried to kill himself this week. My mother called my sister over to help, and when S arrived he was crying like a baby. They wanted me to talk to him on the phone, to distract him while they tried to get him admitted to a hospital.
He told me that it was my fault.
He told me that I was an indifferent child, and that it was my fault this was happening.
I know that’s not true. I cried and shook, and told him the truth- that I study Japan because of him, that I admire him more than anyone, that I work so hard because he worked so hard. I also got angry. “Dad, I was just a normal kid. This is your head stuff, not about me.”
I mean, I know. I know that nothing he said to me is true. I also know that he won’t stop until he’s dead. And that I’ve failed my parents, as the only one healthy enough to do so, by not giving them grandchildren. I’m running out of time before my dad dies, and my own body cannot. Or so I am reminded.
He’s “safe” in the hospital now. I can’t contact him.
And this is why I don’t have time for boys who won’t meet me, who text and call but avoid hanging out with me in person. I don’t have time for bullshit and games and Rules following and dating crap. I have no patience with head games and I won’t pretend I’m busy when I’m not and v.v. J served me the divorce papers on Tuesday. Typical birthday week for me, really (head cold on top of it). But you know what? I’m ANGRY. And in this state, nothing can touch me because I’m out for blood.
Almost of the things that I thought existed to support me have proven illusions this year. I’m left with the truth that there’s me. In the end I am my own strength. I feel temporarily suspended from the torture of my social anxiety disorder, because there’s not much left for me to be afraid of anymore. Almost all of my nightmares came true, and here I remain. I couldn’t possibly be the same person I was a year ago. But ultimately, I’m better… tougher. I’d even say I am one tough bitch.