Day Successfully Squandered

I didn’t even get to the bank! I did go review a park–Tom Joy Park, which must have been named on Opposite Day. And I took a nap in the hammock. And i waited for my sunflowers to bloom. I am still waiting.

The woman who’s helping me copyedit has come up with some great ideas to smooth things over. And she’s recommending an author’s note, to just kind of make sure that everyone who reads it knows what they’re getting into. I should have worked on that some today, but I was busy mulling it over.

The Butcher got the bookshelves in. They look nice. No books on them yet, so the orange cat is trying out different shelves like a kid at summer camp.

No sign of the tiny cat yet. It’s not the longest she’s been gone, but it’s been a while since she’s been gone this long.

I’m still not sure what to say about my trip to Georgia, if anything.

I guess what I want to say is this. I believe that we all go through periods where we’re lucky or unlucky and there’s not much you can do to avoid those times. Like storms, they just happen. But you can cultivate good luck for yourself and your people, which will hopefully make navigating the unlucky times easier.

But part of being lucky, I think, is learning to act. That’s been the hardest part for me, since that’s not how we do, but it’s how it goes. You learn to be forthright and an active force in your own life in an honorable way or you keep dealing with the consequences of not doing so.

I know this is a religious belief, but it keeps playing out in my own life so profoundly that, to me, it feels like truth.

Which, okay, fine.

But I see my family so unhappy, so profoundly unhappy because of the ways they try so hard to passively accept everything that is happening to them, for fear of bringing on abuse by standing up and it breaks me. I just feel so bad for them.

And there’s nothing I can do. Which, in a way, is a great relief. But I feel like I no longer have a common vocabulary to talk to them about this. For them, it’s all about relying on God to work things out in his own time, in his own way. For me, it’s hard for me to see how they aren’t making a demand of God–that he act so that they don’t have to–that might not be a part of the bargain.

My brother was complaining about how I never visited him and I just said to him that he doesn’t have his own place and I’m too old to crash on the couch of a woman I don’t even know.

Anyway, the Thanksgiving I spent with those folks, a dad chased his son around with a two-by-four. It was the most horrific thing I’d ever seen in person, but they all laughed like it was ordinary.

That dad died today.

My brother cried for him.

8 thoughts on “Day Successfully Squandered

  1. I know this is a religious belief, but it keeps playing out in my own life so profoundly that, to me, it feels like truth.

    Ma’am, it’s your truth and therefore your religion. And it’s a damn fine one, I say. I only pray that your loved ones can learn a little more truth from you, not only to ease their journey but to ease your path with them.

    (By the way, you’re not “too old’ to crash on a stranger’s couch at someone else’s behest. You have too much class to.)

  2. Hey, that’s my truth too. I am a week done with my latest prolonged encounter with my family and still too bruised up emotionally to want to put it all in words. Much of the trip was spent refusing to go back into the old boxes of family crazy-making. I think it pisses my mom off to be shown that she could choose to act a different way, since that gives the lie to the “we’re all stuck with what life hands us and that’s just how we are and how we have to be.”

    I’d like to be beyond the touch of my family’s past, but that’s not going to happen. I just have to learn to let the hurt pass on through without doing too much damage.

  3. Give it time; the longer you stay out of the old ways the less power the fact that others are still following them has to hurt you. My only quibble with B’s post is the idea that be forthright and an active force in your own life in an honorable way or you keep dealing with the consequences of not doing so is religiously specific. On the contrary, I think it’s a generic human truth.

  4. Y’all are like a little support group for dealing with nutty families, you know that? Thank you.

    And B., as awful as the ending of that post was to think about, the way you wrote it was beautiful.

  5. Oh, bridgett, you have just given me the words I’ve been searching for! My family is SO VERY MUCH the “we’re all stuck with what life hands us and that’s just how we are and how we have to be” rut and you’re exactly right, it pisses them off so much that I don’t buy into that and choose to act differently. That I choose tocall them on their bullshit. That no, actually, it is NOT OK for my aunt to cheat on her husband several times, move out and still demand that he keep sending her money every month.

    Gah. Yeah, this is compeltely crazy-family therapy. Much needed.

  6. Peach, I feel the same way! Just hearing other folks are going through it and dealing with it makes me feel like I’m not alone and that I have support for trying something different.

    Bridgett, I hear you. I’d like to be at peace with my family’s past and that will mean learning to let stuff move on through. That’s a skill I’m still developing.

    One thing I found interesting is that my mom had a dream which she told me about (the fact that she told me even when my dad told her not to, before she had even started it is the interesting part). In this dream, they built a house in my back yard to live in.

    I find that interesting because it’s about as active as my mom will get. She won’t open herself up to criticism to say that she wants to live in Nashville, but she now has expressed to my dad that desire in a way he can’t argue with. She had a dream. Hell, it might even be a vision. If they moved someplace close by, east of me, you might even say it was a premonition.

    If she doesn’t want to move to Georgia, I don’t think it will happen. But so far, she has not said that she doesn’t want to move to Georgia.

    This weekend was the first real confirmation I got that she might not let it happen.

  7. Seconding nm.

    I’ve put up where I’ll see it regularly – on my desktop wallpaper at home, a post it at work, etc. – a quote by Hunter S. Thompson: “A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.” I come from people who ride out bad times and/or tough choices by freezing in place … almost demanding God (or others) change circumstances for them rather than work to change them themselves. Actions, good or bad, are choices. I’m hoping that by reminding myself of that (and choosing wisely), I can cultivate better outcomes.

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