One of the things I realized this Christmas is that I have a tremendous amount of luxury in my life now. Not just the luxury of a roof over my head, but the luxury of time to write, the luxury of sick days when I’m feeling like shit.
But the biggest luxury I have is that I am safe in my own home. Which is not to say that someone couldn’t break in and take things. But that’s still an invasion. What I mean is that, right now, the Butcher has some friends I don’t like. But if he called me up and said “Hey, I’m running late from work and so-and-so is already at the house, so don’t be surprised when you get home,” the only thing I’d think is “Oh, god, what am I going to talk about with that person until the Butcher gets here?” There’s not a single person the Butcher or I would have over at the house that I would think would be likely to steal from me or fuck my shit up for fun.
I no longer hide cash in my own home. If the Butcher is going to the store and I need him to buy me something, I leave $10 by his car keys and trust that the $10 will be there (or on the floor near there) when he looks for his keys. I don’t decline to buy the niftiest thing because I’m afraid I’ll lose it or it will get broken or destroyed.
I’ve arranged my life so that any asshole that would steal from me or break my stuff has to do so either by invading my home or betraying me.
And I hadn’t even realized I was doing it until this Christmas. And yet, I’ve clearly been changing my life in this way since I left my parents’ home.
The Professor asked me if I felt guilty, if that’s part of why this holiday has shaken me. And the truth is that I do feel guilty. Not because I have all this and my brother and sister-in-law and my nephews have so little. I feel terrible for my nephews, but my brother and sister-in-law are sleeping in beds they made. I have friends who I look at and I wonder how their lives are there and my life is here. But I don’t have that wonder about my family. I feel guilty because I am not going to help them. I’m not going to start talking to my sister-in-law again. I’m not sending my brother money. I’m not insisting anyone move in with me so that I can ensure they have a roof over their heads.
And I think that makes me a terrible person. But it makes me a terrible person who feels safe in her own home.
God, just the fact that I don’t have to play “Guess which bullshit is closest to the truth” on a regular basis is such a luxury. And there’s no way–simply none–once the wallet starts opening, to avoid that game. Let alone having folks here.
I choose doing what I know makes me happy over doing what might help my family. Mostly because I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t help. I think it would just be two branches of the family throwing their money away instead of one.
But man, it rubs me wrong. If there’s even a slight chance, you should take it, right?
And yet, they teach lifeguards how to keep from being dragged down by the people they’re trying to rescue.
I just hear this voice in my head saying “Oh, it’s so inconvenient for you, is it?” But being safe in your own home isn’t a convenience. Not having to take charge of the lives of other adults isn’t a matter of convenience.
I know I’m making the right decision, but it sits uneasily with me.