Here We Go Oh-oh-oh

Tomorrow is my official first day, but my boss said she’d see me about eleven today, so… yeah…. I think today is it. The new me doesn’t start until May 1, so there will just be a lot to do. And I don’t know if or how I’ll get it all done. I tell everyone I’m excited because it seems so ungrateful to just be stressed. But, honestly, I’m just stressed. I think I’ll feel excited later. But this month? I’m expecting long hours and just feeling like crying most of the time.

So, my dad wants us all to go down to my brother’s for Easter because my brother doesn’t yet feel like traveling with the baby–which I think really means that the car seat only fits in his girlfriend’s car and his girlfriend’s car isn’t sound enough to make the trip to our house. Which is fine. Except that this somehow translates from Mom and Dad going to my brother’s for Easter to my dad trying to figure out how we can all go. And I’m feeling a little unheard. Like all my talk about how busy and stressed I am must just be bullshit. Can’t we drive down there after work on Friday and drive back late Sunday and the Butcher and I could still get to work? And these questions come up and I just feel this kind of split reality where my brain is rushing ahead thinking “You haven’t listened to or taken seriously a damn thing either I or the Butcher has said to you about how crazy this month is for me.” and my mouth is just exasperatedly saying “And what about the dog?” which is supposed to mean, “Have you at all considered the logistics of this from our end?” Because, frankly, I feel like he hasn’t. The only logistics to be considered, always and forever, are my brother’s. He’s the one constantly in crisis, so let’s all constantly rearrange our lives to meet his needs.

I mean, for sure, let’s go down on Friday so that he can ignore us all of Saturday like he did at Thanksgiving.

Anyway, I finished David Cantwells Merle Haggard: The Running Kind, which is pretty breathtaking on quite a few levels. But the thing that stuck with me and seems of a theme to this post is how Haggard would find these really talented women singers and then marry them and then hoist himself up on top of their talent and they would find their careers as anything other than duet partners with him stalling out. And then we find out that he’s in hot pursuit of Dolly Parton and I swear, it’s just about as harrowing as anything in a thriller. Will he get her and thus stall her career out?

And it’s not like he’s purposefully doing that. He’s not some intentional career serial killer. It just seems like he has an idea about how the world works–that he should get to have a great career and a great partner both singing and romantic and that he should also get to do whatever the fuck he wants while they raise kids and tolerate it–which is an idea about how the world works that the record companies are glad to go along with. And there’s no point at which Haggard seems to step back and say “Wow, the way I am in the world really curtails the lives of these artists I really admire. In fact, I couldn’t be how I am in the world without curtailing these artists I admire.”

Which is understandable. Holy shit. Who wants to look in the mirror and wonder if they’re some inadvertent Madame Bathory career-wise to the women you love?

What was my point? Oh, right. I sometimes think that my family expects from me a certain stalling out. Like I’m cheating the family if I have a job or ambitions that take me away from whatever drama we’re all supposed to be giving a shit about at the moment. But what can I do except feel hurt and keep on keeping on?

Which, ha ha, also, joke’s on them. Because I am terrified of stalling out. Afraid I have. Afraid all the writer I’ll ever be is “Frank.” But stalling out in that way doesn’t benefit them in the least.

But man, Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard.

There are many couplings I like to imagine (not in a lewd way, but…). I mean, my god, when you read about Loretta Lynn’s life with her shit-stain husband, don’t you hope that she and Conway Twitty were getting it on? And looking at Merle Haggard in his prime? Shoot, I hope Parton took him for a couple of test drives before deciding he wasn’t right for her.


11 thoughts on “Here We Go Oh-oh-oh

  1. Here’s a thought: don’t go to your brother’s place for Easter. Say “no”. Put yourself first rather than scrambling around and making yourself crazy between now and then. It’s perfectly okay to be a little selfish once in a while. You have good reason in this case.

  2. Yes, I must echo this. This is not an ordinary month for you. If you and the Butcher between you can’t explain that in a way the rest of the family will hear, stop explaining and tell them that it’s no, just because. Hey, it will be a pleasant change for them to be able to complain about you instead of about your brother in Georgia.

  3. Third vote for no. Wave to them and wish them well — they can tell you all about it when they drop Butcher off (if he can’t say no). You’ll catch up some other time when you aren’t taking on a new job.

  4. I don’t even think it’s selfish to say no. It’s necessary in this case.. They can choose to arrange their lives around him but it doesn’t mean you have to. It doesn’t make you less loving or less concerned. You’ve just got your own shit to deal with at this moment and being an adult means sometimes you have to deal with your own shit before you can deal with others’.

  5. Ha, that reminds me of the shtick the Southwest flight attendants used to do: “If you are traveling with a child, or with someone who is acting like a child….” Put on your own oxygen mask first. Or else you won’t even be in a position to help anyone else.

  6. And, “No” is a complete sentence. Good luck, Betsy. Man, family is some crazy-making shit.

  7. I just get so mad at myself for not immediately just saying “No.” All the time I do this thing where, even while my brain is saying “No, god, no. You don’t have time for this.” my mouth is still trying to negotiate. Like “Oh, I’d really love to go, but what about the dog?” The Butcher and I were talking about this this morning and he was like “You’re always going to be at a disadvantage because [our brother] doesn’t give a shit and you don’t want to disappoint or upset Dad, which means [our brother] is always going to get his way.” Which, yes.

    But I’m just going to have to put my foot down, regardless of whether I have an excuse deemed by the rest of the family to be legitimate enough.

  8. Long time lurker, first time commenter. This post resonated with me, as do the comments. I have two siblings who seem hell bent on making a shit storm of their lives, and my parents constantly feed/feed off of all their drama. Meanwhile, I am an asshole because I want to be over here living a decent life. No thought is ever given to the fact that I can’t just drop everything to come deal with whatever bullshit they’ve managed to kick up. I have no words of wisdom, just dropping by to say I feel you, man.

  9. I told my dad this morning that we just couldn’t make Easter work. He was remarkably understanding. So, then I cried. Which was… not my best moment. But I was just relieved. And stressed. And stuff. But Easter as a family event is off.

  10. I’m glad you did that. I’m sorry it made you cry. It was the right thing, though. Good for you for doing it.

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