Loving family…

Sent this to a friend just now… A rambling rant to get it off my chest. They won’t respond. It won’t turn into a conversation. Sometimes, we just send rants do that someone else hears us…

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Rant about family… I rarely speak to anyone in my family, but I speak to my dad most of all. Until 2 years ago, I’d have said my family were really close… But the cracks started to show when my marriage fell apart, and then I moved back to Sydney… And the relationships disintegrated. Anyway… I talk to my dad the most – once every other week… And he’s the only one I visit, and that’s infrequent for a variety of reasons… 

He has emphysema. And he doesn’t use the oxygen, or eat healthy, or exercise… So holding a conversation is almost impossible. But it’s always been that way. He and his wife never raised children. Their lives have always centred around them. There’s little interest in others. 

To give you an example… We talk… About them and their lives. Dad says – how about you tell me about your life. What’s happening?

Me: no dad… Because half way through the second sentence you always interrupt me to talk about you. Let’s just talk about you. 

*you think I’m harsh on you! 😝dad will forget by tomorrow, if not already…

Dad: don’t be mean… *does a little boy voice that irritates me*

Me: I’m not. But if I start telling you about my life, you’ll interrupt to talk about you, then I get hurt. So let’s just not bother.

Dad: you’re thinking of your mother. 

Me: no… You both do it actually. 

Dad: I know all about your life. You told me you have a motorbike. But you won’t let me ride it…

Me: that’s great dad…

*conversation about dad and motorbikes for a while*

Dad: so tell me about you. I’ll listen. 

Me:sure… A few months ago, I went to the dr and walked out with 7 referrals to specialists… 

Dad: oh! Did you hear about that little girl who was missing in qld? They found her! I’m so glad… She looks like the little girl across the road… Such a sweet thing…

And that’s how it goes. Every time. And that’s how my family are. If they do listen – my mum and my sister – it’s to use it for gossip, to tell you how to live your life, or to use it against you later…

Which is why for two years now, I’ve tried to minimise contact. 

Magician told me the reason I give dad more chances is because he’s sick and we’ve been told he’s on deaths door for years… Perhaps he’s right. I’m not sure why else I do. But it’s all surface anyway. I’m polite (ish). I listen to their sagas if they call. I get off the phone as soon as I can. 

Rant is because somedays it gets to me – and today is one of them… Because he reels me in telling me he cares and he’ll listen… 

And this is why I’m so screwed up 😝

Forever…

I tell people my friendship is forever… But that’s a lie. I will give and give… Quenching your need to feel loved… Sating your desire to feel worthwhile… I will forgive and forgive… Tolerate and accept… Be the rock you need over and over… 

And then one day… I will stop. I will simply walk away. Stop replying. Wipe you from my life. 

I won’t warn you. I’ll simply disappear. You’ll look back and wonder how it happened. When. Why. 

But I will reach a point where I have given all that I have for you. I will give and give and give. And then. Stop. 

Perhaps this is unfair… Perhaps I should demand more somewhere in the middle. But I won’t. I won’t tell you how to be a friend. I won’t tell you the requirements. But one day, I just won’t have anymore to give you. One day, the constant excuses will no longer matter to me. I need to know I’ve done everything. I have given you everything I have and then some. I won’t warn you that every chip you make at the foundation matters. I won’t warn you of every crack. Every shudder. 

Just one day… It will be gone. One day… I’ll just stop. There will be nothing left. 

And yes… Perhaps that is unfair… Perhaps I should warn you… But I won’t. 

Words… threads…

“She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
—J. D. Salinger, A Girl I Knew

“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” – Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 

Remember when your heart broke when you were younger… When your world was shredded and you couldn’t seem to draw breath again…

It isn’t any easier when you’re older… In fact, it’s probably worse…

You have a life to live… People to be responsible for… You can’t stop and wallow… Even those dark midnight hours are taken by someone else’s needs… And there’s no time to grieve…

Time… When you’re older, time gains perspective… There is no more time… 

Add to this… The silence of the loss… 

No reason to grieve… No shoulder to turn to… No love waiting in the bed at home to lull me to sleep… No morning texts to greet my day… No smiles or chatter over coffee… 

But people needing you… From the moment your eyes open each morning til the moment they close each night… Even in my sleep I seem to be needed… The steady drain of my resources… 

And I am spent. Empty. I have nothing left to give. Yet still they take. A part of me is watching from without… Wondering where the reserves come from… Because surely there must be an end… There is nothing coming in… Nothing filling my cup… But the holes are multiplying….

You win…

Some days… you realise that it’s just too damned hard to keep swimming upstream when there’s no lull in the downstream current…

It’s too hard to juggle everything… and lately, I seem to be constantly on the verge of tears trying…

So I told the kids tonight – I’m quitting study and going back into teaching.

Not once have I regretted my decision to quit. Not once have I missed it. Not even for a heartbeat… but… the kids were happy.

I’d rather be dragged over burning coals and have my nails pried from their beds rather than ever set foot back into a classroom… I hate it that much… I feel sick even thinking about going back to it…

And they know this…

And they’re happy.

I don’t know what they’re meant to be thinking and feeling at these ages… are they meant to be so damned self absorbed and self centred??? Are they meant to be so damned full of self righteousness and self interest???

But I just can’t keep fighting the current…

So… I’ll take the bitter medicine and return to the fold… No wonder society simply conforms…

The self absorption of youth…

… and of old age, actually…

To my Princess… who just listened to me try to explain, at 10:30PM, after collecting her from work from the 4th night in a row… listened to me try to explain that I need some ‘me’ time… just half an hour… Just a blip on the radar of life…

To my Princess… who then asked… moments after I explained that I don’t have the reserves to share amongst all four of them tonight… that I have other people in my life who also need me… and that, selfishly, I need me too…

To my Princess… who listened to me explain that I am at breaking point and need my respite… that my shoulder blades are almost joining at the back… and my patience is held together by fragments of the wisps that were once a string…

To my Princess… who… after hearing this… turned to me as she continued to chatter… ignoring my pleas to please, please, please let me have some space now… continued to chatter about life and work and school and friends…

To my Princess… who threw into the mix that she needs me, too…

To my Princess… who then asked me for a quick massage before I went to bed finally…

To my Princess… who ignored the mess of the kitchen or my pleas to feed the cat because it’s me she wakes every single night for food at 3AM…

To my Princess… who just didn’t see the unshed tears as I massaged her muscles…

To my Princess… who doesn’t understand what true pain is… that my own muscles are so much more pained than a few aches from camping and standing at a register for a few hours… that massaging her back caused excruciating pain to radiate through my own neck and shoulder…

To my Princess…

Six months from now… slot that post into this space…

Six months from now… I’ll be returning from America perhaps… or not…

Six months is a long time… and I have no idea where the chips will fall…

Six months from now… perhaps I will be speaking from the grave…

Six months from now… perhaps… who knows…

But…

Six months from now… to my Princess… that post…

 

This is where *I* leave you…

Not physically…. Because I’m not going anywhere for a few more years yet… Not til the kids are grown up… And then… Well, I’ve already told everyone what then… Although I don’t think anyone has ever actually listened… It’s the old joke – don’t worry, your secrets are safe with me… I never listen to you anyway :p

But *I* am leaving… Taking the path I should have taken 20 years ago… Jumped through that door as it slid closed… 

20 years… Do the maths…

P.S…. I wrote this a week ago… What difference can a week make…