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My tears dry on their own...

Curds 'n' Weigh: My tears dry on their own...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My tears dry on their own...

When I started this blog, one of the promises that I made was to be honest even when it's uncomfortable, to speak truth even when it hurts.  Today, I'm cashing in on this promise made to myself.  With tears burning my eyes, I am writing my truth and hope to find the cathartic healing that only raw and vulnerable honesty can provide.

A bit of background:  as has been previously alluded to, my relationship with my family is not the best.  Actually, if I'm speaking honestly...I'd say that in some ways, the relationship is virtually non-existent.  It hasn't always been that way...I can't tell you exactly what changed; perhaps it was me.

Things with my mom have always been tethered on a tight rope...I won't offer opinions about the reasoning behind her actions, but the reality is that her ability to handle the needs of a chronically-depressed, sexually-abused young girl was simply insufficient.  My mom did the best that she could with what she had...trying to raise four children at the age of 20 most certainly provided a unique set of challenges that I will never have to endure, so I can't say what should have been done.  I only know what I needed and what was not received. 

My mom often worked two or three jobs leaving me as the babysitter of three younger siblings by age six; this was also the same year that the molestation began.  I didn't tell my mother about it until I was 16 (which she later told me that she never believed)...I don't at all blame her for what happened, but I know that I never once felt protected as a child.  I now recognize that year as the start of my depression and isolation.  I started cutting at 10 and attempted suicide at least twice before the age of 16.  I am not saying any of this for sympathy or to place blame...only to say that, at no point during the emergency room visits, meetings with crisis counselors (one who even told my mother my secret that I was cutting myself)...at no point did I receive the help that I needed until I sought it myself.  Growing up, we were beaten often out of anger.  Perhaps we were horrible children who needed bruises and blackened eyes to straighten us out, but this form of tough love only drove me deeper into my isolation and caused my cutting and depression to spiral out of control.  To this day, I'm sure my mother doesn't know of the two times that I was hospitalized for cutting too deeply...she doesn't know of my 72-hour suicide-watch hospitalization while I was still living in her house!  Again...my mother did only what she knew to do.  At the age of 17, I moved out of my mom's house and into the home of my pastor and his wife.  This was not to hurt my family, but because I was desperately running towards life and needed something to hold onto.  Leaving fractured my relationship with my mother and sisters, as well as the aunt closest to my mom.  Had I not left, I have no doubt that I would be dead now at my own hands.  I needed to find hope!  My mother and I didn't speak for a few years after I left...our relationship bruised by arguments to which I normally shut down in an attempt not to be disrespectful.  It has always been my nature to hold my thoughts and emotions in so that I can spare the feelings of everyone else.  Eventually, my mother and I moved past our problems though nothing was ever worked out.  We simply swept things under the rug and moved forward with the illusion of being friends.

In college, I decided to stop fighting the feelings I'd always had growing up about liking women.  I secretly had identified as bi-curious for years, but was too afraid to act on my feelings because God might instantly strike me down and send me to a fiery pit.  Eventually, I was not able to hide from myself anymore and started to identify as lesbian even before I ever had my first date with a woman.  I told my family and everyone seemed very supportive initially.  I told a great-aunt who, while supportive, broke my confidence and told another aunt.  The second aunt called and cursed me out!  Called me every derogatory name under the sun...I was told that I was supposed to love God, how could I be so vile...that I'm a dyke and will never find God's favor because I am disgusting!  To this day, she continues to speak harsh words about me to other members of our family.  My grandmother was initially supportive and told me that as long as I had reconciled with God that she was happy I found happiness because I had spent my whole life unhappy.  I was elated that, for the most part, the people closest to me supported me, though the weekly check-in calls grew fewer and further between.

My family's support changed when I introduced my partner (who I've now been with for almost five years!) to the family a few years ago on Thanksgiving.  Before the holiday, I specifically asked if I could bring her because I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable!  My aunt, whose home it was originally planned for, backed out and we had dinner at my grandmother's.  The meeting went well...my grandmother was very loving towards her.  We left and my partner immediately asked about what we should buy granny for Christmas, picked out the gift herself and kept reminding me to send it.  I later found out that my grandmother had quite a bit to say about things after we left.  Anytime that we've gone up since then, it is as if my partner does not exist.  I neglected to mention that the aunt who called and cursed me out is alcoholic.  We used to talk often, but when she birthed her son and began making abusive threats towards him, I refused to support her actions and threatened to call CPS unless she got help.  He was removed from her care at least twice, for at least six months to a year each time.  The last time he was removed, I volunteered to take him in because my family acted oblivious to what was happening in his home and nobody was willing to care for him.  Around that same time, my partner's job transferred and she could choose either Portland or Los Angeles.  Naturally, I chose Portland so that I could be closer to my family in Seattle and be able to bring my cousin up to see his mom and the rest of the family whenever he wanted to.  My offer to take him in was promptly shut down because somehow my love for women was considered perverse and meant that I must be a rapist and would harm this innocent child whom I love so dearly!  I was always closest with my grandmother growing up...how can she think these things about me?  Even typing this angers me because I don't understand how my friends can see me for who I truly am, but my family makes me feel like a monster!!!  Needless to say, my relationship with my grandmother and aunt almost completely disappeared after that.  I understand that not everyone will agree with my lifestyle.  I understand that it is neither my place, nor my intention, to change anyone's fundamental beliefs.  What I don't understand is how people who have known me my entire life, can't see that I'm the exact same person, regardless of who I love.

I moved to Portland thinking that I would have a great relationship with my family, but after a few visits to Seattle when I first got here...I realized that a lot must change before we can ever have the relationship I need.  I am no longer willing to make my needs of less importance to make others feel good.  I am no longer willing to sit around silently while I am disrespected.  I haven't seen my grandmother and aunts in more than a year though they are only 2 1/2 hours away.  There are no calls (except the occassional birthday) and often when I call, there is no return call to my messages.  2 1/2 hours away from my family, I feel more separated and alone than I ever have.

When my grandmother started becoming standoffish and vocalizing her concern about my lifestyle, my mother quickly rose in my defense and became my biggest ally.  Again, I really thought that our relationship had changed and that she was my closest friend.  Fast-forwarding to a few months ago, I realized that when issues are not resolved, they don't go away, but simply hide in the shadows until an opportunity arises to attack.  I'm not really sure what caused this most recent collapse of my relationship with my mother.  I won't get into details, because they are irrelevant to this post, but it brings me to the reason I'm upset today.

This weekend is a close friend's birthday party in Seattle.  While I'm excited to celebrate with her, there is always a profound sadness with the realization that I in the same city as my family (specifically my mother!) but will see no one.  Sadness in knowing that I must always find a hotel room because we are not welcome.  Sadness in knowing that, in order for me to accepted, I'll have to be someone that I'm not (and refuse to be).  Perhaps it is my own stubbornness that traps us in this place.  For several years, I have considered asking a counselor to do a group intervention for my family to help us move past the generations of depression, harsh upbringing...to help us exorcise all of the demons that hide in my family's collective closet.  While I have considered this, I don't know what good it would do.  Until everyone is willing to change our family dynamic, I'm left to deal with my feelings about our dying relationship on my own.

Even as I type this, I'm tempted to delete this draft because if I publish it, the pain is real.  I am thankful that I have wonderful friends who validate me and allow me to be my authentic self; I am thankful that I have friends who see the love that overflows from my heart and are not blinded by bigotry, double-standards and dogma.  Sadly, even my best friend cannot remove the sting of feeling unloved by the very blood that claims to be thicker than water.

4 Comments:

At July 24, 2012 at 7:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your truths and realities. I respect your bravery and concious efforts to grow!

-A Rose named Kimmie lol

 
At July 24, 2012 at 9:31 PM , Blogger B. Amour Love said...

Thank you for your kind words Kim...I have no choice but to be brave. This post helped me stay on track with my health goals today...I was tempted to eat junk, but I made wise choices instead. I was tempted to overeat and stuff my feelings, but I didn't. I must say I'm quite proud of myself.

 
At July 25, 2012 at 8:54 AM , Blogger WordsUnspokN said...

Again I relive our late night talks and all over again I hear this story replay as if your sitting right next to me. Sis, you are such a strong and beautiful person. I am extremely proud of you and miss you like crazy! This post also gives me a topic for my next blog! We need to also do a video blog singing! :)

 
At July 25, 2012 at 9:23 AM , Blogger B. Amour Love said...

My love...I also miss you! Some of my best memories are of us laughing and singing. I'm glad I could inspire a blog post for you :) I'm very proud of your progress...just checked out your blog and you look amazing! Keep up the great work!

 

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