All my life I’ve had a less than “normal” family. Parents divorced when I was in kindergarten, dad remarried a year or so later, the biological “mother” messed around with married guy after married guy; where one relationship lasted approximately four years with the acquiring of a home, jewelry, and usually an automobile. Dad remained Dad for the most part; I never questioned that he loved me. Her on the other hand, a disgusting excuse for someone who gives birth to another human. That’s all she ever did for me; and I am absolutely grateful for that.
After my paternal grandparents passed away, one shortly after the other, my dad’s family basically dissolved. Dad became even more engulfed with destroying his liver at every cost, returned to his ex-wife and three children, and soon became someone I didn’t know anymore. Before I was 16 I was thankfully taken from the one who birthed me, but not without consequence. Little did I know I’d live the remainder of my life with such hate and brokenness. Now that I look back on it all, strangely I am thankful for the bad experience. Not only has it made me determined to NOT be the ‘parent’ she pretended to be, but it also has made me resilient as hell; both a blessing and a curse.
Many don’t know it but I have four siblings. One older, who washed her hands of the family and my dad’s alcoholism, long before his third family began; smart girl. Three siblings from my dad’s third wife. I used to be seriously close to these three; the eldest of the three especially. When I was seven, I, an only child all my life, finally had a sibling. Eleven months later came my third sibling and only brother, and finally my youngest sister was born. I expect it was until my dad went back to their mom that I felt I was close to them. The years that followed after he returned to their family were less than ideal. I was pissed. I felt betrayed, outcasted, lied to, and abandoned.
Eventually I put it behind me and did what I could to reestablish a relationship with the family I no longer knew. Not long after that I became pregnant and alone five months into the pregnancy. I returned to my dad’s home and felt mostly welcomed. After finding out my daughter had a sibling on the way, only a few months after she was born, I, for lack of better description, “lost it”. I returned to my dad’s and ironically felt comfort following in his footsteps by drowning my sorrows at the expense of my liver. This went on for awhile until I decided it wasn’t fun anymore. In retrospect, I don’t think it ever was, but it cushioned the pain, for awhile anyway.
I made A LOT of mistakes, some could have cost me my life, others cost me financial stability, self respect and irreparable damage to my body. However, on one hand I regret said mistakes, but I do not regret the experience. It made me who I am today; I’ve learned from it and now know better for it.
In recent days these experiences, mistakes, regrets, have been thrown in my face, used against me in bitter disputes with my younger siblings. The relationship with my youngest sisters has always been rocky. On-off, on-off over the years. I don’t discount my fault in such patterns, however, it is not a one way street. I care about my siblings whether or not they care about me, however I am no longer interested in relationships, with ANYONE, where I am constantly judged by my past, present, or other’s opinions and rumors. When relationships reach this point, it’s time to end them.
I tried. I really tried this last time to mend the past, to overcome the negatives and to start on a fresh slate, but no matter what I did, said, or thought, I was constantly being judged. I was criticized on how I parent; my daughter was criticized and made fun of, all by my so-called family. I was berated for wanting to see my niece when her parents weren’t around and in the care of my other sister!! This is insane to me! Now because I no longer have the time for these unproductive and soul destroying relationships; because I have absolutely no ability to forgive and forget anymore; because I MUST protect my daughter because SHE DESERVES BETTER, I am berated and belittled yet again.
I have no ability to comprehend such behavior. To me, family is not blood! Never will be, never has been, EVER! Family are people who back you in good times, bad, crazy, and all others. Family are those who love you despite how much you’ve messed up, despite how many bad decisions you’ve made, despite how much money you have or don’t have, despite your beliefs, convictions, or desires. Family is not supposed to be the people who judge you on everything you do, but instead should be people who, although may not agree on your opinions or actions, agree to disagree on them and still try to understand where you’re coming from.
The only example of “family” I’ve known did just this. My ‘foster’ family, accepted me for who I was and, for whatever reason, still do. I’ve abandoned them with hopes of reviving my biological family connection; and for what? What did I get out of it? Not a damn thing but disappointment and criticism.
I may not have the normal “family” others have, but I am very thankful for the few amazing friends who make up the only family I know and need. Without them I’d not be here today.
Family is so much more than blood people. Remember that! Whether it’s your favorite sports team supporters, work, or critters (#crazycatlady?) that you consider family, choose the family that is for you. Life is too damn short to be stuck with people who do not want to encourage you to prosper or whose intent is to blame you for their shortcomings, despite the fact that you have loved and appreciated them despite these faults.
You are more than the blood that runs through your veins!
You are your past, your failures, successes, and struggles!
You are unique and amazing; let no one take that away!