Tag Archives: Family

Normalcy is overrated, right?

4 Sep

Today I came across a blog post by the lovely Emmy in which she talks about the difficulties she has about explaining where she is from/what exactly made her her. I couldn’t explain it either, there is only one thing I remember about growing up which is still with me in some way – wanting to feel normal.

There is not one single definition as to what makes a life normal and another one abnormal. There are definitions as to what the adjective ‘normal’ refers to but what is a normal human being? How does he/she feel? I guess many people think of themselves as different, so here is my tale.

The first time I felt different was in kindergarten when I was asked what my father’s job was and I couldn’t answer. At that time he still lived with me and mom but I had no clue as to what his job was since he spent most of his time at home but not like a stay at home parent. All I knew was that he was not really unemployed but not really employed either as he was doing stuff that wasn’t cool. Kindergarten!Me didn’t know what to make of it so I said I didn’t exactly know; the first of many such explanations. All I wanted was to be able to say, hey, my dad is a police man, a firefighter, construction worker, secretary etc. but I couldn’t because it wasn’t the truth.

I knew from an early age that my parents weren’t happily married; in fact one of my first memories is seeing my father shove my mom into a wall so hard it left a crack in it. I heard them yelling at each other too many times, mostly about money. To this day I don’t know everything but I know enough to be sure he was an ass. The rest, I really do not want to know. I have no idea why my mom didn’t divorce him sooner but once he moved out of the house I was glad. However it was another thing that said I wasn’t normal – my parents were separated whereas all my friends at school had mostly happy families with parents that were still married and living together without yelling at each other all the time. I wanted that so badly.

In 2003 I had to have surgery on my hip which meant I didn’t have to go on the class trip to France (which I was more than happy about) but it also meant I was running around on crutches for the better part of that year, having physical therapy and all sorts of stuff. Regarding medical issues one can have, my hip dysplasia is a light weight but nevertheless none of the other kids had to explain why they needed surgery. When they were on crutches, it was because they had broken a bone or sprained their ankle like normal kids/teens.

Of course this post couldn’t be complete without talking about being gay since it took me so long to accept that about myself. I have a very specific memory of thinking “Please don’t let me be gay, please, I want to be like everyone else”. I was in fifth or sixth grade by then, maybe even younger. So for the next ten years I wasn’t gay, I was trying to find boys exciting but I failed miserably. When a boy tried to kiss me (at least I think that’s what he was doing) in seventh grade, I just ran away. I had no problem flirting with him over text messages but heaven forbid we were face to face. Back then, I didn’t realise why I ran away from him, or why I didn’t feel what I was supposed to feel about the next one, in retrospect it makes sense though.

To this day I feel like the odd kid out, I frequently cannot remember German words while I know the exact right phrase in English. I watch shows that none of the people around me have watched whereas I don’t keep up with crappy reality TV like everyone else. There are things I feel like someone my age should have experience by now, like falling in love, being in a relationship, going on a date and all that stuff. I don’t have a father anymore, or a mother. I keep the biggest part of my online life secret from most people in my life except my closest friends because they don’t understand why I live online like this. I hardly ever felt normal. I still don’t. Maybe that is a lot of bullshit, lots of people have weird things going on in their lives, I am by far an exception and normalcy is overrated anyway. Just sometimes I’d like to be able to see the normal, easy road ahead of me instead of the unpaved road I usually travel on.

Emotional Overflow Error

26 May

I didn’t expect graduating from University would rouse all these feelings and yet here I am crying at 1 am. The last weeks have been stressful and that’s okay, it’s the final stage of writing my thesis and that’s bound to be a difficult time without a lot of sleep. I’ve had too many feelings of inadequacy that could fill an entire post on it’s own. What hits me right now though is that I miss my Mom exponentially more than before.

I miss going downstairs and telling her how I feel and that it seems like I can’t do right with this thesis. I miss going downstairs for a hug that would be full of love and making me fell infinity times better. I miss my Mom. Period.

I thought it would be better by now but on the contrary, my feelings are working overtime even though I could really do without them. The thing is, she should be here. She should be able to see me graduate, leave school for the first time in my life. And she is not.

Today I got a call from my uncle because I haven’t called in a while (so have they but whatever) and that’s because I was busy falling apart and piecing myself back together while I struggle through writing a thesis on a daily basis. There has not been a lot of time for anything lately (like blogging or theatre). He asked me if I had put beer in the fridge and I assume this was because tonight was some big soccer match. I don’t care about bloody soccer though and I don’t like beer. However, here I am hours later obsessing over the fact that nobody knows me anymore because the person that knew me best is dead. Sure, Grandma knows me very well too, but it’s different. And I don’t want to take this out on her because it hurts her too. I cannot hurt her. Uncle asked how I was doing. As if I’d spill all my feelings over the phone! We haven’t spoken in weeks and you expect me to tell you all about my emotions and insecurities that are on high alert right now. I’m graduating next week so take a wild guess as to how I am!

It’s not his fault but I am not okay right now. I honestly didn’t expect it to be this hard. Maybe that’s why I didn’t put too much effort in my thesis in the beginning, I was stalling, trying to avoid this final step of migrating into a new stage of my life. A stage my Mom should be part of. She should be here, cheering me on and being happy when I hand in my finished work next week. No amount of wishing can bring her back and all of this is highly irrational but that doesn’t make things less painful right now. I just want to turn off all these feelings but naturally I cannot.

Instead I am sitting here, crying, rambling incoherently while Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah is trying to soothe my inner turmoil. I cannot wait for it to be Friday. 5 days and everything can calm down again. I can socialise again because that’s what’s additionally fuelling these feelings. Being lonely because I haven’t seen a lot of people lately. I didn’t have the time but it’s very isolating and counterproductive. I have no problem with being alone, I’ve always cherished it but being lonely is something else. Too many emotions at the same time.

All I need is 5 more days without all these emotions and feelings. I am a very rational being who’s not used to all this irrational crap. My brain and my heart are in different universes at the moment making me the emotional black hole of feelings. Just ugh!

Families – Given and Chosen Ones

30 Mar

My family is pretty small, it consists of my Gran, uncle, aunt, their two kids and me. As this weekend celebrates Easter, they came to visit their families. I love them, I really do, but at the same time I feel weird around my uncle and his family especially without my grandma who’s in the hospital. I tend to get along better with his wife than with him even though he is my blood relative. The fact that he even managed to find a decent wife is beyond me because while I like him, he is a nerd of the worst kind and I couldn’t stand being married to him.

It probably has something to do with the fact that he and I are two opposites of the same coin. We’re both know-it-alls, science geeks and so on. He is Microsoft all the way while I swing both ways. I prefer having a Windows desktop PC and a Macbook to carry around with me. I have an iPhone, he has some unnaturally big Android phone-almost tablet. And there starts one of my biggest problems with him. He constantly has to bash my Apple products. I never bring it up but he always finds a way to tell me that his Samsung products are so much better than my Apple ones. I don’t even care, man! I know all the arguments against Apple products but come on, can’t you just let it go for once? We don’t have to have the same conversation every time we meet. I try not to let it get to me but in a way it does.

The repetitiveness is so annoying. I’m not telling him what I think about his kids. Especially my oldest cousin is the laziest person I know which says a lot coming from me, self-proclamied queen of procrastination. Both kids had so many electronic gadgets growing up, I think they overdone it. I keep comparing my cousins to myself. Well, the 90s were a tad different but I saw my mom struggle, there are things I would have liked to have had but I would also never have asked for them because I didn’t want Mom to spend too much money. After all, she was supporting my stupid father. These kids haven’t seen the things I had when I was their age (and my life wasn’t even close to bad as a kid, just not as spoiled) which is probably a good thing but it also taught me modesty in a way. I may be an only child but I’m not that spoiled aside from when it comes to my peculiar eating habits.

The thing is, I constantly feel judged around them. They and especially my uncle, always ask about my thesis and what/where I want to apply for a job after graduation. Like, OMG, I’ve had this conversation so many times now. I get how you’re showing interest in my life but it doesn’t feel right with me. My answers are usually pretty simple. I have some ideas of what I want to do after leaving the university but I won’t tell them because I don’t want my ideas bashed and judged like my choice in computers and smartphones. I have my own process. I figure things out differently than he might does, like writing a blog. My way is not always the fastest but it’s mine and I have to take it. I can’t walk someone else’s road in life. It needs to be my own. I’m my own person.

Like when I told them of my travel plans for the summer it felt like my uncle wanted to say: “Yeah kid, you should just get a job. And oh, that sounds expensive. Are you sure about this? And what do you mean, you will only start looking for a job once your thesis is finished?” He didn’t say any of this but that’s the vibe I got from him. So sorry uncle that my life plan looks so much different from yours. I hate confrontations which is why this post is happening. Ugh, this is me venting in a stupid ass way.

It’s different with my Granny who is more like a second mother to me. We understand each other without words. I may never be told everything but I feel trusted with her. If it weren’t for me, she would have given up on life a while ago. Her words, not mine. Not quite sure if it’s more humbling or scary because I can never live up to be the amazing person I want to be to make her and Mom proud. I’m still trying.

I’ve grown up enough to understand though that there is more than one kind of family. It doesn’t just have to be the one you were born into. You can make your own family, not only by choosing someone to spend your life with but also through surrounding yourself with friends you care about. For example, when I meet up with bestfriendboy’s mother I don’t feel judged. I can talk more openly to her than to my uncle or his wife. She understands like no other what kind of strength last year cost me. I feel understood and valued for who I am and not judged because I happen to have different views on a lot of things.

Then there are the theatre folks. I may not have a lot of contact with any of them outside of theatre but we’re still some sort of family. A big, loud and messy one.

And then there are the true friends you have; the ones who listen to you complaining for hours or can watch FRIENDS with for the 1.5468th time; the ones you can sit in silence with without it getting uncomfortable. They are my real family, not because I was forced on them but because we chose to be in each other’s lives.

I know Granny won’t care that I’m gay even though I still haven’t told her. Never felt like a good time which is a cowards excuse, I know. With my uncle though…not saying he would hate me for it, but it’s something I feel uncomfortable telling him because I’m afraid he would find some way to stomp on my heart for it. Not necessarily with words but in the way I can sense his disapproval of my travel plans. Also, I never get how religious he and his wife truly are and what views they have on homosexuality. I know that I should have told them by now. I need to do it for my own sake because then I can stop thinking about it. Only, how do you steer a conversation there without being like: “Can you pass me the potatoes and btw I like women not men!”? He stopped asking if I had a boyfriend some years ago after I got angry with him for his nosiness so that is not an option for opening this conversation.

I’m not even expecting much from coming out to them. I just want them to know without making a big thing out of it which seems to be irreconcilable to me. Why can’t I just write them an e-mail? I feel so much better in writing than speaking, probably why I’m a blogger.

Look at the time and word count. I’ve rambled on for over 1200 words now and so much for getting to sleep early, maybe reading one or two chapters and then fall into blissful sleep. Good job, way to go me!

Basically, what I was trying to say is, I can love my relatives without being in synch with them I guess. We’re just too similar in some ways and too opposite in others. I just have to make it through 2 meals this weekend without loosing my shit while hopefully finding an opening to come out. And then I can go and have fun with my real family. Thanks for listening to me internet. You’re a true pal.

Claws of my Heart

8 Mar

My heart – or better a part of my heart –  has been so tight in recent months, caught in anger that it wasn’t able to process any other feelings. Anger towards a disease science has yet to find a cure for; anger at the person having said illness. It’s been almost six months since Mom’s passing away and only now am I finally feeling the grip of that anger lessen, making it not easier but harder to remember her.

In the last year, I started hating her, yes, actually hating my own mother; hating her for getting sick and being an impossible patient; for making my life miserable and hard; but mostly for reversing our roles. It was all so messed up, I was trying to hold myself together as best as I could while trying to take her to all those doctor’s appointments, making sure she took her meds, ate, didn’t burn down the house, had enough money in her bank account. Those were not my responsibilities, they were hers, she was the mother but I was taking care of her. And I hated it. As her cancer progressed, so did my hatred for her until she died and I was relieved of the never-ending worries of how and when. I was actually glad.

It meant that I could finally breathe again, lick my wounds and start to heal. The months before, I was barely holding on, I was overwhelmed with everything, mostly because I didn’t see it ever changing. A sea of misery and I was in the middle of it, holding on to the smallest piece of wood possible while wave after wave was trying to swallow me whole. I am not sorry for hating her as I know I didn’t hate the actual person but the character her cancer turned her into but it has taken me all these months to actually – finally – miss her because I was still so caught up in my anger.

Now the memories of “patient mom” are fading away and instead the “just mom” sentiments are resurfacing. This sweet, lovely woman that was always trying to give me everything I could possibly want and I am finally missing her. Only, it hurts! FEELINGS ARE THE WORST!

This realisation dawned upon on me earlier today as I was at the university when the thought of a Mom-hug popped into my head out of the blue. I didn’t want a hug but just remembering that I will never be hugged like that again made my eyes fill with tears. Mom-hugs are these special kind of hugs that are filled with unconditional love and an edge of everything-will-turn-out-right-in-the-end that only a parent, but especially a mother, can give. Stupid feelings, I couldn’t start ugly sobbing right then and there in an office with 4 guys. I tried to push those emotions back down but was not successful at it. So I left earlier than I had planned for today because I needed to process these feelings. Holding stuff back only comes back to bite one in the ass and I was not gonna do that. This is me processing because I have feelings and I don’t know where to put them – so I write them down. My answer to everything. Keep on writing.

I Miss You. I’m Strong.

13 Feb

I didn’t even give you a present last year because I was too busy taking care of you, of the house, our lives and myself. Do I regret it? Not really. I’ve never believed in material presents. While it is nice to get them, what do they really say? – “Here, I tried to come up with something so you feel worthy to me.” That has never worked for me. Just bake me a cake and I’m fine. Write me a card and I know you were thinking about me. I don’t appreciate expensive gifts because they imply that the value of a gift correlates to the value of the gift-givers love for you which is just stupid.

Do you remember the time I drove you crazy because all I wanted for my birthday was the complete works of Shakespeare and some obscure Russian literature and you wanted to give me something special?  You didn’t understand how special books are to me. Sorry, this is not supposed to be about me but about you. Oh heck, it’s about both of us.

You knew I wasn’t saying I don’t love you less because I didn’t have a gift for you. You said it was okay. And what do you give a person you know is dying for their – what you presume – last birthday anyway? I was at a loss and to be honest. I don’t even remember what we did on this day last year.

I remember others though. One birthday we spent on a cruise around the Emirates. One time I made you a cake and had to hide it from you because I made it the day before and I tried so hard to get the smell out of the house so you would’t know. You said, you have had no clue but was that just motherly of you? Trying to make me feel good because you knew what I did but didn’t want to spoil it for me? Guess I will never know now. Another year I gave you a poem. Not sure you knew what to make of it but it’s how I communicate. With written words not spoken ones.

Oh Mama, I miss you so much! Not that I would enjoy telling you how my thesis is progressing or what is going on in my love life these days but the thing is. You’re not asking me anymore. I’m not waiting for you to come home from work anymore. All the mess I find in this house is mine now and that is something I don’t miss at all because as much as I love you, you were also a little messy.

Today, the sun is shining. It’s cold and the ground is white from snow. A beautiful winter day. But you’re not here to enjoy it with me. Are you watching me though? Like I imagine you do? Are you sitting up there in heaven with Grandpa chatting about the people you left behind and wish you didn’t have to?

This is really stupid but I’m proud that I’m sitting here crying because for so long, I couldn’t. Even though I miss you every single day, I don’t let the sadness that still competes with anger on a few days overwhelm me. I can only let it out in bits. I am fine, please don’t you worry about me. I understand the circle of life like I understand 1+1=2 just some days are harder but they are few in numbers. You do know that this is just me me being me and not a representation of my feelings for you when don’t break down into a puddle of sadness every time I think of you. I’ve made my peace with your passing even long before you did but I also know that it’s not weakness to be sad every once in a while.

The last picture we took together.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

I love you. I miss you.

Sickness and Secrets

29 Jan

I’ve got the flu. I saw it going around Twitter some days ago and I can’t help but wonder if it’s possible to get infected over the internet while being on separate continents. It started out with some minor discomfort in my throat on Saturday and has turned into full blown sickness mode by Monday. YAY! I haven’t been that sick in ages but whatever. I feel like a tank has driven over me in my sleep.

Granny called me today and she was not happy with me not telling her that my flu got worse and bla, bla, blaaa. She thinks I should have told her and asked for help but I didn’t want to worry her and thought I would get by on my own. She is so very protective of me, probably because I’m like a daughter to her not only a grandchild and I’m the only one she can actually fuss about. But I’m 25, dammit, and I can handle most things on my own including sickness. She said I was so buttoned up and then sounded rather angry before she hung up the telephone. I’m not even sure what that means, only that it made me angry and I sill am even though it’s been hours since that call.

Really, grandma??

Yes, I’ve got it bad because I resolved to taking industrial strength medicine to dull my headache and other symptoms. I prefer not to take medicine for as long as I can avoid it, but I couldn’t anymore and so I bit the bullet and put my big-girl pants on. I may have cursed and whined to bestfriendboy about feeling like hell but that’ just how I roll. Nothing to worry about.

My family is very secretive, we are never told everything, there is always something someone knows but someone else doesn’t. It’s stupid. Like my uncle having diabetes. On Sunday though, my aunt let that secret accidentally slip out so now Granny knows. Not sure what happens next.

I on the other hand have not been told so many things, like reasons for hospital visits of family members even after I was old enough to take them and many other things. Over time I grew rather self-sufficient, if I was told something? – Good. If I was kept out of the loop? – Fine by me as well. It’s like we don’t trust each other completely. As I was a teenager, Granny used to interrogate me about Mom which I hated. Standing between two parties, especially when your neither good at lying nor want to do it in the first place is quite annoying. I always had to watch my words even around family which is wrong if it’s such a small family like mine.

Even if you tell them the truth, they don’t believe you. I’ve been asked so many times if I’m ok and how I’m doing and whatnot after Mom’s death it’s so annoying. Sure it was tragic, but also inevitable. If you saw the things I saw in the last year, you would be ok with your mother being relieved of her pain and suffering as well. Naturally there are days I miss her more, I think about her on a daily basis and in my dreams she is still alive which I’m not sure how that makes me feel. All in all though, I have accepted it so why does the rest of my family feels the need to keep dancing around me, trying to find things that are wrong with me when there really aren’t any?

Also, why am I supposed to share everything about myself when all my life I wasn’t granted the same rights – still am not?! Maybe I am a little buttoned up, but there is not much happening in my life lately. I get up, go to uni, go home, watch TV shows, eat, read, sleep, repeat. No big secrets there. The only thing I have really kept to myself so far is that I’m gay. I just don’t know how to bring it up.

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Ugh, this little phone conversation just made me so angry. Of course I love my family, only sometimes they are difficult to get along with. Just because I didn’t come running for help, making her get me medicine and food makes me a horrible grandkid? It’s not like I accidentally amputated my arm with a chainsaw and then didn’t tell anyone about while not going to the ER but trying to stitch things up myself. IT’S THE FLUUUUU! People get it all the time and they are fine. Sure, maybe they are miserable for a couple of days but that is just how sickness goes.

And if I am indeed buttoned up, then it’s not entirely my fault.

‘What You Wish For’ by Kerry Reichs

23 Jan

After Christmas I went on a shopping spree on Amazon because I got a gift certificate and was more than ready to use it. Hell, I’ve been born ready to spent money on Amazon. One of the items in my shopping cart was she newest novel by Kerry Reichs.

You’ve read my gushing on and on about her previous book and if you haven’t, well, you must be new around here. I was excited to finally read this and also a little bit worried if it could live up to my expectations.

The style of the book is different from her previous ones. It’s a multi-character story, so every chapter focusses on a different character. What unites them is their wish to become parents only they are not what anyone would call a traditional family. Far from it. There is the 40-year old actress named Dimple, 50-year old Wyatt who is a high school principle and Maryn the breast cancer survivor who is now sterile. All of them are single and struggle with the prospects of a society that sees family as a mom and dad and kids. Not a single mother. Especially not a single heterosexual man trying to adopt a baby. He surely must be a pedophile, why would he want to have kids?

Throw a couple of other characters into the mix, like Wyatt’s cousin who is healthy and fertile as you can be but never wanted kids and doesn’t change her mind and you’ve got yourself a story. Just imagine, there are women out there who don’t want children, it is possible. Then there is Maryn’s ex-husband whom she is suing for the right to use the eggs they harvested, fertilised and stored in a cryobank before beginning chemotherapy. Andy is against it for reasons I don’t quite understand. He also starts to run for city council and that turns into an ugly mess soon. Last but not least we have director Julian who challenges Dimple to go out of her comfort zone in order to get a role.

In the beginning I struggled a little bit with the jump from one character to the other. I’m not used to so many players in the mix but once I settled into the story I was fine. I really liked the story, the characters and the message it sent. There is more to a family than a mom and a dad. Also, I just love Kerry’s writing style.

There were just some minor things that irritated me, mostly for personal reasons. First of all, when Dimple refers to her libido or inner whatever as LaMimi I’m instantly reminded of 50 Shades of Grey and Ana’s inner goddess. So that’s a dealbreaker. Then there is the legal aspect of Maryn suing Andy over the use of their embryos. Eh, I read about that at length in ‘Sing You Home’ by Jodi Picoult even if it had different circumstances. Also, I’m not that into legal matters. As I said, minor hiccups.

What I liked though was the mention of one character from Leaving Unknown, Laura/Lola, the girl that works at the studios in LA. She is mentioned once but I saw it as a treat and was happy that I recognised her. It’s just a funny occurrence. Then there is the matter that the Reichs women must think Summer is THE name of the rebound wife. Andy’s second wife is named Summer and if I remember correctly, so is the fiancé of Pete who is Tempe Brennan’s ex-husband in the novels by Kerry’s mother, Kathy Reichs.

In the end, all characters come together through different circumstances. It’s heartbreaking and bittersweet but also a good ending. I liked where the book went and not everything turned out exactly as I expected which is always a plus.

There is a Q&A at the end of the book and there is one excerpt I want to share with you because it’s so nice and sad and great and… It’s a letter from one of the characters. It’s not a part of the book but something Kerry envisioned for the character.

I had a second chance to do everything I wanted, but that is rare. Never wait to be asked twice to dance. Dance. Laugh often. Be noisy. Hug your father. Do something every day that doesn’t make rational sense. Be joyful, though you considered all the facts. Love freely, and love those who don’t deserve it. Do a selfless thing each day. Every day won’t be the best day in your life, but that’s okay. If someone were to tell you the world would end tomorrow, plant a tree. Most of all, don’t be afraid of risk. If you open yourself to opportunities, fortuities will land on your shoulder like birds. The only thing that holds you back in life is yourself. I give you permission. Go for it.

Reading this made me cry all over again after I was done crying about the actual book. Maybe it’s wrong to measure the quality of a book by the fact if it made me cry or not but that’s juts how I roll. If I cried, it means the story touched me enough to make me care – to be a catalyst for the feelings I cannot let free on my own.

This is a story about wanting to have kids without having the opportunity to do so on your own. It’s about health that is not distributed fairly and most importantly, it’s a story about family values. A kid can grow up happy having just a single parent, or two mommies or two daddies as long as it’s cared and loved for. There’s nothing more that matters.

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