I’m a strange girl… I prefer funerals to weddings every time, hands down. Part of that reason, though, makes perfect sense. Weddings tend to bring out the worst in people. They are stressful, depending on the level of “bridezilla” everyone turns into a monster, and every last bit of family drama comes to the surface. With funerals, I don’t care how awful a person you were in life, no one ever has anything bad to say about you after you’re dead.
And this, ultimately, is why I did not want to go to my sister’s wedding; why I still do not want to go. But I am going anyway. For her. Though the terms, and the situation, is not what I hoped it would be. True to form, when we decided to start discussing it, the past was brought to the forefront. My mother, who has been a nitpicker since I became a rebellious, sullen teenager that started questioning everything she’d been taught never to question (namely, religion, morals, and “right” vs. “wrong), always uses these opportunities to engage in the “hard discussions” – she uses these opportunities to evangelize. To spread the gospel to her horrible, lost, rebellious daughter. And she uses these opportunities to bring to light everything I have ever done to disappoint her. I’ve named these things before – but for those of you that don’t remember, or who are just now joining me, I’ll list a few: a modeling career she didn’t approve of, living with a man before I married him, marrying the wrong person (at their behest, though they like to pretend they didn’t have a hand in it), having sex as a teenager, moving to Florida, wearing too much eyeliner sometimes… it goes on and on (and yes, I’m being honest, these minor infractions that are quite mainstream are really, to her, horrible).
But because I love my sister, though we are not close, I agreed to go. Being in it was not an option. After I’d thought about it, I realized that with flight times, it was not logistically going to be possible. When I told my mother this, she blew up at me – as if I can control the flight times, the clock, and the timing of this wedding (which is happening way too fast in my opinion). More stuff was brought up, she called me selfish (anyone who really knows me, knows that I am FAR from selfish), we had a shouting match. My father, later, after hearing her side, took it and now treats me like a stranger, making it very apparent that if I come up there with an attitude (an attitude, to him, is not using the baby voice the way that my sister does – something I have never done), that I will be thrown out. To save myself the trouble of being thrown out, I have elected to get a hotel room in Louisville.
But the whole situation says something much larger about my future, and about the future of my relationship with my family. Things have been… unstable… for sixteen years. They get better, but then they get worse – irrevocably so. At this point, so many things have been said, by both parties, that we are not able to let go. And there have been things done, to me, that I cannot forget – being beaten as a teenager for nothing at all, enduring the always overwhelming feeling of being second best. The deterioration, I knew, would cause an eventual split. I’d hoped I was wrong about that – I’d hoped that we’d be able to go on, being civil to each other, I’d come home when I felt like I could – when I’d recovered from the latest “Let’s tear into Victoria” time, pretend like everything was fine, then go home to the silence.
Now I know that that is no longer possible. I mean I’ve known that their town is not my home for a very long time – it hasn’t felt like home to me since 1997, and less so since I started moving out during the summers beginning in 1999 until I moved out, permanently, in 2001. Still, you know, that’s where you are always supposed to be able to go when shit hits the fan everywhere else. It hasn’t been that way, not really, for a very long time, but it had been civil enough that I was able to pretend. I can’t pretend anymore. It’s a little disturbing. But really, it’s more of a relief. I don’t know, I’m sad and happy all at the same time – sad that things have gone so far to shit that they are irreversible, but happy as if I’ve just gotten out of a toxic relationship that I’d stayed in for far too long.
But it does pose the question: If my roots are not in Kentucky anymore (because that’s really what’s happened here – my roots are gone), then where are they? The answer, right now, is nowhere. This doesn’t scare me as much as it should. As I told Botboy in the previous post – I’m a brave girl when it comes to doing what needs to be done.
And what needs to be done, now, is making a home for myself. A real one. One that I feel like I can come back to, no matter what, when the world goes to shit. I know that won’t be easy to do. I don’t even know that Florida is where that home is, but what I DO know, is that Florida has felt more like home to me (even when I didn’t live here, even when I was only visiting as a teenager) than any place ever has. So because of that, right now, I’m going to stay. I’m going to give it a fair shot. There are opportunities I have here that I have nowhere else. I have a good job. My best friend in the whole world, the one person that knows how I feel without ever having to say it, is here. The weather is damn near perfect. And it is half a country away from the people that have made me feel the worst about myself.
It’s not that I’m not scared. I’m fucking terrified. Because now, for better or worse, aside from my friends that are here for emotional support and my cat who doesn’t leave my side, I really am alone. I can’t call my family when things go to shit. When UK beats UL, I can’t call my dad and trash talk Rick Pitino. I will have to learn to be alone for Christmas and to be okay with it. But it’s exciting, too. Because where there is loss, there is opportunity. And this is a big one. But, then, I think everything I’ve done, everywhere I’ve been, everything I’ve gone through has prepared me for this. This one moment.
I have suspected, for a long time, that what I am now, and what I want now – and who I used to be (who they wanted me to be) could not coexist. I know this, now, to be true. I won’t compromise who I am for who someone else wants me to be. Florida is the foundation. Because, for now, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather go. Here I’ll find a house. Hopefully find someone, eventually, to settle down with (that won’t echo the shit that my parents have put me through over the last several years). Build something solid that I can run back to when the world around me goes to shit.
I’ll do it. Because the only alternative is to give up. And that isn’t an option.