Tag Archives: Family

Toxic Relationships

I’m not the best at holding relationships of any kind.

Friends, lovers, family; I’ll write them off, take it back, and then rewrite them off consistently. It’s not really a good and healthy practice, but it’s just something I do. Don’t be like me. Once you start writing off people, it becomes a bad habit. You start writing people off for stupid reasons and stop working on repairing relationships until the only “real” and good relationships you maintain are in video games, where you’re looking up cheats so you can say exactly what they want to hear and your approval rating goes up.

That being said, sometimes you need to let go of a person. Sometimes, that person is so toxic that they’ve seeped into the core of your very being. Sometimes, it’s healthier to say goodbye.

I’ve gotten a lot of grief for writing off members of my family over the years. I wrote off my mother time and again, but my love for her family has brought us back together repeatedly. She has done some truly messed up things over our lives together, but we’re in this weird kind of shaky friendship at this point. I am re-learning how to love my mother, and it terrifies me, but I am actually trying to make this work between us.

My father, though, is a different story. My family understood how I could write off my mother like I did (like I said, REALLY messed up things she did), but they’ve been on my case about my father since I took that step and officially kicked him out of my life a year ago. I wasn’t able to talk about it before, but I’m finally ready to now.

My father was the most toxic presence in my life. It wasn’t entirely his fault. When you love someone as much as I loved him, you take disappointment a lot harder than you would for anyone else. You take their criticisms harder. You take everything they say to heart and it becomes a very unhealthy version of you.

I want to say the fight at my brother’s graduation caused this whole mess, but I knew the night before that I was done with him. I was done being hurt by him. After years of dealing with his verbal abuse and constant let-downs, I’d finally had enough, though it wasn’t entirely my decision. A lot of my other family wonders how I could just kick him out of my life like I did. A lot of them think it was about the fact he wasn’t going to help me in school after promising he would.

They’re wrong. The truth behind it is that he got rid of me first. When he returned to his almost-ex wife this last time, he stopped talking to me. He chose her over me, and that hurt more than anything I could ever imagine. It still really fucking hurts, because I did love him more than anything, but he chose first. I went from seeing him once a month to not at all. And each month, I got angrier and angrier. And then promises he had made while he and the wife were broken up were null and void, and I. Just. Lost. It.

I left the day after graduation and I haven’t reached out to him since. My brother has, and good luck to him for it, but I won’t continue to be around someone who would choose his third wife over his child. I won’t be around someone who could never respect me as a person because I’m a woman. I won’t be around someone who would abandon his own son.

I won’t say that it was easy, and it’s still not. I have dreams of him trying to apologize, to try and fix this. I went through that deep, deep depression this whole winter and some of spring. He texted me during the Baltimore riots while I was on the phone with my mother, and I burst out crying. This hasn’t been easy, but you know what? It’s been worth it.

I can make a list of at least ten good traits about myself now. I’ll catch myself saying that I’m stupid or crazy, and forcibly correct it. I’m learning to love myself and for that to be okay. I’m learning that being a woman is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is having people think that you’re gay (even though I’m not). I’m learning that it’s okay to have feelings. Having feelings doesn’t make you crazy. Being a woman doesn’t mean you’re crazy. I’m learning how to actually channel my anger into more constructive means. It’s okay to talk well about yourself. It’s okay to eat what you want. It’s just goddamn okay to be me.

I had a realization the other day, and I texted it to my brother. I don’t know if he got the sigh of relief that I received when I thought it, but wow, it was such a powerful thought. By removing my father from my life, I have years of hurt and pain and damage, but it won’t continue past 2014. He can’t hurt me anymore. The hurting has stopped and everything past that point where I cut him out of my life is healing. There will never be new wounds.

You might be wondering why I’m sharing something this personal. I’m sharing it because you have that toxic person in your life that you’re scared to get rid of, and I want to help. I want you to read this as a success story. I want you to be able to read this and finally get the courage to remove them from your life. It won’t be easy, but if you ever need help, you can talk to me about it personally. Do this for no one but yourself. Do this for a better, happier you.

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Death Is A Six-Letter Word

If you had asked me only a year ago how I felt about my mother, I would’ve shrugged and said, “I take her with a grain of salt.” If you could’ve read my thoughts, you would know that I was actually thinking how I have tried so hard to love her, but it has left me exhausted to the point where I have no feelings left for her. My mother, she simply exists, nothing more.

If this had been going on last year, I would’ve simply said, “That sucks” and move on, but this isn’t last year. This is 2015, and I love my mother, just in time to watch her die.

Nothing is certain as of yet. They found something on her lung. It might be cancer, but they’re going to give it three months and see if it grows any. It won’t matter if they catch it early though. If it is cancer, she’s as good as dead.

My mother told me, as we were sitting around the dinner table on Saturday, that if it is cancer, she’s not going to pursue chemo. She’s not going to wait until it gets bad, either. She’s going to kill herself. I can’t tell if she’s saying this simply to get a reaction from me or if she really means it. I can’t tell if this is because of the conclusions we’ve come to throughout the week, about how she won’t be able to stay at home to do chemo, about how I would take off of work to take her to appointments and to basically hold her hand, about how my brother would have to step up and help. I don’t know if this ties into the fight we had with my brother Tuesday night, where I found her crying in her room and she told me she feels like she’s holding him back, that maybe he really should move up here with me. I can’t tell what she means by this, so I say, “You know, if you kill yourself, life insurance won’t pay out.”

Because that’s all I really can say. I don’t know what’s going through her head. Everything I am feeling, she must be feeling ten times worse. Do I agree with her decision? Absolutely. If it was me, I wouldn’t kill myself necessarily, but I also wouldn’t pursue chemo. It’s entirely selfish of me to want her to destroy herself just so she might live long enough for me to settle down and have her some grandchildren. I won’t push that on her.

I keep thinking about how we are finally getting along after 19 years, how I finally feel like I’m part of a family again. I keep thinking that if only this had happened sooner, before I allowed myself to start loving her again. I keep thinking that parents die and it’s just something that happens.  Maybe we’ll get lucky, but we’re not known for our luck.

So here we sit, in limbo, for three months.

Throwback Thursday: Florida Trip 2014

Recently, I got the idea to start doing a TBT blog post. This idea evolved into what it is now, a chance to post about something I missed the window for. For example, today’s post about the trip I took last April. I talked about it, but I never did a write up. The longer I waited to do it, the more ridiculous it seemed. TBT posts give me that chance to post situations such as this.

And just for the record, I did try to do a write up. The words just wouldn’t come.

If you’ve been with this blog for awhile, you should remember the post I had made about how nervous and excited I was to get reunited with my best friend, adopted brother, and cousin, Josh. This is the reason I’ve had trouble writing this post. It’s been difficult to explain what I felt when I saw him after all these years. I’m glad I waited though, because now I can give you the aftermath of the trip.

I flew down to Florida with Josh’s mom, my aunt, Bonnie. We arrived at what I considered a nice hotel, but my aunt considered not as nice as the one she usually stayed in. “Why didn’t you book that one then?” I thought to myself. This would not be the last time I had this thought.

To say that my aunt drove me crazy is an understatement. When I take trips, I usually do it solo, and for good reason. I’m a fairly entertaining person, and the conversations I have with myself are pretty intriguing. The conversations with my aunt were not so interesting. She would repeat things several times, and tell me stories about what had literally just happened. Uh, I was there, remember? Also, she would talk about people’s weight constantly! Her weight, my weight, Josh’s weight, his girlfriend’s weight, other family member’s weight. Is that an age thing? I don’t find that kind of talk appropriate. Someone’s weight is their business unless it gets unhealthy. Even then, it is not to be obsessed over. That’s their weight.

The thing that got on my nerves the most though was that she would berate Josh and his girlfriend would join in. We were on the beach, so I got fed up and just walked away. Why would my cousin ever want his mother to visit when all she does is talk down to him?

I did enjoy this trip though, I swear, though I would’ve done a lot of things differently, such as restaurants. When I travel, I want to go local; someplace we don’t have at home. My aunt wanted Chili’s and Cracker Barrel and Sonic. I did get to go to a Tastee Freeze and a What-A-Burger, which made me wonder if their sign or Wonder Woman came first.

And remeeting my cousin? I kind of gathered from his Facebook that we didn’t share some of the same ideals. He had posted that homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry. It took all of my strength not to argue with him about that. Can he still be this great person I remembered him to be if he didn’t share one of my core beliefs?

He was great, just not the greatest. It was like when you start to see your parents’ flaws. I began to see his flaws. Luckily he didn’t mention the whole gay marriage thing, because I can stop myself on the internet, but not so much in person. He preached a little. I remembered in his letters from prison that he had turned some religious, but luckily that didn’t interfere too much with his personality.

He’s still fun, still silly. He and I did this telegram game, something we picked up without even talking about it. We started saying “Stop” after every sentence, and even after other people’s sentences. He looked at me as we played, and I looked at him, and I felt that connection. It was still there.

We’re different people now. We’re older, more mature. We’ve learned a lot, and we share different ideals now. We’re still family though. He’s still Josh and I’m still Jo and we’re still those two little kids making forts and causing trouble.

Unfortunately, he sucks at long distance communication.

See some pictures from the trip!

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How cool is this tree?

How cool is this tree?

Wow, this hot dog is creepy.

Wow, this hot dog is creepy.

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There was this crazy storm!

There was this crazy storm!

It flooded like crazy.

It flooded like crazy.

And finally, us reunited.

You know I'm a sucker for photobooths.

You know I’m a sucker for photobooths.

Hoodlums.

Hoodlums.

Cousin Bonding: DC Area Edition

You know what? I’m not going to write a post about my broken car window. I was going to, but we’re going to focus on the positive and pure fun that was this weekend.

I love making resolutions, though I barely follow through on them. A few months ago, I secretly made a resolution to myself: to spend time with the family I like. As I am being pushed out of M2’s family, I’ve been feeling utterly…alone, though I have a really big family. A lot of my relatives tease how they only see me around Christmas, so I’ve been trying to fix that as much as I can.

So this weekend, my cousin, Leigh, finally called me up and told me she was off Sunday, which is extremely rare for her. I took the Marc into DC and met her at The Hamilton. I was awfully glad that I dressed up. Everyone seemed to be really fancy. We ordered Hamilton burgers and Sparkling Blood Orange Sangria, both of which were tasty.

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We also got beignets. It was my first time with them, and ohmygoodness, I am in LOVE. Pair that with some apple butter, and it’s my new favorite dessert.

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We didn’t get to bed until after 3am. We ended up driving around the city, looking at the sights and just talking. I found out a bunch of neat things about her that I didn’t know before, such as she volunteers at homeless shelters in her free time, she likes foreign films and video games, and that her favorite food quest is the hamburger.

The next day, she gave me my Christmas/birthday presents, and I am just in love with this necklace she got me. It’s a silver oval with butterflies etched into it. We went to Paper Source, where I bought this adorable little owl stamp and pretty feather journal, then we went to The Bulletin. Let’s just take a minute to look at these:

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Forgive the crappy cell phone pictures. Cell phone camera is all I have available right now.

So what are these? They are HOMEMADE POP-TARTS. WHATTTT???? And warmed up, they are GOOD. Super sweet, but good. I got the Strawberry, cause it’s my favorite, but don’t these just look fabulous?

Then we went to World Market, which I just love more than anything. I was good and kept my spending to a minimum, but I did end up buying Duplo, my favorite candy in the world. Then, my cousin told me that she found this place, Holy Cow, that supposedly had the best frozen hot chocolate, one of my food quest items. They don’t call it a frozen hot chocolate. If you’re looking for it, it’s a chocolate marshmallow milkshake. Pretty good, but I’ve had better. But the burger we got?

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This is called Holy Pig. It’s a burger with pulled pork and BBQ on it, and wow, it is simply the best of both worlds!

Then we went to IKEA. I had never been there before, and I have fallen in love with my future couch.

It was so much fun, hanging out and actually getting to know my cousin! I hope that we’ll get more time to hang out with each other. I wish we had gotten photobooth pictures. I kept an eye out for one, but no dice. And we didn’t selfie.

For anyone who is curious how we’re related, she is M1’s oldest sister’s niece.

22 Pictures That Describe 22

So this year, I came up with the idea of doing “__ Pictures Of Being __”, which is a pretty rad idea. Unfortunately, I came up with this idea in August, meaning there wasn’t much of 22 left for me to do pictures of. Here instead is a rough outline of what next year’s actual project, “23 Pictures of Being 23” will look like, only it’s 22 Pictures of Being 22. I really hope I have enough pictures of myself. 23 Pictures will be a self portrait project, but unfortunately, I did not take 22 self portraits to do a better outline of next year’s project. So maybe this is more just highlights of being 22. One stipulation, I have to be in all the pictures.

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Remember last year’s birthday? I rented a car and drove from Maryland to Illinois to meet an online friend. It was my first really big solo road trip! We celebrated by going to the Field Museum in Chicago. I drove home the next day and found a White Castle! Thus, my first self portrait of being 22.

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Sean came and stayed with me for a week! We celebrated Thanksgiving by watching the Star Wars movie in technical order.

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 First self portrait of the 2014!

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Remember that photobooth excellence from the beginning of the year? Also, I cut all my hair off!

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Kay, Jay, and I went to the secret beach! It was Jay’s first Cracker Barrel experience!

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My super cool self portrait that I actually want to represent the new project.

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Josh and I got reacquainted.

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  Buster and I got a matching prescription

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 Sean graduated! I’m still so very proud of him!

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 Awesome paint fight? Check.

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There was a family reunion of sorts.

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I met my cousin, Cory, for the first time. And he is pretty okay.

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 I made a bunch of friends and discovered what was to become my favorite bar! This night started a lot of things for me!

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I went to Hershey Park with a bunch of really cool people! Jukeboxes take photos! I got a free juicer! Definitely a weekend for the books.

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  Bar crawl 2014. I was not aware I could drink so much before.

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 Hiking at Great Falls! There was a lot more hiking this year.

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Sad surprise birthday party is sad.

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This was the first time I’d been to Calvert Cliffs in at least 17 years!

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It wouldn’t be a projection of a self portrait project without some self portraits!

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Definitely one of my more interesting self portrait years.

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First time hiking at Gunpowder Falls! No falls, so I was a little disappointed.

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Cool Halloween costumes, cool friends who will dress up with you and also take pictures. I can’t get over how cool we are.

Tomorrow, I turn 23, which being an odd numbered year, means it’s going to be great! I’m in New York right now, celebrating with good friends. Tune in next year for my actual project, 23 Pictures Of Being 23, and next week for my New York write up.