I know this isn’t true, and is thus entirely irrational, but sometimes when I’m listening to lectures, I feel like the speaker is talking about ME. For instance, we had a guest lecturer in my Sociology class on Tuesday, speaking about research she and a team of grad students had just done on Fragile Families–children born out of wedlock and the tenuous ties that bind their parents. She kept talking about these people, these children, these parents, like they were so far removed from our current situation, and the whole time I just wanted to scream YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT ME!
She said a lot of things I don’t agree with about children supposedly like me, but if being a SOC major has taught me anything so far, it’s that I’m not like anyone who falls into any of the same categories as me. Comparison is futile. So I fumed silently, then finally treated myself to a Starbucks coffee mug to make myself feel better.
But early this morning, as I was laying in bed trying to go back to sleep, I realized she was right about how the introduction of new partners into the family and the dissolution of those relationships is stressful for the child involved. I had been refuting this because the dissolution of my mother’s marriage was perhaps one of the most joyous occasions of my life. But laying in my bed, I began to feel this forbidden ache: I was again missing the one person I’m really not allowed to miss.
Greg. My mom’s ex-boyfriend. I recognize that he was not right for her, and that the best decision for her personally was to terminate this relationship. I understand that, and on some level I am proud of her for being able to make the decision to walk away…in the past, I have known her to fear solitude over second-best relationships.
And yet. Greg is one of those people that makes me question whether there is someone somewhere with some great big plan in which everything happens for a reason, because even if the 6 years or so he and my mom spent together weren’t right for either of them, in some respect they were perfect for me. …Wow, I didn’t mean for that to sound so damned selfish. It’s like, I mean no disrespect to my actual father, and all the disrespect possible to my ex-stepfather, when I say this, but in many ways, Greg is the closest thing to a traditional father I have ever known. (Not that he’s very traditional about anything.) I guess, the relationship he and I had…he made me want to be enough of a little girl that we could go to Daddy/Daughter dances and enough of an adult to sip wine and have intellectual conversations at the same time. I would never admit this to him, but I cared SO MUCH what he thought about everything. He kept it real. He listened to my poetry and didn’t judge me for it, just listened. He was trying to win my mom’s heart, but he managed to get a pretty good chunk of mine too, and goddammit, I don’t give a fuck if it’s somehow disloyal to my mom, sometimes I miss him so much it HURTS. If ever I believed in family, it was when he was the head of mine. He lies somewhere near the root of my belief in unconditional love, too. It feels so wrong to say this, but it’s how I feel so here it goes: Losing him was like losing my dad all over again.
I want to be able to have dinner with him. I want him to know about my JP topic, and I’d be more comfortable talking to him if I started dating than either of my actual parents. It’s not fair that my mom wanting him out of her life meant taking him out of mine too. It’s just not fair.
But you know, I still firmly disagree with the guest lecturer about one thing, and my belief about this is unwavering. She said children of fragile families would be better off with no transitions, even if they were into better relationships. That’s just plain untrue. Even knowing how much it would hurt to finally understand what a father-daughter relationship is supposed to be and then lose it, I’d do it all again for the sake of the memories. I’d do it all again for the pure joy I got from running into him at Walmart over the summer, or for the shared secret joy my sister and I got from texting him to wish him a Merry Christmas.
I really do want to meet him for dinner or (in a few months) drinks or something and catch up. Maybe that’s stabbing my mom in the back, but hey, I never wanted to break up with him. Don’t I get some choice in who stays in my life?
that I act like an only child, and everyone just assumes I’m an only child because I don’t want children and I don’t seem like the loving-older-sister type.
I suppose I wouldn’t really categorize myself as the loving-older-sister type either, but somehow coming from other people, this feels like an insult.
I love my brother and sister! I don’t always like them, but I love them. I’m more of the protective pushy older sister type…but that’s just tough love, right??
One of my favorite natural hair blogs declared today to be a self-appreciation day, and as those are always good, I decided to follow suit.
I love the way bright warm colors look against my caramel skin. I love my collarbone and like to draw attention to it with necklaces and low cut shirts. I love that people stop me on the street to ask about my kinky curls and are shocked to hear how little maintenance they require. I love that I don’t feel like I have to wear makeup every day. I tease myself about needing to go to the gym, but I LOVE my curves. And most of all, I love that I’ve gotten to the point in life where I can shout all of this from the rooftops (read: to a little corner of the internet) without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Every day I look into the mirror and the person staring back seems more and more like ME.
What do you love about you?
Confession: As much as I hate to admit this, because it makes me feel like a slut, if he’d played along Saturday night, his first view of my room would have been from pressed against the wall or in my bed. But he didn’t, and as such, as I was wandering drunkenly back to my room at 2 AM, I started mumbling to myself about wishing he was with me.
…I don’t know if it was just because I saw him and then got drunk and wanted someone, or if it is actually him I want.
Confession #next: the first time I saw him once we got back to campus, and he hugged me and I felt his hands on the small of my back again, I finally understood what people mean when they talk about their knees going weak.
…It’s just, weak from a desire that is specific or generalizable? That is the question.
than automated customer service robots. I would like to gather a baseball-bat-armed legion to go forth and find the computers that give them such acoustically pleasant voices and smash them to pieces. Better yet, I’d like to go around the country (world?) under the cover of night and do it myself. You can’t ARGUE with a robot. You tell a robot how frustrating it’s being, and it just says, “Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Your options are…”. When that frustrates you even further, the robot begins suggesting that you hang up. When you ask to speak to customer fucking service, the robot tells you that the information it gave you is up to date, and customer service is not an option at this time. When you yell at the robot asking WHY THE HELL WON’T YOU LET ME SPEAK TO A HUMAN BEING?!?, the robot says, “If you’re done, please hang up.”
Insolent fucking piece of machinery. I had to call you four times before I finally figured out how to get you to let me speak to an actual person.
GIVE PEOPLE THEIR JOBS BACK SO I CAN TALK TO THEM WHEN I’M HAVING PROBLEMS. I wouldn’t yell so much if the voice on the other end of the phone could understand what I’m saying, rather than just recognize the words.
|^Sort of like this.|
|Bonus points if you get the literary reference.|
Being angry at someone for the first time is an interesting experience. I suppose it becomes more and more interesting depending on how long you’ve been close to the person before having to cross this bridge of anger. One of my closest friends on campus is really flaking out and making my life difficult right now (I’m sure he doesn’t mean to be, but regardless), and it’s putting me in a really bad mood. It took me a while to realize that this funk I’m in is anger…this is what it feels like to be angry at him.
…and as much as I hate the “real women” qualifier (what the hell are fake women, anyway?), I’m pretty sure I’ve got that part down pat.
…and yet, a close friend recently informed me that perhaps the guys in my life don’t see me as a girl. Not the way I’d like them to, you know? This has caused me to re-evaluate the time I spend with my boys. I’ve come to the decision that I play one of two roles that come quite naturally to me around them: either hanging out as just another one of the guys, or as a worried protector motherly type. I’m either in the middle of watching a football game or debating the ethics of strip clubs, or worrying about a new injury and whether they’re getting enough sleep. I suppose neither of these things is inherently sexy.
I told said friend that I don’t see how me hanging out with a few guys I’m close to is any different than me hanging out with a few girls I’m close to, and she says that therein lies the issue. Should there be a difference?
I don’t see why. I’d rather be thought of as being ME than as just a girl.
Why do you even ask questions that start with “You don’t mind me asking…”? You know you’re wrong. You admitted it yourself. Just do us all a favor and accept your wrongness before the words come out of your mouth. Yes, we mind. It’s about time somebody let you know.