Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

About Thanksgiving November 28, 2013

It is Thanksgiving here in the USA.

Thanksgiving should be celebrated simply as a time of thanks for the people we have in life. In my family, it is so hard. When we see each other on Thanksgiving, we are like a room of strangers meeting to share a meal. I don’t really know my brother and sister anymore, and I know their children (and children’s children) even less. We will sit, mostly talking to my parents because they are our common ground. I will see the pity in their eyes when they ask about J, who is staying home because the bipolar demons have her again. I will watch their eyes sweep over S and her partner E as they judge their relationship (of which they know nothing). They will ask questions about them both, which I wouldn’t mind, except my family says things like: “Do you think you made S gay because you let her wear boy’s shirts when she was little?” or “Maybe J will get it together one day and stop being bipolar.”

You see, I am the “weird one”. I am the black sheep with the messed up children. I am also the one who refuses to be embarrassed by my daughter’s “gayness”. I refuse to let the word “bipolar” be a shameful word. Do I wish I could spare my children the pain I know they feel? Yes. I wish S could go through life without feeling the hatred and disgust some people (even family) have for lesbians. I wish J could go through life without the constant internal conflict along with the judgment she sees in the eyes of others, or the rejection she feels time and time again. But I would not, ever, change my children.

So, in a few short hours, I will gather over turkey and trimmings with the people I once lived with. I will be thankful for the bounty of food. I will be thankful that we are together as a family for another year. I will miss having J by my side, but thankful that E will attend the first Thanksgiving gathering beside S as her life partner.

 

Invisible Me December 2, 2012

invisible meDo you ever feel invisible? I mean truly, completely, invisible? A few years ago I felt that way every single time I got together with any group of people. We would  stand around and tell stories that ran from one person to the next. You know, where one person would tell a story, then the next person would jump in and piggy-back a similar story, and then the next person…you get it.  Every time this happened, I would start my story, and no one would listen. It’s like they didn’t even hear me or see me. My voice would falter and fade away. The stories would continue, we would all laugh and make appropriate comments, but every single time I tried to talk, not one single person heard. I don’t know why.

That is the way I feel when I get together with my husband’s family. I can sit in a corner and not speak to a soul and none of them would even notice. I don’t think they dislike me,  but they don’t really like me. It used to bother me a lot, but now it is kind of fun to sit back and quietly watch the interactions among the grown brothers and sisters with their assorted grown children. I get an up close and personal view of the love, animosity, jealousy, and anger that appears in small glimpses.

This time, it was slightly different. The family met at a local restaurant for the annual Christmas dinner. Things went pretty much as normal: hugs and greetings as each family arrived and joined the table. I ended up at the far end of the table, as usual. Hubs sat beside me, and my daughter, S, sat across from me. Beside S sat E, her life partner. SCRATCH! Life partner?! That’s right, E joined us for the first time. Hubs hasn’t told his family our youngest daughter is gay. It was almost comical how each person tried to make a point to spend time at our end of the table, seeking things to talk about so they could get an up-close look at The Beans. (That’s my nickname for S and E; it’s a kind of joke between us. “The Lesbians” became “The Beans”). The Beans tolerated the attention remarkably well, and we kept glancing at each other and giggling. How silly everyone was acting, and yet it was no big deal that my niece couldn’t attend because she lost her license for THREE years.

It was also funny that, for the first time in many years, I was not invisible at the party.