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theory

family

My friend was curious about what I mean by family.  She’d heard me talk about the man I loved, who my spouse and I invited into our family.  She didn’t understand what that meant.  Maybe I seemed formal about it.  How was that different from being close, close friends?

Yes, it might be confusing, how I use the same word for different things.  Lots of words are like that: love, vulnerability, relationship.

the categories

There’s what I would call Blood Fam.  I could also say extended family, or family of origin.  Then there’s the mini-fam of me and my spouse.  And there are family-like friends.

white people

The white side of my family, my dad’s side, is bitter, nasty people.  My dad’s sister recently was harassing me online.  It hurts her feelings that I don’t want contact with her, so she went on my social media and found material to insult me about, even my photos.  In comment after comment, she said mean things about my views on community, race, gender, health–things that matter the most to me.  She has a warped view of her importance in my life, which is–she’s important for me to avoid!

Just the fact of her harassing me was a microcosm of the relationship, evidence enough to show me to continue to avoid her.  Her cruelty blew me away.  Who talks to people like that?  Family–that’s who.  She has a warped view of who I am.  She said I’m full of hate and “slam the door in her face,” but there’s no violence to how I dodge her.  I’m not slamming anything.  I’m allowed to say no to people like her.

cousins

This white side, I have four first cousins, and one went to prison a few years ago for doing something Very bad.  But he was out more quickly than expected.  These cousins, I have no interest in.

family

Legally these white people are my family, but I don’t think of them as family.  They’re not in my heart except as confusing ghosty shadows.  They are pain.  Almost all of them, for years, I haven’t talked to.

I had a second cousin who died last year, crazy like me and my age, who I loved.  When I asked about the service, her aunt and other relatives ignored me.  I see that whole side of the family as a shit show, and the further I can stay from them, the better.

The only interest I have in that side of my family is my dad, who’s five years dead.  I want to go overseas to do a ritual where my dad was born; I have the address.  If covid ends, maybe I will go there.

my mom’s side

My mom’s side of the family, who are Mexican-American people, I do consider family, but I’m estranged from almost all of them.  I have scads of cousins, more than I know.  Cousins without number.

I feel a pain about this family also.  They knew what my dad was doing to me, and they did nothing to help me.  Also they knew about his suicide attempt before I was born and said nothing to me.  No one told me a lot of things that might have been helpful for me to know.  Things I found out decades later!  Like–oh, wow.  They thought I didn’t need to know that…  Ok!

I put the pieces together, and it hurts, to be a detective for so much that affects my life every day, yet still I only have a small part of the story.  The skeletons in the closet are dancing the door open.  They don’t stay in the closet–they just dance everywhere.  The skeletons, the dirty laundry, and the elephant in the room are really not fun to hang out with, so I just leave.

I like intimacy and love, but when there’s that amount of broken fuckery, deception, meanness, and drug abuse, there’s no point.

content warning: sexual assault

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the sexual assault, incest, and my mom trying to protect me from my male relatives as far back as I remember.  There are things I don’t even know the name for, but they’re related to sex, and they’re bad.  I won’t even talk about that.

addicts

My relatives are weirdly fucked up people, and oh yeah, they’re almost all drug addicts, especially the men.  Alcoholics and drug addicts.  So domestic violence is common, they’re all trying to numb themselves, and either they can keep it together and build their little empire of money security, or they go to jail a lot.

Overdose, suicide, car wrecks.  Drug dealers, gang members, people losing their kids, and other relatives sometimes trying to take the kids.  Powerful cliques within the family–judgement cast all over the place.  There’s so much shame.  My mom was the only reason I talked to most of them, so when she died, I lost the reason to force myself.

I’m the black sheep of the family–I’m kind but crazy and incomprehensible.  I’ve never gone to jail, but I’m the fattest.  The confusing one who moved away, didn’t have kids, hears voices.  I’m not seen as positively incomprehensible–more like I’m a fuck up, which I’m really not.  Sure I’m disabled, and don’t make money or own a house or car.  I married someone of another race, and tell the truth about “mental illness” all the time.  To them, that’s all bad.  They can’t see outside their values.

They want to watch football, have babies, eat BBQ, praise Jesus, perform gender conventionally, be straight, make money, and live in denial 24-7.  Pretending everything is ok is their M.O.  Of course I’m not wanted.  All that stuff is the opposite of me.

mini-fam

Then there’s the mini-fam that’s just me and my spouse.  Ah, take a deep breath.  We have fun, are honest, and care for each other skillfully.  We’re both disabled, and it’s a lot of work, but we’re happy.  I feel safe with my spouse.  We have something rare and wonderful.

But I’d like a larger family.  Two seems unbalanced–when we had three people in our family, that made more sense.  That ex was not good for us, but I hope one day someone kind and stable who really wants to be here will join us.

As we age, it feels less likely that we’ll find that.  But you never know.  Some say love arrives when you least expect it.

It never seems like a good time to take on the stress-load of dating.  I’ve never much dated–falling in love with friends is the norm, for me.  Intentionality might be more productive, but dating is often a huge charade.  Someone puts on their best behavior for a few months to hook me, then shows their true colors.  By then, we’re having sex and in love, with our lives deeply connected.  It’s hell to sort out–yuck.

Most people I meet seem too out of touch with their own truth to even begin to be honest with other people.  I’m looking for intimacy based on truth, which is hard to get, when most people I encounter are lying even to themselves.

family-like friends

There are friends who we get so close, it’s family-like.   I do enjoy that treat of being able to relax more with someone and trust.  I have two good friends in town who I feel that way toward, and then my bestie elsewhere.  One other friend I truly trust elsewhere.

Yes, we’d do almost anything to help one another, if needed, and that feels good.  But the connection feels less durable.  And it’s informal.  We don’t declare it and might not talk about it.

what I want

When I invited the man I was in love with to join the mini-fam of me and my spouse, that meant to live with us part-time and form something new with us.  A new version of family, greater than the sum of its parts, and strong in new ways.  I was willing to be changed.  I wanted to accept his energy, with all its contributions, brightening, his unique light.  The joy of his brilliance would bring a benefit that far outweighed the risk of difficulty.

The fun of his energy is very appealing.  But when he came here, I learned things about my friend that I couldn’t see long-distance, and I was hurt beyond what I can accept.  So it didn’t work at all.

But I hope one day I’ll love someone that much again, in a way that I want them living under the same roof with me and my spouse, and I’m willing for the mini-fam to change.

diversity

What about you?  Do you like your family as it is now?  I’m looking for trustworthy kindness and diversity, more people to deeply trust.

If my spouse breaks his hip, we’re going to be screwed.  Seems silly, to have only two people living together.  Not just for crises, but every day.  People to cook and eat with, people to share ideas with, emotional support, listening, enriching.  Letting people in all the way.

I want to let people in all the way, and most people reserve that for their family.

conclusion

Rereading this post, parts of it do sound angry.  But my aunt is wrong.  It’s not that I’m angry in general, or full of hate–I’m angry about family, that the people who were supposed to be there for me and care for me instead did harm.

I hope this dose of anger is not too much for you, reader.  Thank you for being honest and giving love to who you can.  Thank you for connecting with me and nurturing your gifts to share with the world.

By Nest

Curious, disabled Earth Goddess, telling the truth.

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