Light

Today, I woke up to the news that my country was no longer pretending – no longer afraid to share its true colors. History was repeating itself before our eyes.

I made a deliberate choice this morning to limit my time on Facebook and social media, to not read any news stories because I knew the hurt I would feel in my heart. I don’t know why, but when tragedies strike I feel these things incredibly deeply. They seem to find their way to my soul leaving me scarred.

This evening, I logged on to my computer and instantly I saw death. I saw destruction of innocent lives. I saw the hate in their eyes.

I am sad for I don’t know what to do anymore. This is not the country I know. These are not the people I know. This is not the way we were raised – to love one another, to be brothers and sisters, all doing our best to live our best lives.

I wish I had pithy words instead of the ramblings you’re reading now, but I don’t. I can’t. I don’t know what to say, how to start, how to express what’s in my heart except send love and light to those who need it tonight, to express my disgust for the the violence and hate growing day by day. But I know in my heart I have to say something, for being silent is to be complicit.

Hate. Hate fills the street, hate fills their heart.

We are more divided than ever.

Hate is a lesson taught. You are not born knowing how to hate. You are not innately afraid of something you don’t understand. You have to be taught to hate, you have to be taught to fear – that has to come from somewhere.

Blacks, women, Jewish, gays, Muslims, Hindus, Japanese, Native Americans – the list goes on and on of people to “hate.” Why?

What are you afraid of? What is it that makes you cower in fear? Why do you have these prejudices? What dogma have you been force fed, to believe these people mean you harm?

Yes, there are bad apples from every walk of life, but I refuse to believe the whole of humanity is a hateful, hurtful, selfish bunch hellbent on destroying each other.

WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LIVE IN FEAR.

Today it’s the rally in Charlottesville. Yesterday it was Sandy Hook. Tomorrow a police riot. Today it’s the bombing of a mosque. Yesterday it’s 9/11. Tomorrow it’s Columbine.  Today it’s Pulse nightlcub. Yesterday it was World War II. Tomorrow it’s Syrian refugees fleeing Aleppo. The list goes on and on, and we are doomed to repeat it over and over again.

Hate has only one purpose – to breed more hate. It grows like a cancer, taking over the body until one is consumed. A poison that is not only contained within one’s own self but spreads to anyone who comes in contact with it. Like night, it turns your soul black and extinguishes your light.  Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding a deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

I have to believe in love.

I have to believe in the power that comes from an open heart.

Today, my heart weeps for my country.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.  – Nelson Mandela

We cannot live in fear.

We must keep fighting for our light.

I have to say something. We all have to say something. because this cannot be our new normal. We are better than this.

I pray for the people in Charlottesville, I pray for my brothers and sisters, I pray for my nation.

 

 

 

Question of the day: Did you do a good job?

They say at the end of the day, if you can go to sleep feeling like you’ve done a good job, then you’ve accomplished something.  You’ve tried your best, were kind, obedient, cheerful, blah blah blah — you can rest easy knowing you did your best, and the next day is full of promise with no mistakes whatsoever.

Except, what if it’s not?

What if you continually have this feeling of dread over the fact that despite the best you’ve done, you’ve continually failed?  You’ve made every effort in your skill set, and yet you go home feeling defeated, ready to give up?

Depression?  Maybe.

Reality?  Probably.

I’ve always been told I could accomplish anything I set my mind to, whether it be work or play.  And for the most part that has held true.  Impossible isn’t really a word in my vocabulary.

And yet — things are starting to feel impossible.  Insurmountable.

I go home drained daily, exhausted from the effort, exhausted from fighting internal battles over and over again, and it gets harder and harder to get up the next morning to face the dreaded “job” again.

Do I care about what I do?  Not necessarily.  Let me rephrase.  There are elements of the job that I like a lot — helping people.  But am I passionate about technology?  Not at all.  It could be a computer or a server, a pack of CD ROMS (?!?) or a piece of security software, and it’s all the same to me.  I don’t really like that aspect of the job.  Sales.

And I said that from the beginning.  Yet, here I am in a sales role, because they needed a body.  The role has morphed from what it was originally described as to something that looks more and more like a traditional sales job, full of new metrics that based on my set of accounts are very difficult to achieve.  Out of the five years I’ve been at this job, I’ve obtained those metrics probably seven times.  SEVEN TIMES over the course of five years.

Does this make the metrical scale something unobtainable?  Probably.  I’m not the only one who is having difficulty hitting the “numbers,” on top of all of the other tasks that often feel herculean to accomplish.  Even the top performers in the company fall short on a daily basis.

Add into that mismanagement, a rudderless ship drifting aimlessly on a sea of confusion, and a lack of joy in the office, and it feels like we all can see the writing on the wall.  Often, I hear from coworkers how they dread coming in.

And I’ve done my best to keep a positive attitude…

But I don’t know how much longer I can do that.

I have wings that need to be stretched, and here they feel clipped.  I want to soar because that’s my nature but instead I hop because that’s all I can do.

This was depressing.

Think about unicorns.  That will make you happy.

Happy month end, everyone.

Fortuna, Costa Rica

Hello bloggies.   

It’s been a while since I’ve written.   I’m writing now because I’m currently sitting awake in Fortuna, Costa Rica with lots on my mind.   Mostly the fact that the mosquitoes are going to enjoy my flesh and that I haven’t seen any monkeys yet…but there are other things as well.  
Today there was a weird occurrence that happened.   It came after a good experience, which made me start questioning all sorts of things and thinking things through.  Perhaps I’m spiraling.  Perhaps not.  I don’t know.  But enough to give me pause and need to write it out.  

After the good experience, I made a comment about this couple we had met and how they were getting married tomorrow.   My boyfriend said “that’s nice.   If you’re into that sort of thing.”   

Well, here’s the thing.  I am into that sort of thing.  And our friend who was with us also looked kind of shocked that he said that.   

But the thing is, I don’t know if it was a joke or not.   And it set my brain to thinking about all sorts of things, and whether this has all just been a long elaborate fraud for the last five years with no desire to move forward.  

So I’m trying not to let it ruin my vacation right now, but at the same time I can’t help but wonder if he even sees a future together or whether it’s a futile thing.

And as I laid in bed, I started thinking about a lot of other things over the past five years and wondered if I had been too much of a pushover. 

And it was making me upset, so much so that I had to leave our room and get some cool air.   Our friend asked if I was okay and I said I just needed some fresh air for a minute or two.  

So now, here I am blogging and wondering all sorts of things.   

Damn it, I’m 40 years old.  This stuff is supposed to get easier isn’t it? 

Or maybe not.  Maybe there’s no recipe for beautiful disasters, andyou just make shit up as it comes.   

It’s kind of a hectic way of living.  

I guess ultimately I have to decide whether that’s the kind of life I want to lead. 

And now, three mosquito bites later I am going to back inside and try to sleep.  Maybe I’ll see some monkeys tomorrow.  

The morning after…

This morning, I woke up and stretched as I usually do, but something felt different.

No, it was still the same grey sky that I’ve come to know and love in a city I know and love.  My room was the same, somewhat messy and in need of a dusting.  My kitchen looked the same, with the glass from my previous evening’s drink still sitting in the sink.  The light in the bedroom still didn’t work every single time (thank goodness the landlord is fixing that!).

I woke with a profound sense of sadness.  A sense of loss for 50 of my brothers and sisters in the community, who simply assembled to share their joy.  Maybe to meet the person that was destined to be the one for them.  To make new friends, to celebrate the ones they currently had, to simply be.  To dance without fear of judgment of who they were dancing with, or who they were kissing.

They were in their sanctuary.

For so many in the LGBT community who feel rejected by the standard church’s teachings, the gay bar is/was our home.  Our place of communal worship, albeit of a liquid god.  I say that in jest.  But seriously, it was a place for community, a place where one could go without feeling as though they were different.  Because everyone there was just as different and unique as them — making us all for those two-to-three hours somewhat “normal.”

I woke up feeling unrest.  I have been lucky in my life as a gay man.  I came out, and felt immediate love and support from my family.  From loving and being accepting of my boyfriends to recognizing that I am me, my family has been a stalwart supporter of mine, through words and actions.  I never felt the need to go to the gay bars to simply hang out to be around my kind.  I’ve always identified as a man who happens to be gay.

Today, I am a gay man, and the attacks in Orlando are having a profound attack on me.  Maybe I’ve lived in a completely isolated world where the hate and fear of myself for simply being who I am has tarnished my worldview.

You hear about things like this happening in rural Wyoming, where a young man is lured out to a roadside and beaten to death.  You hear about this happening in the deep south, where the world view is not as evolved as one would like.  Heck, their city view is not as evolved as one would like.  You hear about this in North Carolina, where people are afraid to pee next to someone who may have been born different, but went on their own journey to figure out and accept who they are.

You don’t hear about this in cities like Orlando.  LA.  Seattle.

These are large metropolitan cities known for their acceptance of our community.  Hell, our mayor, a gay man himself, painted several crosswalks in what could be called the gayberhood as a rainbow and the city rejoiced.  Two major airlines competed for the right to sponsor our never-ending pride parade (seriously, that thing is way too long but you do you, boo).

A Facebook friend summed it up best with, “They just wanted to dance.”

And that makes me filled with uncontrollable anger and sadness.  They simply wanted to dance.

Can you imagine any of the people who had made a choice to get ready, take a shower, pick out their cutest outfit, do their hair, looking forward to an evening of fun and frivolity, dancing to the latest music and simply getting the chance to express themselves with abandoned pretenses on the dance floor, sometimes finding the two and four, but having a good time and being around their contemporaries and peers — to suddenly have a madman come in and target this group of people with a semi-automatic rifle?  To go into the bathroom where people were hiding and shoot them down in cold-blooded murder?  To have people frantically sending text messages to their loved ones, letting them know he was there with them, waiting, to call the police now.  Saying their goodbyes, saying how much they loved their moms.

Can you imagine being on the other end of such a message, reading in real time the horror?  That your child had a very small possibility of making it out alive, and then, silence.  Nothing from their phone, no idea of whether they had made it, were injured, were in the hospital, but knowing in the back of your mind, that the last thing you had heard from them was them begging and pleading for help.

I want to blame things.  I want to blame people.  I want to blame the world for this.  I want someone to feel the brunt of my rage because I.AM.ANGRY.

I’m so angry that I don’t know that I can keep my emotions in check.  I’m sitting here at my desk, fighting back tears as I continually try to make sense of it, to figure out any silver lining in this massacre.  Or any massacre for that matter.

Newtown, Denver, Charleston.

I’m tired of it.  I’m tired and angry, and I want to do something.

What can I do?  Devote my life to ending gun violence?  That’s something I seriously am pondering.  Something where I can make a difference.

I’m not for taking people’s rights to have guns.  I understand it’s a constitutional right, one so ridiculously divisive.  I’m not one to take away anyone’s rights.  But I want the rights to extend just beyond the .300 gorilla in the room.  It’s not ONLY about guns and whether or not you should own them.

Someone said, “Let’s arm ’em all.”  What a fucking miserable and horrible idea.  No.  Let’s not arm them all.  Let’s not arm any of them, frankly.  Guns have one purpose:  to kill.  Not to be centerpieces on your table, not to be decorations on your wall.  Their entire purpose is to main, destroy, or kill.

I don’t want to live in a world where I have to worry about whether or not if I cut someone off in line, whether on accident or not, that I’m going to be shot because they had a bad day and are carrying a semi-automatic assault rifle.

I don’t want to live in a world where I wake up and hear that innocent school children are murdered, their lives cut short because someone was mentally unstable and unable to get the help they need.

I don’t want to live in a world where if you’re gay and you go out dancing, you have to fear that someone is going to come in and murder you in cold-blood.  Shooting fish in a barrel.

I don’t want to live in a world where if you go to church to worship, you have to be careful when closing your eyes that someone may open fire on you for worshiping your god, for trying to find peace and salvation in what is a very frightening world.

And yet, here we are.

I’m frustrated that people still cling to beliefs which promote hate and fear.
I’m saddened that innocents have to die because of madmen and women.
I’m angry because I deserve the same rights as anyone else, and I shouldn’t have to worry about my safety if I’m out dancing or drinking with friends.
I’m horrified that people believe and preach that their way is right, and yet they murder innocents.  How warped is their thinking that this has ever become an option?
I’m disgusted with our Congress who has refused to react.  Who turned their noses up when innocent children were murdered and accepted that as the new normal for our country.
I’m tired of having to watch our President — a man who has faced insurmountable racism and hostility while holding the highest office in the land — come out and give yet another press conference, to find a new way to say to the people who are supposed to help support us that this has to stop.
I’m horrified that a presidential candidate has the gall to take congratulations over the shooting in Orlando.
I’m mortified that people support said presidential candidate.

Mostly, my heart is heavy for the families of those people who were affected so tremendously by the actions of a madman.  Lives that are irrevocably changed forever.  Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children who have to bury people now and say goodbyes that shouldn’t have had to have been said.  Husbands and wives who only less than a year ago were celebrating their joy and dedicating their lives to another who now have to say goodbye.

We chase the melodies that seem to find us until they’re finished songs and start to play when senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised, not one day. This show is proof that history remembers. We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall, and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer and love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside. As sacred as a symphony Eliza tells her story. Now fill the world with music, love and pride.  – Lin-Manuel Miranda

In a naive sort of world view, I’d like to believe that this will finally spur some action on gun control.  We will finally have a conversation around what we are doing to ourselves as a country and to our fellow people.  That we cannot — will not — accept hate any more.  Demagoguery should be the exception, never the norm.
And that we should be free to be who we are, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else that makes us unique and individual.

Love is love is love.

To all my brothers and sisters out there, I stand for you because you cannot.

 

Pride and Prejudice

This morning I woke up to Huffington Post notifications about the deadly attack in Orlando, Florida.  Fifty people dead.  Another 50 or so injured.  And I started crying.

Why does this keep happening?

There are no words to express how I’m feeling — but this is not about me.  This is about the hundreds – no thousands – of people whose lives have been forever changed due to one man’s hatred and prejudice, his irrational fear for people celebrating who they are.

I am shocked, saddened, angry, frustrated, and feeling powerless.  I don’t know how to convey what I’m feeling any more except through a series of erratic hand banging on my keyboard to get the point across.

Why does this keep happening?

Why is this okay?  Why is this the new normal that we as a society are forced to live with?

My heart hurts for everyone in Orlando today.  My heart hurts for my community, and the devastating loss we all feel — when our security is threatened even more.  My heart hurts for the families of the victims.  My heart hurts for all of us.

Money seems to be the only method of getting anything done.  Dear readers, if you can find it in your hearts to donate, please do so:

http://everytown.wecanendgunviolence.org/
https://secure.bradycampaign.org/page/contribute/center-enough

You may ask yourself “Why should I care?  It’s a bunch of gay people.  I don’t know them.”
You don’t know them today, but eventually you will.  If this madness continues, it will be someone you love.  A friend, a family member, your spouse, your daughter, your son.  And then it will be too late.

There is no reason in the world for someone to have an AK-47 assault rifle, unless you are in the military — and even then that’s questionable.

Guns are not meant to be conversation starters or decorative pieces.  They have one purpose and one purpose only — to kill.  Whether that be an animal you’re hunting or another human being, death is the designed outcome.

And we have become too complacent with the designed outcome that it numbs us.

It’s time to stop.  Donate now.

 

Name Day

Today I’m changing my name.  It has been a long time coming.  I’ve never gone by the name that I was born with, but instead have all my records, both medical and otherwise, in a different name with the exception of one:  my passport. 

But I’m not changing my first or even middle name.  I’m changing my last name.   

Why?  See my previous post.  And another post.   But really, as I think about it, it’s a way to honor my stepfather, who raised me.  

I’m sure this will be seen as a slap in the face by my father’s family.   My father doesn’t really care about anything I do.    I would hope they could see it’s not about them but about the name I’ve always gone by…even when I was five.    For as long as I can remember, I’ve used this name.  And it’s time.  It’s just time. 

So now, I’m waiting at the courthouse for my appointment.   One more hour to go.   And then, I will walk out with a new official name.  No one else will know really.  But I’ll know. 

At first, I was nervous.   Was I really making the right decision?  But the more I thought about it, the more clear it became.   Absolutely this was the right decision and I feel with every fiber of my being that this is who I am.    It’s just taken me 40 years to realize it.   

So, onward and upward.   Here’s to new things and new experiences.  

Dreams For My Father

Yes, I borrowed the title from Obama’s book, Dreams for My Father.  No, this blog post will not be as brilliantly written as his book.  In fact, my blog post will most likely be full of grammatical errors and may insult small nations.  I hope not, but I can’t predict what’s going to come flying out of my fingers at 9:12 AM.

The title, Dreams for my Father, is not me being hyperbolic.  I do have dreams for my father.  The way we relate, the way we interact, the relationship we could have.

However, something happened yesterday that left me numb and sad, determined and resigned.  If you read through my previous posts, you’ll find a post called The Stranger and the Friend.  This was the last time I had spoken with my father.  Go ahead and read the post…I’ll wait.

(time goes by, so slowly…tick, tock, tick, tock)

You’re back?  Oh, good.  So, that post happened, and since then, let’s just say that things haven’t been super hunky dory between me and the man who inseminated my mother.  How so?  We haven’t said anything.  He continually “lost” my number.   But all of it — ALL of it — came to a head as recently as Sunday through Yesterday (Yesterday is not a real day of the week, but in this example, it is Thursday).

His mother had passed away two months ago.  I, being the compassionate person I am, reached out and organized flowers to be sent from myself, my brother and my sister.  We couldn’t be there in person — and frankly, didn’t feel it was right.  We didn’t have a relationship with this woman, save for a few awkward hugs across 39 years.  I can count on one hand the number of times we had seen each other.  I didn’t dislike the woman — I just didn’t know her.

Nevertheless, it was my grandmother, and my father’s mother.  Not wanting to seem insensitive, we sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers and card expressing our condolences.  My father and I texted over the course of the week before and after the service.  I wanted to make sure they got there, and that he received them.  He did, he said thank you, and asked if I would like a memory card from the service.  I said yes, please.

This past Sunday, I was catching up on some correspondence, and reaching out to people I love, which I do every Sunday.  I send a little text that lets them know I’m thinking of them, asking how they are, scheduling time to talk during the week.  It’s something I’m doing to be more engaged with people around me.  I sent him a very innocent little text, something that read, “Hey.  How are you doing?”

Three days later…(read that in your best SpongeBob SquarePants voiceover voice), I got a text back that said, “Who is this?”

Who is this?

Um…I was stunned.  I was floored, I was flabbergasted, gobsmacked.  Whatever you want to call it.  I mean, I had the chat conversation from the previous two months where we had discussed his mother’s passing.  I didn’t know how to respond.

Why was this so important?  I’m named after this man.  I’m his first child.  I didn’t know how to respond.  I had spent 39 years trying to be a good son, reaching out, wanting that relationship, and then to be caught by this information was truly surprising.

If I were to take an honest and hard look at the past relationship with my father, I really shouldn’t be surprised.  Hurt, yes, but surprised, no.  I can give multiple examples of how myself, my brother, my sister were afterthoughts.  One that comes to mind immediately was in 2006.  I was on the road, and happened to be playing in his home state of Michigan.  I had called three weeks earlier to ask if I could have Thanksgiving with them, as we would be there at that time.  He said, yes, he would love to have me.

I was excited.  This was the first time I would have spent a major holiday with that side of the family.  We made arrangements, and agreed I would reach out once I got into Michigan to finalize everything.

I can remember that week like it was yesterday.  I had called, emailed, called, and called again.  But nothing.  Not.a.single.response.  My father decided he didn’t want to follow through with Thanksgiving with his son.  His first born son.  I sat at a restaurant and had Thanksgiving dinner alone, as everyone had already left for the week.  I was devastated.  Thirty years old, and devastated on a day reserved for giving thanks.

Then, of course, you know about the incident three years ago.  And now this.

These are just a few of the examples that come readily to mind of disappointment after disappointment.

I wasn’t sure what to do, and so finally, I responded back stating that I was looking for my father, is this not him?  No response until…

three days later…

He wrote back and said yes, who is this.  I have yet to respond.

I know what I want to say.  And the only things I want to say are angry and emotional.  And now I share my first draft of what I want to write to him:

This is your first born son.  I am hurt that after 39 years, I am not in your phone, but I suppose after 39 years I am not surprised.  I have wrestled over what I have done or may have done to anger or upset you, to cause you to be so emotionally distant.  After a lot of consideration, I realize that it’s not what I have done, but what you haven’t done.  Thirty-nine years I have spent investing in something that was not even in the back of your mind never mind the forefront.  Your continued non-action has showed me that the only thing I share with you is our first name.  Because I would never and have never treated my own son this way.  Your life in Michigan seems to be pretty complete without me complicating it.  I wish you only the best and I won’t contact you again.

Am I hurt?  Absolutely.  Do I wish he would grow a pair and be a man?  Yes.  Tell me you hate me.  Tell me that I’m not what you wanted.  That I was a mistake.  Anything except for apathy.

My father is a coward.  Any strength I have learned in this world comes from my mother.  My mother, who left this coward of a man with three children, after being subjected to the abuse by his hands, and his constant belittlement.  My mother who raised four incredibly independent children, all with quick and sharp minds, able to see through people’s bullshit.  Sometimes we get blinded, though — some of that bullshit gets on the window of the car we’re driving through life — but we’re able to wipe it away and see with more clarity.

I write this because I am still angry.  And who knows, maybe I will send this message to him.  I can’t say that it would make any difference if I did.  Would he even care?  Who knows.

All I know is that these actions reaffirmed the choice I have made for myself:  next week, I go and change my last name to my stepfather’s last name.  It’s the name I know.  It’s the name I was raised with.  It’s now time to make it official.

To my stepfather, my dad — I say I love you.  Thank you for having the courage to raise me as your son when I was not of your blood.

To my father, a man with whom I have nothing in common — all I can do is wish you well.

Oh, and go to hell, you selfish piece of shit.

 

Dreams out of fear

I haven’t written anything in a while, but trust me — there’s been a lot on my mind.  Today, I’m sitting at my desk, thinking about what’s going on in the world, wishing we could all be full of rainbows and glitter and get along — and knowing that we can’t.

I recently had a dream that was very troubling.  I haven’t had many like this, so it was something that could have been a recycling of current events versus actual deep-seated fears.  However, with all of the shootings going on, the dream consisted of me being at Disneyland and there was a terrorist attack by a group of Japanese schoolgirls.  We couldn’t figure out how they got the guns into Disneyland, because they do a bag check — though not an actual pat down — and then it was discovered that the guns were being implanted in the balloons, and then the Japanese tourists were buying the balloons, popping them and going on their attacks.

Okay, it’s not something that is very reasonable.  But hey — it was a dream.  My subconscious telling me something.

I’ve watched the rhetoric continue to rise over the course of the last several months, all due to the political system, and I am frightened for my country, for my fellow countrymen, for my family, and for myself.

I am a gay man.  There’s no secret about that.  To hear the things that come out of the mouth of someone who is hoping to be the president of our country is frightening.  Not only frightening, but terrifying.  I can’t rationalize how anyone in their right mind would think that he is a good, safe choice.

But politics aside, what it is doing is breeding this fear that is now running rampant.  I’m afraid of how this will end — in bloodshed, in harmless hurt.  I don’t know how to stop it, and it’s frightening.

So, what do I do?  Continue to love.   Continue to be who I am.  Continue to preach tolerance and peace, while condemning the hurt and hate that seems to be the default reaction and go-to emotion for so many.

Dreams out of fear are quickly turning into nightmares.

Shorter and Shorter

Lately, the phone calls I’ve been having with my significant other have been getting shorter and shorter.

I wish I had an answer as to why.  But I can literally go back and track the times.  From 39 minutes to 14 minutes to 12 minutes to 10 minutes to 2 minutes.

I’m not sure it necessarily means anything, as sometimes we have long conversations, and sometimes we don’t.  But it definitely doesn’t feel like they are filled with substance.

Is this the end?

Not sure.  Maybe.

I wish I could just know.

Is there a magic 8-ball that you can ask that question to?  Even if the answer came up, “All signs point to yes,” at least I’d know.

Home for the weekend…

I decided this weekend to take a trip to visit my hometown this weekend.   See my family in a non-holiday setting.  Hang out with them as people in a somewhat less stressful environment.  

I always had assumed that the reason I didn’t like going home was because of the hustle and bustle.  I love my family dearly but having moved away when I was 21, I’ve lived in a different state than them since. Sometimes with 600 miles between us, sometimes 3,000.  Still, I did my due diligence and would come home for all the major holidays and visit.  Them coming to visit me – well, let’s just say that with one person it is much easier to travel to them.   And I didn’t really mind.   

The last time I was here was 4th of July.  Always a big barbecue with lots of family members and friends. Good food and fun fireworks.  The least-stressful of all the holidays.   The time before that was Christmas.  

Oh, Christmas.  My most favorite part of the year.  And yet, when I’m around my family, I can’t wait for it to end fast enough.

I’m the oldest of four, and with all of the nephews and nieces and children of our own, spouses and granchildren, you would think we were trying to invade a small country.  There are so many people.  Then you add into the mix the fact that there are always several orphans–family friends who have nowhere else to go and probably use our family for fodder or amusing stories at their AA meetings — and the population grows exponentially.  

Then you take all of those people and cram them into a room designed for 5, 6 at the most –and it becomes CHAOS.  By this isn’t a post about Christmas, which I can share with you another day.   This is actually a post about just a normal run-of-the-mill family visit.  I’ll save the Christmas horror stories for another day.  

No, this visit was to get out of Seattle, spend some quality time with my siblings and reconnect as adults.  

I arrived off the plane and my brother instantly went into offend or defense mode -I’m not 100% sure.  He’s always called me the favorite.  I don’t see it that way.  But I do see myself as the one who got out.   Anyway, he started making some off-color comments about Caitlin Jenner out of the blue, with no real segue.   When I was home for the 4th he did it as well.    I bit my tongue and moved on.   

The next thing was getting home and going to breakfast with my mom and my stepdad. We went out, and after being told that my brother wouldn’t be joining us, my brother decided to because hey free food and let me show up and try to compete Ina competition that doesn’t exist.  

Not that I minded him being there, but I was looking forward to seeing my folks and having real-life conversations with them about things, vacations, life.  My sister showed up as well and it was a fine conversation.  

Then my brother left without a word and was gone.   Okay, so maybe his mechanism to deal with the fact that I’m in town is to pretend I’m not in town and go on.   Not that my brother and I really have anything to talk about.   

I don’t really consider myself that smart.   The app on my phone said I’ve got a higher IQ than most people and what does that have to do with the tea in China?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.   I’m realistic enough to know that while I have gotten out of the rut that everyone else seems to be, there’s still so much to be learned.  

And maybe that’s it.   Maybe it’s the curiosity factor of my life– the wanderlust, the desire to continue to try new things, to not be stuck in the same old thing day in and day out.   To stimulate my brain.

Here, it feels as though time has stood still.  As though if there were a jug of moonshine and a telegraph machine sitting in the corner, everyone would be perfectly content, with the only thing to talk about is each other.   

I love my family.   I really do.  But I think this blog post is coming out of the fact that I don’t really relate to them.  I’m pleasant and everything but I don’t have anything to contribute to their gabbing about who got drunk and who slept with who and this is how you should raise your child and so on and so forth.   

They are all in each other’s business so much that it’s unhealthy.   My mom’s phone rang 13 times on a short seven minute drive.  Why?  Why is that so necessary? 

Sometimes I wish we were closer, that I didn’t feel something that I’m having a hard time describing—because I don’t want to write the word.   Ashamed maybe?  Wishing they could set their sights on something better?  Set their sights for the stars and even if they don’t make it at least they have the moon and all of the new, wonderful possibilities that opportunity presents.  

And yet — I’m grateful to go back home to my life.  My bed.  My things.  My world view where we talk about things and dream about ideas instead of the day-to-day minutiae of what someone said or what a spouse said.

This home for me is never really relaxing.   I always feel as though I’m on guard, needing to be ready to defend myself at a moment’s notice.   I don’t agree with some of their more conservative views – and it’s not even conservative for church’s sake.   No, no, no.   We were not brought up religious at all.   

No, it’s more that they are conservative because they are uninformed.  The world is a big place and there’s a lot goin on but they wouldn’t know it because it feels like this is the biggest place in the world where only the happenings here are of importance.

All of this sounds rather elitist.   And it’s really not meant to.   I love my family with all my heart and only want them to be happy.  I wish they could see past the ends of their noses to everything that is happening out there — but in the end, if they are happy being cocooned into their own secluded world, then I hope they are fulfilled. Perhaps I need to get over myself and just let them be.  And maybe it’s all right that we have nothing to talk about.  That we have nothing in common.   That our worldand life experiences are vastly different except for that shared experience of growing up together.   

I wanted out.  They never wanted to leave.   

In the end, nothing will change, except a few small things:  I will set different boundaries for my own sanity, and hopefully continue to practice patience.   I’m not going to change them, and they are not going to change me.   

Static electricity.   That’s the best way to describe this functionally dysfunctional family of mine.