Father’s Day

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of Father’s Day this year. I mean, Mother’s Day was… The writer in me wants to say “quite traumatic” but that’s a bit misleading. It was more revelatory, I guess. I’m still working through what some of it means. So, like I said, not really sure what to expect out of this day.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t bother me near as much. Seriously. Mother’s Day, especially this year, really rubbed something the wrong way. It’s been a weird holiday for me for most of what I can remember, what with my mom passing when I was 8. Teachers would have little projects for us to do for various holidays, so I learned to substitute people in for “mother”. Like, my father, my aunt, or my grandma. Best intentions and all, I’m sure, but a bit weird for me. A few years ago, I remember really starting to see people talking about others who may have a hard time on Mother’s Day. People without mothers, with absent mothers, who wish they could be mothers, etc. And I thought that was pretty nice. But I dunno, this year I was just overcome with all this frustration at basically anybody who dared mention the holiday.

My mom died. That was something completely out of my control. My father, on the other hand, I willingly don’t talk to him. I haven’t spoken to him in almost 6 years.

So this year, what with the insanity that this past year has been, I figured I might have some different emotions this year. Guilt, regret, longing. Heck, maybe even frustration and jealousy of other people’s happiness.

What do I have?

Desire to tell the people that were more father-figures to me than mine ever was just how important they were to me.

Enjoyment at other people’s cute pictures on phaseborg.

Exactly zero feelings one way or the other about my own father.

“The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”

The bonds we make by choice are stronger than that which we are born with.

Free will at it’s best.

Happy day.

Star Wars Day, love it or hate it?

Yesterday was May the Fourth, or Star Wars Day (you know, May the Fourth be with you!) As a nerd, I have known about this day for years, and have seen it increase in popularity within the past few years. Which is great! More people embracing their inner-nerd is always a good thing in my book.

On my way to and from work, sometimes I listen to the radio, sometimes I listen to my own music. Yesterday was a radio day on my way home, for whatever reason. The afternoon show host was talking about Star Wars Day, and how he wasn’t a fan of the movies, so he didn’t really get the whole big holiday thing. He said, ok, you like something, that’s fine, just don’t wave it in my face and shove it down my throat, ’cause I don’t really care!

And I had this moment of clarity.

That this is EXACTLY how I feel at Christmas.

I am an atheist. I am not a Christian. I am not going to tell you not to celebrate Christmas. But don’t be offended when I don’t care and don’t place the same value on it that you do.

If you get to not care about a nerd holiday, I get to not care about a religious holiday. That seems fair, right?

Traditions are for those stuck in the past and can’t deal with change.

A couple days ago, my father-in-law came over, we’ll call him F, to sit and chat with husband, H. At some point in time, F brings up the fact that mother-in-law, M, is hopping mad at H. H asks why? And this leads us down a rabbit-hole-discussion of disaster. F brings up a couple points I see as valid, a couple that I do not.

One of the things I see as not valid, is that M is mad that *we* are not having Easter dinner at *our* house this year. So, first off, we don’t have holidays at our house. M is the hostess-extraordinaire. She loves throwing parties and having people over. By default, we assume that all holiday meals will be at their house. Secondly, part of the reason I said no what I was either misinformed, misunderstood, or H was misinformed about the reasons why M wanted us to host dinner. What H repeated to me made it seem like F & M were not getting along well with one of their mutual friends, who is always invited over for holidays, and wanted an excuse to not invite mutual friend over. I said, that’s dumb, why would *we* not invite mutual friend over as well? I dunno what’s going on with them, but I’m not going to help them play some petty / passive-aggressive game. Fuck that. However, it seems that maybe the reason is that they’re having various parts of the house painted, so things are all in confusion, and cooking in their kitchen is not possible. Ok… well… if I’d know THAT a week ago, I might’ve said “yeah sure whatever we can have dinner here.”

This lead into a discussion about “traditions” and F asking why H & I don’t seem to care about them. So H went on to explain that their traditions are not things that are particularly enjoyable for either of us. I don’t HATE them, don’t get me wrong. I do like the idea of getting together on holidays, but it doesn’t need to be this long, involved, all-day thing. But his point is more… It’s a day like any other day, to us. Most holidays are religious, so for both of us, there’s no meaning to them. Easter Sunday = Zombie Jesus Day. Christmas = Saturnalia. Thanksgiving = Try Not To Burn The House Down Day. We’re both atheists, so literally any religious holiday I couldn’t care less about, other than hey it’s a free day off of work!

So then F goes on to say that it isn’t so much about the holiday itself, but rather about the sense of family, community, and belonging that is associated with holidays. Ok, maybe some people are ok with pretending to like family members on special occasions because it is “expected” of them, but that shit doesn’t fly for me. Especially not when others don’t even make an attempt to engage me in conversation, leading me to believe that they wouldn’t even notice if I wasn’t there. That’s not community, that’s not belonging. That’s tolerating other people because it is the socially accepted thing to do, and how DARE you break that boundary. So again, fuck that shit. I’m not going to tolerate shitty people because “society” thinks I should. I’m not going to put my own mental health in danger and stress myself out by being in a situation that I don’t like simply to please somebody whose opinion I don’t care about anyway.

And unfortunately, it took me so long to write this on Saturday, that it extended into Sunday and now I have a sort of off-shoot of this conversation to dwell on. M decided to take to fb to rant about our opinions on holidays and “family time”. You know, without mentioning any names, being totally passive-aggressive about it. Yeah, I get it, this post in  and of itself is a bit passive-aggressive, but look, my therapy appointment isn’t until Thursday and I gotta figure out how to not be pissed off for the rest of the week. Anyway. So up goes this post complaining about how “younger folks” don’t seem to value “family time” anymore and how “did we lose the importance of just being together on a special day?” Oh, and let’s not forget the complaint about how communication just SHOULDN’T be done by text message, but someone else never calls either, and that “family time” should be spent “catching up”, but then when we finally all get together, as soon as there is 2 seconds of silence, somebody has to pipe in with a sarcastic “woo hoo the excitement!”

So let’s go in order.

  1. Younger folks – Frikkin’ ageism pisses me off to no end.
  2. Family time – I try to reach out to you, you don’t ever seem to want to get back in touch with me. I dunno what you want.
  3. Special day – It’s Easter. That’s a dumb religious holiday. I’m not religious, therefore it is not special. So we get together the day before, or next weekend. It’s not like we NEVER see you. So, what’s the big deal?
  4. Texting – Half the time when I call, you either don’t answer the phone, or are running errands and can’t take time out to talk. So, I text, because I know you’ll read it and get back to me at your convenience. But, if I ask you to call me, and then you don’t, well…
  5. Catching up – Since we live in a very connected time with social media and cell phones, catching up isn’t quite what it used to be. And, you all are much chattier than my family ever was, so it’s not like there’s tons of stuff that happens in the few days we don’t talk, versus a whole month that it would be when I was growing up.
  6. Woo hoo, excitement! – Look, you bitch we never talk or get together, and then when we DO finally get together and there’s a lull in the conversation, you try to get a jab in that we aren’t interesting enough for you? The fuck??

 

I don’t get it. ALL OF THIS ASIDE. I tried to be above this, and I sent a “happy easter” text message (despite this going against the verboten texting clause) because I knew she was going to be at the buffet / casino, and probably wouldn’t hear her phone. I also included a “hey let’s all try to get together for dinner next weekend” because ok, she wants to spend time together, let’s try to spend time together.

And I get nothing.

Not a word.

Not even an acknowledgement when they stopped in for a few minutes to say hi that she received my text.

How. How do I deal with someone that states, to others, that she wants a relationship with me, but whenever I try, I get nothing. And when I don’t try, I get passive-aggressive shit on fb. (Or, she complains to other people like H or F, and then I sometimes hear about that.)

I’m not sorry I’m not some little cookie cutter individual that conforms to whatever your twisted ideal of a daughter is. I’m not sorry for who I am, what I say, or what I believe (or don’t believe). I’m not sorry I’m not stuck in the past, upholding traditions simply for the sake of “we’ve always done it this way.”

I REFUSE to feel bad about how I feel.

Political self-characterization

I have a fair percentage of in-laws or friends of in-laws that would classify themselves as conservatives or republicans. Or if not outright either of those choices, definitely NOT a liberal. As a result, I end up seeing a healthy dose of some of the crazy shit these people believe over on phaseborg. 

Without exception, these people are clear & proud supporters of 45. Most have extreme dislike for 44. 

Here’s what I don’t get about these people.

Avid supporters of 45. Believe that O was too harsh on businesses, and can’t wait for some of his (or not his, they aren’t really good at knowing who did what) regulations to get repealed. Regulations that were put in place to protect workers. Let me repeat that, because it’s important. Regulations put in place to protect the workers. 

And yet, despite apparently desiring less protection for workers, one loses their job with no real reason given, but works in an at-will state, so no real reason needs to be given, and goes on a tear about how dare companies not treat their employees with respect, and why isn’t there loyalty anymore, and employees are just trying to do what’s best for the company even if it costs them more money.

I just want to reach out and say, do you realize how incompatible and inconsistent your views are? You can’t say, let businesses have more freedom in one breath, and then condemn them for having too much freedom in the next. That doesn’t work. And honestly makes you look like a bit of an idiot.

I’m a slacker and everyone is annoying…

Such is life, lately. I read something and was inspired to write my own “response”, not really a response but more like my take on an issue. But then I got halfway through my post and thought that maybe said person wouldn’t appreciate a response, even if it’s not directed AT them (had a similar problem before, upset an internet-friend.. and now I go back and forth on whether or not apologizing was the right thing to do… BUT I DIGRESS). So I saved it as a draft, so it exists on here somewhere, but I’m not sure where, and I’m not sure I want to finish it.

So here I am. I’m struggling a bit lately dealing with people in general. A couple of my coworkers are particularly annoying, and I’m not sure why. I don’t THINK they’re doing anything different than they normally do, and I do normally find them a bit irritating, but they’re running dangerously close into the stabbity realm. Similar stuff with fb friends. For the most part, I can usually just zoom by things and not give them a second thought, but some posts are getting under my skin more than usual.

I guess it boils down to that I am seeing people as much whinier than I normally do. Like, I just want to tell them all to shut the fuck up. Don’t like [x]? Don’t [verb] it. If [x] is a person, ignore said person, don’t yammer on about how much you don’t like [x]. If [x] is a food, don’t eat it, don’t tell me why it’s awful.

This is going to sound kind of doofy, but I feel like there is a lot of negative energy happening around me. Like I said before, I don’t really know why. I don’t know if it’s me, and/or my perspective, or if it is everybody else. I mean, Occam’s Razor dictates that it’s me, I get that. I just like to overanalyze things and think of the 87 billion different possibilities.

I would like to note that I’ve basically spent the past 3 days without social media as well as the normal, everyday interactions of my coworkers. So maybe I’m just hypersensitive to things now. If that’s the case… do I WANT to be dulled? Is that better for my interactions with people?

Or, as Fats from JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy might ask, is it more authentic to not be numbed?

“Will I ever adjust to the fact that my mother is gone?”

Article

This is something that has been on my mind lately. I’m currently seeing a therapist, and we talk a lot about my emotions and how I handle them (or don’t). And we frequently end up at things that happened when I was young, and a lot of the time we end up back at my mother’s death.

My mom has been gone for so. long. 20 years. I’m 29.

The author’s fear of “nobody cares, why can’t I just get over it” is totally unfounded, I think. I’ve never felt the compulsion to say that to anybody about any loss, and I’ve never heard anybody say it. (In relation to death, at least.) Granted, my world is relatively small, and I’m well aware that there are plenty of assholes out there, so I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. But like a lot of things, what our brain thinks and what we know to be true don’t always coincide.

Way back, when I wrote The West Wing, “Holy Night”, I wrote about how I kind of hated Josh a little bit because he pushed Toby into a situation with his dad that Toby never wanted. And I still think about Josh’s line: “That I would give anything to have a living father who was a felon, or a sister with a past… That’s it.” And at that point I really do feel sympathy for him. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a little kid and lose a sibling, or be an adult and lose a parent you are so close to. I still don’t like him pushing his feelings on Toby (oh Toby <3) but I understand the pain is there.

I just don’t get it.

Our pain and our grief is our own. It may be similar to another’s, but it is completely individual.

And with few exceptions, there is no wrong way to experience it.

There is no one right way to get over it. There may not even be a full recovery.

But that’s ok.

Because at the end of the day, it makes us who we are. It defines us. It is so completely a part of us, that we wouldn’t be the same person without it, for good or for ill.

Pain and suffering is a part of life. Learning how we deal with it, how we confront it or ignore it, how we live our lives before, during, and after it, that is what’s important.

I’m surrounded by Catholics

Well, not right this second. I’m on my couch now, and it’s just me & my hubby at home. But I realized I was today at work! It was weird.

So it’s, I dunno, half an hour, 20 minutes before the end of the day. And coworker B comes over to ask coworker D a question. They start talking about … Oh yeah, going to mass tonight since it’s Ash Wednesday. Coworker B just had a small human, so she’s thinking about baptizing and godparents and other weird things that I never experienced growing up. So B & D start talking about churches, and how to be a member, and who can be godparents… And then coworker M comes over and joins in! Coworker M had her own small human recently, and has apparently been going through similar struggles.

I learned that small humans ALMOST ALWAYS have both a godmother and a godfather. I still don’t know what they are supposed to do. You can have just one, but you can’t have two of the same.

To be a godparent, you have to be religious. Like, you have to be a member of a church. I dunno what that process entails. Or you can have someone write a letter for you? And there’s some variance on whether or not you were (a) baptized, and (b) (if applicable) married in a Catholic church. I don’t know if you can be a godparent and not be married, though?

There’s also something about priests not being able to refuse baptisms, even if you aren’t a member of the church.

I also don’t know if it’s “the church” or “the Church” or “a church” or what the proper grammar is here. Maybe for Catholics it’s the Church?

**

Moving here has really opened my eyes to a lot of things religious that I never knew before. Heck, even meeting my husband has been educational. While he isn’t religious (organized religion is a sham, more than atheism) he was raised Catholic, so he’s got all this holiday shit on lockdown. Me? I still don’t know why there are 12 days to Christmas, what the ashes are for, or where the Easter Bunny came from. (That last one may not actually have anything to do with religion, but the point is I don’t know.) I am certainly surrounded by a lot more openly religious people now than I ever have been at any previous point in my life.

Part of that was my family. I don’t actually know the first time I was in a church. My parents never attended. My grandparents didn’t attend a church either, that I know of. Religion wasn’t something I remember really being discussed at all among family. I don’t even know if either of my parents owned a bible, though I would have assumed if either of them did, it would have been my mom.

And then at some point I was smart enough to figure out that Santa meant more to me than god ever did, and if Santa wasn’t real, then god must not be either. Plus I started learning more history and thought the widespread corruption in the Church was absolute bullshit and they were all a bunch of hypocrits. So yeah, I have my own streak of “organized religion is a sham” but first and foremost I don’t believe in higher beings. Or rather, if they exist, they are of no consequence, so why be concerned with them.

Hey, maybe I’ll die and wake up at the pearly gates, or the flaming gates, or wherever, and be proven wrong. But I’m not going to try to live my life in such a way that I will get to this one idealized place that may or may not exist upon my death. I’d much rather live a good life because it’s the right thing to do. I’m not an asshole because I believe that would be a miserable existence, not because I’m afraid I’ll go to hell or get stuck in purgatory. And because I really don’t want to hurt people on purpose. Accidents happen, of course, and I’ll give people a second chance (usually) as I hope they would give me one. I have a much more Eastern-influenced belief set in this regard.

Whatever happens after we die is a complete unknown. So I’m not going to stress myself out by trying to keep score in the here and now when I don’t even know the rules. We’re moving chess pieces, but don’t even know if we’re playing chess, or what the pieces mean, or how they’re supposed to move.

Do good. Don’t hurt others. Help where you can. And be understanding and non-judgmental.