Family

I haven’t said much about my family outside of a broader discussion about social class. Not really anyway. I’ve talked about them being Norwegian… Well, Norwegian with some English heritage on my mother’s father’s side.

I grew-up being told how much my uncles and aunts loved me by my mom. *smile* I think they did care about me and do and they’re certainly all decent people. At least for the most part. But, honestly, I doubt they liked me all that much. *laugh* Why? Well…I know the reasons I’ve thought that since childhood (and been reassured otherwise by my mom every time I’ve tried to discuss it) but why do they dislike me? As in, what’s their reason? I think it’s just that I’ve never made sense to them as a person.

I may fit in better in the family at large. I felt more “normal” around the family on the West Coast. I had a horrible time at the end because I was so exhausted but other than that every time I saw them it was nice. *smile* And I’ve seen two of them since for a ski event and written back and forth with others. Very nice.

I think I just don’t make sense though in my mother’s immediate family. Well, in a way I do I guess, but not entirely. Not really. We have do have things in common but all of my cousins are quite different from me too and I think along with those differences my uncles and aunts have mostly been more about competition in regard to me. As in, how do their kids measure-up compared to me or how can they prove that their kids are better? The fact that I started talking, walking and reading so early both delighted and irritated them a little maybe or they felt the need to prove that their kids were equal. And then, since it started off on that premise, when my mother would talk about me or they’d see me and interact with me in person their perceptions of me were likely built on that. Over the years they’ve cared about me but none of us have been close and I don’t think they see me outside of the lens my mother has given them. Truly. I had a fight (which is usually unheard of in our family) with one aunt as an adult and from my perspective I think it mostly happened because she doesn’t really know me. She kept thinking I was angry when I wasn’t… It hurt. A lot. But I think it was because she has no idea how “intense” I am by nature. Not due to anger. It’s just my personality and frankly I have a feeling she just doesn’t like it. *laugh* It’s easier to assume someone is “angry” than to totally rewrite your understanding of their personality.

…”You’re so much more confident.” a husband of a friend said when I returned home from college in Pennsylvania. My mother said, “You’re so intense!” in frustration. She did not like how I seemed… Bless her… But you know really, I was just able to be more myself when I was in college there and when I returned it was with a sense that I wasn’t just a random anomaly as a person. That’s bound to give you real confidence not just “confidence”. I grew up constantly questioning myself in one way or another and I was always “too” something for most people’s liking. In my family I was too “intense” for most people’s liking. Too “adult like” for the other kids… Too “uptight” for the trendier folks. I needed to change or adjust my personality to be more or less what they wanted to experience. Outside of what my parents did to nurture me (and I have to note my mother’s fantastic sense of humor in particular and my father’s love for great art) my nature was only really celebrated, understood at all or genuinely encouraged by my father’s oldest brother and his wife and my mother’s extended family save for possibly one or two people… I even had an “honorary aunt” who may have hated me. *laugh*

Are they loyal? Yes. At least they have been… But was it (emotionally) fun, so to speak, outside of the loveliness and tranquility it all? No. And actually I think people who know more about my immediate family would be shocked by the word tranquility. But I’ve realized as the years have gone by how paradoxically tranquil my immediate family actually was… Our apartment was always extremely neat, organized, my parents were intelligent, cultured people and despite all of their other deep issues they kept things in impeccable order. My mother was a Montessori teacher for years for a reason… I felt like a foreigner at times and there was trauma but I loved the fact that I could walk home from school in a nice neighborhood and put a perfect, well-preserved vinyl recording of Beethoven on on my father’s nice stereo system. Alone. Or I could play the piano and think. Really think. It was an unusually quiet childhood in both good and bad ways.

…No, life is rarely perfect. It’s not bad to keep trying. It’s not bad to take society seriously. One should… But the truth is harsh outside of God’s love and life shouldn’t be lived with the expectation of ease. Don’t be a doormat because we’re all worth more than that…but…rarely are there not trade-offs.

Just some rambling.