This post has turned out to be a lot harder to write than I originally thought it would be. I’m digging into my past again and stirring up old memories. It is no secret I’ve never had very close family ties beyond my younger brother. I keep in loose contact w/my other siblings but my younger brother has always been the glue holding me to the family.
In a moment of ‘something’, I recently added my little brother to my FB profile. This of course creates a gateway to the rest of the extended family that he routinely communicates with. I’m still mixed up about it but I think it is time to either open the bridge to the extended family or tear it down completely.
Backing up a bit for a little history lesson, I was adopted as an infant. My foster mom died when I was around 5 years old. My dad re-married a few years later, my younger brother’s mom. I love my younger brother and I never once resented him but after he was born my step-mother changed. I never understood it then and I still don’t now. After his birth any feelings she had for me turned to resentment. And in that resentment she made my life a living hell. There are no words to explain the mental torment she put me thru on a daily basis for years. She was, and still is to a degree, the only person I ever truly hated in this life. She tormented me so much that at one brief moment somewhere around 10 or 12 I almost poisoned her to death. I covered the gory details in a previous post years ago. To this day I still bear the shame that I could even consider such an idea. But as a child then it seemed like the only escape. Even a child’s id eventually snaps. My younger brother of course doesn’t remember a lot of what I went thru. He was simply too young. And I know it hurts him to hear it so I’ve always avoided the subject with him.
It should come as no surprise now to know that when I did leave home it was freedom! I was finally free and she would never be able to hurt me again.1 Leaving early cost me as much as I gained. I spent a couple years being homeless in pursuit of stability. But even that wasn’t enough to send me back. I don’t think there was anything that could have driven me back. Frankly, I would have rather lived on the streets for the rest of my life than go back to the misery of before.
Later, after I moved to SF in my early thirties I struggled to find myself. Having finally gained some financial stability, I turned my attentions inward in an attempt to discover what type of man I wanted to become. I felt like a blank slate waiting for an imprint. I spent the better part of a decade conquering the insecurities and demons from childhood. I replaced self-loathing and abandonment with confidence and integrity built on the knowledge of who I am. I shed the ignorance and fear that crippled me for so long in my life.
For all my struggles over the years, I’ve kept a wall between myself and my extended family. It wasn’t hard. Distance, time, and logistics made it easy. And to be honest, I resented them for many years. It doesn’t matter now that that resentment was misplaced. I was a child. I resented them because they saw what she did to me. In my eyes back then they saw what she did and yet did nothing. I can remember time and time again feeling elated and excited when the extended family would visit. It meant a reprieve from the mental abuse and I got much needed interactions. God, I must have looked so pathetic back then. This doe-eyed child practically begging for any scrap of attention. I also remember the absolute despair that would grip me when they left. When they left to go home it meant my reprieve was over. I guess it is no surprise I resented them somewhat.
But I am a man now and the pains of childhood are a distant memory. I harbor no more resentments. I harbor no fear over their acceptance of me, or not. They will or they won’t. That is their path. My life is my own and I will live it honestly and without fear.
Ironically, and on somewhat of a tangent, most of the extended family I miss were on my step-mother’s side. I learned many years later my adoption created a rift in my foster family. My foster mom’s family was very much against it. However, since it was my foster mom who made the decision, you can see why thy were distant. My dad’s side was more connected but living in a remote rural area and most of them being poor meant less contact. My step-family were a tad better off and we saw much more of them over the years. I guess it makes sense.
Back on point, it is time to shed the last of my walled gardens, so to speak. No matter the outcome, I will still be standing.
And you should know what I’m about to say now. hehehe
Hope springs eternal…
- Sadly, even that turned out not to be true. [↩]