finding family

I’m starting to get out of the funk I’ve been in over the last week or so.  My birthday seems to bring up a lot of crap for me and the old ways of protecting myself from said crap often come up for me.  I really try not to let the whole being alone on my birthday thing bother me, but it really does.  I miss my parents.  What can I say?  I just do.  And it’s hard because celebrating my life without them feels wrong.  No one will ever make me feel as special as they did.  One day, I hope to feel more connected to people–to say I actually have a family–but that day won’t be coming for a while.  And I have to learn to deal with it better.

But, God, I just miss them.

I was still kinda bitchy and in a funk when I woke this morning.  But instead of doing my normal isolation crap, I decided to talk to that guy who’s all the way in freakin’ Europe for the next who knows how long.  We hadn’t really talked about what I said before–but had talked about other things since–by text.  I was still feeling weird and standoffish.  I kept trying to push him away, saying how annoying I was.  I think I do this as a test as well as a way of punishing myself for feeling crappy.  It’s odd.  I quickly realized I was doing it and was proud of him for not engaging it.  The convo went good, overall.  I talked to his Mama for a bit.  And we eventually got to the text I sent.  But by then, I felt less disconnected.  We talked for three hours or something, which was so nice–since we haven’t talked much lately–and certainly not with any amount of depth.  It was good.  He actually got me laughing–which has been the most impossible thing.  It’s kind of crazy to me that he really doesn’t think I’m irritating when I get in my moods.  He doesn’t judge me for it, just tries to understand mostly.  I was a little demanding and kept pushing him to share things.  By the end of the convo, I sort of learned something.  A big something.  He’s NOT WITHHOLDING things out of spite.  If he doesn’t share, it’s really because he doesn’t know how.  I’m so used to people not sharing things as a way of punishing me, so when he doesn’t, my mind goes to the worst case scenario.  Somehow, him just not knowing how to say something is a lot less aggravating.

So, things are better.  Though I still have no idea how any of this will work.  But I don’t really have to.

I did a lot of stuff today.  Things went spectacularly wrong while I was cleaning, and I found myself covered in some horrible substance.  I ended up in the bathtub for two hours–treated myself to a nice spa night.  I have all these great things, and I never use them.  I realized a big part of why I felt so shitty this week was that I wasn’t taking care of myself.  I’ve been good with the food and even exercise, but not actively containing stress and engaging passions.  It has left me in that depressed state that is so uncomfortable for me.  Now that work is so unfulfilling (hopefully, it changes soon), I need to find other ways to feel good about myself.  Doing my hair and taking time for exfoliation and manicures had this crazy calming effect.  I’m not really a girly girl, but it was so nice to just be relaxed.  (I decided I’m going to grow my hair out to get my natural color a chance to breathe a little and then cut it short and grow it out some more…all in an effort to get back to my natural color after years of dying it.  I miss my old hair.  I could have dyed it a similar color, but I’m just so sick of all the chemicals).

I guess 37 so far feels a lot like getting back to my roots.  Back to the things that make me happy and remind me of who I am.  I’m more concerned with quiet contemplation and figuring out what to keep and what to toss aside than spending time doing other things.  Not being busy at work has actually opened up this side of me, I think.  I’ve gotten a chance to really sort out how I feel about a lot of stuff.  It’s good because I’m usually overwhelmed by the chatter in my head.

I think–right now–my number one priority is about other people.  Maybe that’s why this week has been so hard.  Maybe that’s what I needed to birth.  I’ve spent most of my life in some version of alone.  Part of that was being an introvert.  Part of that was how I was raised.  Part of that was being different and shy–so socially awkward.  Part of it was just not knowing how to connect.  I’m a lot better now, so I connect easily.  The hard part is connecting deeply in ways that are meaningful for me.

I’m just tired of feeling like no one cares.  I’m tired of not being supported.  I’m tired of not doing things because of my own thought patterns.  I can, and have, lived alone for a while–quite well, thanks.  And mostly, I’m not lonely.  But I don’t want to repeat the patterns I inherited.

So, basically, that means I have some work to do with myself.  More work on setting boundaries.  More work on being vulnerable and raising my self-esteem.  Eradicating all those gremlins.  More asking people to be there for me when I need them instead of assuming things and being mad about it.  This all means looking really closely at the people in my life and choosing who to invest in and who to put on the backburner.  It may mean some painful conversations.  It may mean saying sayonara.  It definitely means returning to social networks.  Because I am not a hermit and social is part of life–like it or not.  But I’m going to change how and why I use it–using it to set boundaries and reinforce the good things.  I’m still planning that out.

I also want to start building my support system from scratch.  That means finding kindred spirits and actively cultivating those relationships–by being out there more and hibernating a lot less.  I have to put on pants sometime.

____

All of this, ironically, was sort of spurred by a birthday gift I got–and almost didn’t accept.  (I was mad).  It was an international subscription to Ancestry.com.  I let my account lapse, but I did a lot of research in the past.  This time, I decided I wanted to start a new tree.  I wanted to focus on just one person at a time…gathering everything I could about them–then looking at their relationships.  I started with my dad.

I found new information on him.  Bits and pieces about his service.  Addresses to places he lived here in Denver with my mother.  Where he went after the war.  A hidden marriage.  And a yearbook–with his photo.  One I never saw before.

It made me smile so big–especially when I saw how small he was in high school.  I was proud that the guy in that class photo grew up to be my father–the man I always thought of as impossibly tall.

When I found the secret marriage, I laughed.  Another one!  My God, Daddy.  And then I saw she was alive.  In Missouri.  A grandmother.  And, well, I kind of have to find her.  Any connection to my father is precious.  There are so few of them left, and I’m sure that woman has some stories to tell about my charming father.  Oh, and I have cousins in California.  Real ones–not by marriage ones.  They emailed me long ago, and I just got their messages.

Maybe, one day, family will be more than just something I really miss having.  One can hope.

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