Monday, December 1, 2014

Your duty as a Civilized person


I had a horrible thanksgiving. It was to be expected. All my thanksgivings spent with my mother's family are horrible. I'm not exaggerating. There is something about thanksgiving that brings out the worst in my family. This is when I find out things like someone isn't someone's father. Or another person is in jail or has extra children or raped someone. The difference between this one and all the previous thanksgivings was that I was the center of the dysfunction. I'm very good at staying out of the drama. But I suppose it was my turn.

Here is what happened....
When I arrived to my mother's home at 1:45 pm, I found that the assembly there had already eaten. Not just eaten, but had seconds, had finished their desserts and were washing dishes. There was no chair set to the table for me. It was like I wasn't invited. I'm not one to hold my tongue so I asked, “Why did you eat without me?” the answer received... and received repeatedly... was, “There is a plate in the refrigerator for you.” WTF??? I wanted to flip the table Theresa Guidice style but I waited. I waited to see how long folks were staying. Maybe they had someplace to go and that's why they ate at noon. Nope. Folks sat and talked until 3:30 pm before they started to leave. I prepared to leave too. And they all seemed surprised. I live in a different state and I normally stay the weekend with my mother. I informed them that I came fr the celebration and since I wasn't invited to share their thanksgiving, I wasn't staying. That's when the drama started. I was called everything but a child of God.

Here are the externals (shit that everyone else said).... (1) Folks did not understand why I didn't come Wednesday. I never said that I was coming on Wednesday. Mother and I have a complicated relationship (more on that later) and I strive to spend as little time with her as possible. I do community service 3 times a year: mother's day, her birthday and 1 winter holiday. I would never have agreed to get there on Wednesday. Also... and what specifically makes my point... I worked on Wednesday. I didn't get off work until 5:30pm. It is a 4 hour drive to her home. I'm always concerned about my personal safety and wouldn't attempt a solo drive all late like that. (2) Folks didn't understand why I got there late. Well... no one communicated to me that dinner was to be served at noon. My mother likes to eat early but that time has always been 2:00. 12:00 is new. And lets be real... Who the hell eats Thanksgiving dinner at noon? That's lunch and not dinner

Now for the internals (my issues here).... I live in Atlanta. My exit on I20 is exit 51. that means I live 51 miles from Alabama. And Alabama is in a different time zone. It takes 2.5 hours to drive to the SC line. I live 4 hours from my mother's home. 4 hours! I am the one who has to travel the furthest, but they couldn't wait? And they knew I was on the way. My mother called at noon and we spoke. I told her where I was. It was raining in Atlanta when I left and hella windy. I almost lost control of my Jeep no less than 4 times.

The argument that “there was food for me to eat” was pure bullshit. That was all everyone kept saying. I let those people know that I eat every day. I have food at home and had food in the car. Every restaurant I passed was open fast or otherwise. I didn't need whatever foolishness was put on that plate to eat. There are 363 other days of the year and I eat all those days. The 7 doesn't do my family for the same reasons I don't want to do my family; They don't respect me. So since he didn't go... and told me he wasn't going... I prepared a thanksgiving meal for him. Hell I even had turkey giblets for the cat. There was all kinds of food for me to “eat” at home. Thanksgiving is about sharing social equality via a meal with the people you love. Apparently, I didn't make their list.

So why the post? It's not just about airing my family business online. As I was preaching to these jokers... I used their Bible's verses... their other argument (that didn't include food) was “that is between you and your mama.” No, it isn't. Not one of those people said “let's wait for Angel. She is driving from so far.” (And Angel is a family nickname and not my given.) If someone at the table just refused to eat, my mother would have waited. I hold everyone who ate there culpable as per Ezekiel 3:18. My mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I'm not making that up she has been diagnosed. I'm the scapegoat so I get that she will never treat me well. I accepted that a long time ago. Support groups were helpful for dealing with, strategizing and managing my mother since I choose to continue to have a relationship with her. That's why I don't feel bad about doing the bare minimum when it comes to my mother. But the people there just allowing her to marginalize me is wrong.

I'm quite sure she told them some lies. She lies on me for the bad all the time. (She lies on my brother for the good) what kills me is that folks believe her lies. I suppose folks don't think a mother would tell such blatant and ridiculous lies on their child but it happens. Grad school was the good old days of student loan disbursements. I would get enough money per semester to pay all my bills. I'd be “hood rich” at the beginning of the semester and starving student at the end. My mother being unfamiliar with the process told her friends that I was prostituting myself for the money. Even thinking back on it now I can't believe a mother would insinuate such things. People must have believed it because folks whispered and some outright refused to sit next to me in church. I have never worked in the sex industry EVER. Word got back to my father and he hit the roof. Of course he came at me first, because why would my mother lie like that. Then he went to my mother who just laughed it off. She said I had money she couldn't account for and made an assumption, but it was a joke. (a) Why does she need to be accounting for MY money? And (b) why didn't she just ask where I got it from? I'd never witnessed that kind of anger in my father toward my mother. He went apeshit and threatened her life. After that he gave me $500/month until I graduated. He almost bought me a condo, but my mother talked him out of it. Years later, he said that she used to lie on him for no reason and it burned him inside to think that she could do that to her own daughter.

My mother has friends who close to her like sisters. They all want to see me now... I don't know why... they want updates of my life they want to be as involved with me as they had been when I was a child. But I cut them off. Completely off. My mother was mentally, physically and emotionally abusive to me as a child and they witnessed it and did nothing. I cannot care about them at this juncture. They claim it hurts their feelings, but again.... I was hurt and they stood by and did nothing. My godmother feels particular about this, but she was the closest to my mother and still did nothing. Where was my village?

I have scars on my left cheek and leg from where my mother cut me with a knife. I have a scar next to my left eye, where my brother hit me with a phone in a drunken rage and my mother refused to take me to the hospital because she feared what would happen to my brother. I have a palpable dent in my head. You can see it on an x-ray.

I'm not saying this to be all poor-is-me. I despise that in people and especially myself. This treatment at the hands of a person charged to love and protect me put real steel.... no adamantium.. in my back. Folks tell me I'm hard. I had to be and I don't see that changing.

So I said all this to say.... If you witness mistreatment of the people in your cipher... and you do nothing … say nothing... don't intervene.... feel like it's not your business. You are wrong and deserve to be punished with a severe punishment.