I generally keep my mouth shut on personal, family, and real-life matters. But you know what? I’m done being silent. There are always two sides to every coin, and every story. I know that. So you don’t have to believe my side. However, it is what it is.
I always see this sign floating around about removing toxic people from your life, and not apologizing for it. Not allowing yourself to feel guilty about it. I agree wholeheartedly. This goes for social media as well – don’t ever feel guilty about blocking someone. To this day – I’ve only blocked two people from my social media sites, and I don’t feel bad at all – neither should you. This will be another post later, I think.
A long time ago, let’s see… wow, it’s been twelve years, I gave up on my father’s side of the family. Rather, they gave up on me. My grandmother started ignoring me when I turned seventeen, I still have no idea why after she gave me a mickey mouse coat for Christmas she stopped talking to me, but then when my step-grandfather died, she became a bitter, bitter, woman.
The whole family chain smokes. Now, to each their own, but don’t expect me to come visit your house and breathe shitty air. They’ve lived in the same house for 30 years. The smoke is embedded in every surface. So no, thank you. I don’t enjoy leaving a smokers house having to take a shower as soon as I get home, and wash my clothes. They like to use this as an excuse, “Well, Erika won’t bring her kids here. She’s too good for us.” You know what? If putting my children’s health above your snotty attitude makes you feel better and righteous in your hatred of me – then so be it. I made my peace a long time ago. My kids are pretty awesome, and you’re missing out.
For proof of awesomeness – Has your child ever drawn you a vampire penis? I think not! (This is tongue in cheek – people. Although, you gotta admit, it does look like a vampire penis, not a cat )
I think I can count on one hand how many times my dad’s side of the family has seen all of my kids combined. (Remember, I have four children 3,5,7,9)
Anyway. I’m getting ahead of myself. I plan on sharing this one story with y’all. We took a family trip once to visit my dad’s father down in Florida. So my father, grandmother, one of my dad’s sisters, her husband and kids, my mom, my brother, myself and my (then) fiance flew down.
Enter the alcoholic side of the family. What great role models my dad had growing up :shakes head sadly: Both my Grandparents have some pretty scary skeletons in their closets. They have no idea what I know.
I grew up the child of an alcoholic. I know, boo hoo right? I won’t lie – wondering whether your dad was coming home at night was taxing, but It’s okay. I’m fucked up from many things, not just the booze part. I know too much, I’ve witnessed to much. I was never allowed to be a child, the list goes on. Maybe another story later. Moving on.
So, we get down there, everyone is shit faced, and I’m in the bathroom facing the outside patio windows. I hear my grandmother and my grandfather talking about ME, and my mom. Now my parents have been together since they were fourteen. Had their life been a picnic? Hell no. But you know what? I was a great kid. Polite, quiet, smart, athletic, and I was pretty nice too. I’m not tooting my own horn, either. I don’t have a big head, I’m just talking truth.
Did I fuck up sometimes? Of course! I stole a car when I was 15 (It’s actually a really funny story, I swear) I smoked a lot of weed for a while, took LSD a few times, ate some mushrooms (once), and rode on the roof of a car holding onto the antenna on a crazy cliff stoned off my ass thinking the antenna would keep me safe. I’m not perfect.
I’ve made mistakes. So many mistakes.
My mom is amazing – but she’s not perfect either. She’s amazing to put up with what she’s put up with for over thirty years, though. As far as I’m concerned the woman deserves a medal, but not to *them* So to actually hear my grandmother say she didn’t like me, and that she knew I was going to grow up to be ‘ just like her momma’ really hurt. Not because of the sentiment, because quite frankly, I am like my mom, and that is a fucking great thing. If I was like my father… well. He isn’t a saint, that’s for damn sure. Although the pedestal his family has him on is mighty high… Just sayin’.
In fact – I haven’t talked to him since Christmas – Have you seen him? Maybe I should put up fliers with his picture on them. Perhaps you can send him my way to say hello. He hasn’t visited his grand-kids in six months, and before then? Last July. So, to re-cap he’s seen them twice in a year. He lives twenty minutes away – there is no excuse. He and I are strained at best. He’s my dad, and he’s one of only a few who can make me cry.
Back to the toxic family. They don’t like me because I’m different. I don’t smoke, gamble, piss vinegar, and spread my bitter misery to the rest of the world like some new found delicious plague. My husband and I work hard, save our money, grow healthy food, raise chickens, and live on a farm.
Generally speaking though, I was pretty happy, despite how I grew up. Do you think my smile made them hate me? :ponders: I suppose it’s possible. Anyway, I’m rambling.
Every time I’d visit them when I was younger, I always left feeling sad, depressed, miserable and lonely. As if they sucked all my happy thoughts out of my mind like the dementors of Azkaban. Interesting thought, I wonder if my grandmother is the spawn of Bellatrix Lestrange. Hmm.
They might also be the dark empaths I write about in Duality, you’ll have to decide for yourself. The ones who feed on the happiness of others and wreak havoc on lives just because they can.
I never felt part of the family, or accepted, despite their blood running in my veins. They dote on my younger brother though. I suspect it’s because he looks like my dad. But probably more because he has a penis, and my grandmother hates women. Well, I suspect she hates men too, she had to get her manipulative flair from somewhere. The kind of head games the woman can play would make even the most manipulating of woman take notes.
Of course Pandora from Duality would have learned from a master…
Want to know a secret? Of course you do. Everyone loves secrets. I have a ‘potential’ half- sister. Now, this is some Jerry Springer shit so I’ll give you the short version. I grew up around this girl – her mom and my parents were pretty good friends growing up. Never did she mention to either of my parents that my dad might be the girls father as well. Not until the girl was 19, pregnant and crying in the hospital room that she didn’t know her daddy. Oh, and for some more sordidness, her and my younger brother are the same age – just a few months apart… yep.
The painful part is they accept her – and not me. She runs out on her kids (three of them, now with different dads), parties, leaves for weeks at a time hoping someone has her children, and they talk about her like she’s the prodigal daughter returned. Perhaps she is.
At one point, I decided I didn’t need them in my life. I was sick of being sad they never came to see me or my kids, their nieces and nephews, her real grand-kids. They (none of them, my grandmother, two aunts or uncle) make an effort to be a part of my family, so I cut them off. Why should I be upset all the time wondering what I did wrong? Why don’t they love me? Why am I not good enough? I stopped extending the olive branch and a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.
Now I don’t think about them. I don’t call them. I don’t worry about them. To be honest – I don’t care about them. I did once. I cared too much and I got my heart stomped on, shredded and spit out. This was my family – they were supposed to love and nurture me. Not reject and abandon me. Not teach me at such a young age that you can’t depend on anyone, not even your own blood.
Okay, so I might still be a bit upset. Don’t hate me. Sigh. Writing is cathartic.
I could go on and on – but the larger point of this story is to say something. I wrote Duality (Cordelia Kelly #1) with many grains of truth. The villains are taken right from my own personal life – I hope you enjoy it.
One of the questions writers always get asked is “Where do you get your ideas from?” Well, I pluck them straight from my life and turn them into characters. There is a reason why when you pick up one of my books you’ll think to yourself, “Wow, this is so realistic and believable.” Chances are – what you’re reading really happened.
I hope my family doesn’t choke on the words. Or ostracize me…Oh No! The horror! Oh, wait – they already did that, so I have nothing left to loose.
Oh, and by the way – My parents are finally getting divorced. Hallefuckinglujah.
Can you relate?