Today, while sweet Greg is out riding, for exercise, I am reaching out to survivors of abuse, anyone in recovery, and my fellow introverts. You are my people, my tribe and Special Days can be grim for US.
A lil vexed, as my sister continues to establish and nurture relations with my ex and his family. Perhaps less objectionable if any connection at all had existed prior to our divorce. In more wholesome families, even historical relations with prior in-laws would be set aside. I speculate my sister will wish to perform a “family” dinner for my ex, his father and my boys this weekend- featuring her demonstrations of grace and hospitality- proof that she is the good one, cloaked in all white with her stiff and practiced smile. (barfing emoji here) The antics are an unpleasant fact, not a problem. Clearly, I am not yet in acceptance of this shit-show circus. Her investment in these alliances which, for obvious reasons, creates unnecessary conflict between my ex and me (miraculous survivors of hellish marriage and divorce-who worked miracles), intensify our struggle to coparent cohesively for our sons. This is unkind and a disservice to our children. My request to “Please Stop” has been found laughable.
More evolved souls, would spare children. Having divorced parents is challenge enough. My sons share that it does not “feel nice” but uncomfortable. They sense how the gatherings favor Jilan’s (Jilan: the name she used for her first 16 years, I love it!) unwholesome interest in my ex husband. As good for his ego as for hers, my ex obliges…. If this were a live conversation, my family would eagerly point out my anger, as evidence of my defectiveness, to deflect attention away from their own divisive behaviors …to shame and silence me to inspire hysteria as proof that I am insane, overly sensitive, and the cause for their behaviors. Hell yeh, I am angry AF ! And, at times, my old reactions to pain served only to substantiate for them, their exploitations. See, I am new to the practice of handling feelings appropriately. I am a work in progress.
The real kicker of my female sibling’s righteous wrangling of my children via their Dad: Ten years ago, my older son and I travelled for family therapy sessions to work with a therapist whom my mother and sister had already front loaded with their positions about me. Oh okay.. The meetings were directed at helping us to all confirm me, as our sole problem. Anyway, nursing a 10 month old and 10 weeks pregnant, hormonal, and beyond stressed by the occasion, I miscarried at that time.
Overwhelmed and craving safety, I was disinterested in trick or treating with my sister’s family immediately following our debacle of therapy and my bleeding. My mother and sister expressed collective outrage when I declined THEIR invite. I was effing miscarrying, being scapegoated and it was my son’s first Halloween. So, being wth THEM didn’t seem sane or safe. Two months later my sister sent a Trojan Horse birthday gift to my son containing a computer generated note (not hand written) to me declaring that “Until we could all be together as a family, she would prefer I not communicate with her daughter(age 10 at the time) via email anymore.” Then, she followed up with an email from her daughter’s email posing as her daughter or dictating to her daughter that we would not be communicating further. Who does this? Jilan fucken Ghoneim or Catherine Whitney. So sad to have our little relationship snatched as a consequence for my non-compliance. And– here we are again 10 years later. Same shit all because I said NO. My sister patrolled contact with her now grown daughters while wrangling and trying to woo my sons via their dad, although WE are in a state of not talking. Yes, this makes me sad and angry. I have feelings, messy ones.
OK-back to Father’s Day-
Nineteen years old and totally lost AF (no clear sense of roots, wings, or direction—just AWAY, fast and RFN, please), the last time I saw my dad was for an unfortunate Father’s Day lunch in which we battled mostly over who was a bigger asshole. My mother’s tie breaker vote declared me the winner. He sent me a handwritten apology one week later, which I have managed to keep with me for three decades.
His health was in trouble, I guess he wanted to express some good things to me while he still could. He died a several weeks later. I wept, a lot…not because he was gone, but because the gatherings for his death illuminated for me how disconnected I was from myself, my family, my community of very white Christian people. My mother was refused by a few local churches to have his service in their sanctuaries. Because of his/OUR Middle Eastern heritage and practices, some said NO. I felt as connected at home as I did in our community.
I recall little about my dad. As a small child, I often eagerly awaited his return from work with smiles, candy (Brach’s sourballs) and random treats from the canteen at the VA Hospital, where he worked. So strange to acknowledge that I hated and feared him and recall missing him terribly when he was gone and fluctuated between waiting at the door for him and dreading hearing his Ford Fiesta roll up. Whatever that is, that is how I learned to feel about most people, to whom I attempted to be close. He and mother fought continually. And while I hated him for being Egyptian and different from the rest of the world around me, I loathed her more. The two of them were terrifying when they fought and more so as a team. Their energy left no safe space for a child like myself; highly strung with sensory issues and prone to emotional expression, deeply affected by the energy of others.
Father’s Day ramblings…
To all those with pain, emptiness, fear, unresolved anger. Feel your feelings. We can’t heal what we don’t feel. Healing is wholesome and badass and we cannot do it alone, and there are those who are incapable to do it AT all. We are the blessed ones!!!. Forget anyone saying otherwise. Let’s make the best of this day. It is just Sunday. ODAAT. It is another day to heal and grow. Thank good God!
As my mother said while denying my request to PLEASE stop “I wish you well” from behind her closing door which she promptly locked behind me, for what is surely our last visit on this earth. My boys like to kiss me goodbye in the morning or before bed and say “I wish you well.” Laughing at the messiness of our feelings is part of how we heal in our home.Much Love,
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