When’s the last time you took off for the airport after paying full price for a last minute plane ticket to nurse someone who fell and broke three ribs and then got accused of being a fraud for doing it? Anyone? Anyone? This just after spending two days at a hospital in Seattle to support a friend having cancer surgery.
I’m sure it’s not just me. Helping out when I can is just what I do, what I’ve always done. If someone in my family or close circle needs help, I will do what I can. What was unusual was being back in LA, (yuck!) and having to deal with stressed and judgemental siblings. Just me still? Read on, I’m willing to bet there’s not one person out there with a family who says they’ve never had at the least a quick run in with siblings if not decades long resentments.
If it’s only me, then I’m just lucky I guess. I don’t mean this to be family bashing, all of my family, like everyone’s, has their good and bad moments, but as we age we become who we really are. In the case of siblings, this means challenging the roles we were assigned by our parents and others early in life.
My brother was the artistic, sensitive, self-contained one. My next sister was the reliable, underachiever, my youngest sister was the pampered one, and I was the fuck up. I’m the crazy the one, the drug addict, the wild child, the two time divorcee, so when my sister screamed at me that I never take responsibility for my actions I had to ask her to be a little more specific.
“You mean my drug abuse? My divorces? My flying off with an Arab prince on his 747 while he went to dinner with President Bush and I bought cocaine from the secret service agent posing as our driver while Princey was at the white house? Your gonna’ need to narrow that shit down.”
Crazy adventures and my zig-zag quest for happiness aside, my point is that other people’s behavior and anger really isn’t about me. If you are bringing up stuff that is 3 decades old to condemn me forever while claiming that the only reason I ever do anything is to be a martyr, you’d better be ready to back that shit up, or better yet, face up to why you’re hanging on to yesterday’s emotional garbage. It’s easier if I’m responsible for your discontent than if you have to deal with your own anger and rage. I know, because I’ve been there. But news flash, it does not exonerate you, only buries it deeper.
The problem was that I had to be in my sister’s house to care for my mom. This sister has major issues with my mom, (not as major as mine but it’s not a competition!) She didn’t want my mom with her in the first place, and only consented to have her there when first my daughter offered to drive down from Santa Cruz, pick Teddie up at the hospital and then nurse her 24 hours a day until I could get there from WA. So when she started screaming that ol’ chestnut at me, “You come in MY house and…” I quietly said, “I’m leaving your house,” but did not say it was not a pleasure to be there and I had done everything I could to take care of my mom somewhere else. By then, two weeks after the fall, Teddi was able to stand and move well by herself, so it was safe for me to go.
There’s a lot more to this, but the point of this blog to is talk about what we sometimes don’t say. The quieter route of letting the explosion go off and merely ducking from the shrapnel, maybe taking a few minor hits, and then retreating while the drop zone area burns itself off. First you face the hits, feel the pain, work on healing, then you watch while the bullets aimed at you fester elsewhere.
Reminds me of when my ex sued to stop paying child support for the last year after he quit his job. This while I’m the only one of use paying for college. I still have one daughter with two years left at University and he still hasn’t contributed a dime. His wife followed me into the bathroom at the courthouse to mock me in baby talk, what was there to do but laugh? The way some people behave is so crazy, no one would believe it if I put it in a movie. She followed that kindergarten act up with shouting out things from the gallery during the hearing until the bailiff had to order her to be quiet. I kept my tongue then too, but it was hard not to laugh. I mean, it was hysterical!!
(Side note: only lawyers win in custody/support battles, and if you have aging parents, get that shit together now!)
Meanwhile, back in Northridge, it was hot and hazy and dusty, all artificially watered to look like it’s not actually the desert it is. It was exactly the kind of winter weather I ran from when I was finally able to move north. The moisture feeds me, it rains between glorious bouts of sunshine here and I can not stop smiling. In LA I felt withered and stretched beyond my elasticity, here, in my home on Puget Sound, I am nurtured, drenched, plumped and vitalized by every drop from the sky.
I suppose my point here, aside from a bit of healthy venting, is simply this—I have been through so much shit in my life, I have faced so much resentment, meanness, judgement, condemnation, and downright vicious envy that I have leaned to let it slough away. It will always be something, bring it. What can I do but stand tall, do the best I can for everyone involved, and go right on being happy?
Because I will not stop trying to help. I won’t live a life without standing up to people and brazening through bullshit. The option is to avoid confrontation, run from emotion, and live a fizzled out life in mid-nothingness. A little less pain would be great, but I wouldn’t give up the experiences I’ve had and the person I’ve become just to keep my head down and feel less. Not this crazy bitch.
Except for brief visits with friends, I hated being in LA. I hated the ruthless sunshine that bakes the life out of everything. I couldn’t wait to get back to moisture and seasons and quiet, to a place where I’m loved beyond all others.
My husband met me at baggage claim on my return with roses, he lifted me into a hug and held me tightly for a long moment, the feel and scent of him filled me with all the reassurance a good relationship can give. I came home to clean house, champagne, my laundry done and put away, and cats to warm my lap and purr my tension away.
It comes down to this. I will stand up to bullies, I will try to take some of others’ burdens onto myself, I will take the rain, both as pain and weather, and revel in it. It will make me richer, fuller, slipperier, and far more fertile, both in imagination and experience. Life isn’t only happy holidays and everyone droning the correct platitudes.
Life is messy, ironic, shocking, exhilarating, and painful.
You can try to live only in sunshine, but you can’t stop the rain.
So close your umbrella and get soaking wet.
Embrace the pain a little.
Live a lot.
Shari, February 7th, 2020
8 thoughts on “I’ll Take the Rain”
Well according to what I read your ex is worth.12 milion! He sounds like a real tool! I SO get the family thing and the ex thing. Smile pretty lady! 💕💕
And yet, to hear him in court, you would think he was on his last dime, which he was when I met him, btw. I had to buy him toilet paper. Still waiting for him to thank me for having the girls. But I’m so happy now that it really doesn’t matter, I was just using that as an example of keeping my mouth shut when to open it would have been to take someone’s head off. It’s too easy and never helps. Big hug.
I felt every word of that…..but I’m a believer in boundaries and limits. I do not have any relationship with my birth mother or my older half-brother aka The Bastard. Some people just aren’t worth the time it takes to say “Go fuck yourself”. Sometimes sheer silence speaks quite loudly…..but perhaps you are a better person then me,Shari.
But I loved how you ended this….surrounded by a loving husband and CATS!!!
Don’t cats make our world a better place??
100%. And no way am I a better person than anyone, I can only give so much and I prefer what energy I give to be as positive as possible. But i soooo get you!
I am so sorry for your ordeal. My sister and I use to get into it because she always thought she did more for our mother than I did. Our mother lives in asst. living. She’s the executor of my mother’s will, duh! I still do a lot for our mother like her laundry and changing her cat’s pan and running a few errands for her. Anyway we got past the pettiness and started being sisters again. We still vent every now and then, but we get over it. It’s work, but we seem to manage it okay. We haven’t had a fight in a looooong time. My 40 year old son just had open heart surgery after an infection settled in his heart. He’s doing well and my sister was right there with me. That’s the way it should be and I pray you and your family can work all of this out. Godsped to you.
Did I tell you about the time my baby sister sued me over my mother’s will? She put me thru hell. Murdered my kitten. She denies it but I know she did. Then when my other sister Darleen lost her leg and came to live with me, I took care of her just as I did our mother. Darleen died in 2016. I was beneficiary. This angered my baby sister. She told relatives and whoever else who listened lies, trying to tarnish my image. There is seven years between us. I went away to college when she was 10. Then on to another state to teach. I only saw my family a few times over the years. We were not close.
After many years I retired back home. She was resentful of the relationship I had with Mama. She tried to treat me like an outsider.
Now we are the only two left out of six kids. She still acts like a spoiled brat and I feel too old to make the effort to make amends.
Perhaps not too old, but too wise. There comes a point where you have to weigh the effort you give with the strength you have, and banding your head against brick isn’t very productive. I’m sorry about all that girl, you are a wonderful, giving woman, thank you for all your support of me and everyone else who knows who you truly are. Love.
I hear ya! Have absolutely NO relationship with my sister who is 5 years older. She is bipolar and I will never be screamed at for an hour again like she did one afternoon in my house so close to my face I could feel her breath. Will never be abused like that ever again even while she tries to suck up Thru my daughter!