The silence continues…

It has been 3 months since I have heard anything from my immediate family. Nary a text from sisters, nieces or nephew. Radio silence. Not even a short email or text asking for clarification about what happened. It’s almost as if they don’t give a shit! I say that with great sarcasm because…I know they don’t and laughing it off is my coping mechanism.  Ha! Ha! My family is a hateful lot of selfish assholes! So hilarious right? One sister’s emotional outbursts rule the rest of the family.

In this time I have sold my house, planned a move and my dear daughter graduated from high school. The last event they knew about but didn’t acknowledge except for one blurb via social media to my daughter from her cousin.

This is own new life.

A fractured family that no longer cares about our momentous occasions (unless the occasions are their own) and the weight of this realization sits square on mine and my daughter’s shoulders.

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The guilt I feel about offering her such an uncaring family tree is immense and something I think about every day. She has no caring and involved blood relatives left on my side of the family that she can count on for true emotional support. And, to now know that they don’t care about her or her accomplishments breaks my heart. All I can do is reiterate that the failure is theirs and not hers but I know she still feels the sting and my guilt remains.

Believe me, (and this is a Reverie “believe me” not a Trump one) it has been a tempting option to just call and try to smooth things over for my daughter’s sake. But then, I remember that I did that several times before and the shit kept rolling my way. And, I also took into account the respect I earned for not letting those who wish me ill get away with continually heaping verbal abuse upon my head. My daughter’s respect means much more to me than any one-sided, short-lived truce between me and a sister who has made it clear that her true allegiance is with herself, her spouse and her children, and is not shared with me or my daughter.

In the past, if something bad was happening to my younger sister or her family everyone was expected to rally around and offer support, which I did. I helped my nephew get an apartment on his own by acting as the guarantor on his lease since he had no credit and his parents had poor credit. I also helped out twice when he had car issues. Although, the second time I wasn’t quick enough to jump to and got accused of brushing family off to have dinner with friends when in reality I was offering crisis support to a client. I felt no need to explain that to my nephew or my sister at first because it was really none of their business but even if I had the selfish response would have probably been the same.

I forgave that particular outburst and was willing to move on yet the resentment apparently lingered on her part and the emotional imbalance grew. This is very evident in hindsight and I do not foresee receiving a peace offering in the near future…or ever really.

When my sister expressed how much our parents had hurt her and her children, I supported her without hesitation. When our mother chose to send a scathing letter to my siblings in defense of the indefensible abuse we experienced I backed my sister completely. During that time I also expressed to my mother descriptions of the abuse I, myself suffered. I effectively shut the door on any relationship I had left with my parents but did so gladly because it was for the right reason. I was defending her and her family while also standing up for myself.

Do you always have to forgive?

If the tables were turned?

Suck it up! Our problems are more important stupid snowflakes!

This I know and this I accept.

Does it still hurt and do regrets linger? Hell yes! When I think about everything that has transpired over the past few years the tears immediately well up and I get a burning lump stuck in my throat. That is pure pain moving up from my gut to my mouth, ready to burst forth in the loudest fucking scream imaginable. I want to punch things, to kick out and sob until I’m weak. I want to stop feeling it but, I can’t.

Am I angry at my family for what has happened?

I was for a long time.

But now? I am simply sad.

Sad to know that if the silence continues they will not get to know my daughter as an adult. Sad that they will not get to visit me in my new home. Sad that they will not get to experience all the great things my daughter, their niece, and cousin, will accomplish while in college and after. Sad that they will miss weddings, births, birthdays any potential family get-together with us and all for what? Built up envy and resentment disguised as a disagreement online over gun control? Amazing! I know it isn’t just about the latter but it’s amazingly ridiculous nonetheless.

Adult Sibling Estrangement

With all of this…I still hang on to hope. Hope that 3 months will not turn into 3 years and hope that I someday we can all sit down and talk, face-to-face like adults rather than tossing nasty texts and Facebook comments back and forth. To facilitate this I set up parameters that limit my sister’s ability to text me or contact me on social media but email, phone and in person are still options I will permit. Sending a nasty text or leaving a shit comment online are cowardly acts so, I figured, if I take that avenue away then, if the message is important enough, it will get to me.

I hope.

Again, giving it time, giving it space to breathe. It’s all I can do.

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lying Tree…

I do not have a conventional family tree. I have a lying tree.

For as long as I can remember the “facts” behind who my blood relatives really are have been blurred and carefully edited to fit a narrow narrative of acceptability. What will the neighbors think? What will random strangers on the street think? And, finally, what will the people at our church think? That last one always created pause for me since church implies certain moral values and the very act of lying to cover personal embarrassment from fellow churchgoers is ironic and laughably hypocritical.

But, don’t say this to the patriarch and matriarch of this fabricated fable!

In modern times there is this little thing called the internet. On this construct exists a massive online newspaper archive called Newspapers.com ( and I am sure there are many more) where anyone willing to pony up a few bucks a month can search the names of relatives, friends, ex-friends, and ex-lovers to see if they ever “made the news” from the 1700’s to the 2000’s.

On this website, I found out that my paternal grandfather was charged with and eventually found guilty of misappropriation of funds while a Justice of the Peace for Cook County, Illinois in the 1960’s.  He was sentenced to 6 months in county jail and not once, in all the years I have known my mother or father have either said one word about this.  Not surprising really since my mother said once, in church, that my older brother was “away at college” when he was actually in jail.  Being a scofflaw runs in the family you see but, Que sera sera, there is not one thing that can be done about it now. The fibbing branches just keep falling…

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Several years ago, after a few glasses of wine around my younger sister’s kitchen table, my older sister mentioned a conversation she had with our mother that included the words, “That was the time when your grandfather was away in jail.” Wait! What?  “Oh, didn’t I tell you that?” was my mother’s response to my sister’s shocked surprise. No, you sure as hell did not!  Much like the various health conditions relatives had that were not shared with us or the fact that she had been borrowing on life insurance policies our maternal grandmother purchased for us for years without our knowledge. I’m sure there is more but will stop at the tip of the ice burg for now. What they don’t know won’t hurt them right?

THIS is the kind of thing I am talking about here. This is also the kind of thing that the truth-impaired bemoan as  “ancient history” and “what’s in the past is the past” but my argument is that this very shit stabs right at the heart of what is wrong with my family and many others. Lying just for the sake of lying, lying for personal financial gain and finally, lying to save face. Once you have protected your image to the point of alienating and potentially physically harming family it becomes clear what is more important to some people:

Not us. Not me. Not my daughter. Not my partner. Everyone is fair game for an attack apparently. I have the letters, emails, Facebook posts and text messages to prove it.

My family is a sad stomach churning potluck of avoidance, delusion, resentment, and selfishness. And, I too have experienced and participated in all of these things over the years and will make that clear. In order to write this I have to be honest and in order to write this, I also have to shore myself up for any pending attacks on my recollection and character. I have been attacked on both fronts by both my mother and my younger sister so any further vitriol is easy to shrug off. They will do what they do and have always done and I will do the opposite because to do anything else is a sure recipe for self-harm and I’m too old for this shit!

As you, dear reader, peruse this little essay I am sure that there are other eyes scanning as well. Eyes that are looking for any mention of them, any mention of blame, any mention at all. Hello! Despite our falling out, I am glad you are here and I am even gladder that you might be reading my words. Take them in. Mull them over for a bit before responding and, might I add, before firing off in a flash of keyboard courage consider picking up the phone to address any grievances with me personally. I will take your call and I will listen to what you have to say. I may hang up without saying more than an initial “hello” but I will listen none the less.

So, for the foreseeable future, I will be HONEST. Everything I write about will involve confession, confrontation and, finally the search for redemption. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to be redeemed in my family’s eyes but in my own. I am looking for peace, nothing more and nothing less.

Stick with me on this journey okay? I might need a cheering section when the wolves arrive…

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Willfully Ignorant or Ignorantly Willful?

What keeps us in the dark? Do we choose to stay uninformed because it seems safer or do we actively seek out flawed information to feed our own biases? Does being viewed as “right” matter more than actually being factually correct? I have many questions about this because I have seen the avalanche of scorn heaped upon the supposed “educated elite” by self-labeled conservatives or evangelicals and the snarky ridicule launched back in retaliation by those of a more liberal or progressive mindset.

I, myself have been insulted by family members who see me as “putting on airs” just because I have a college degree. I know they are lashing out in reaction to their own insecurities and not because of anything I have said. Not once have I said anything to them about this topic but it still doesn’t surprise me to have venom directed my way in the form of  “I may not be college educated” passive-aggressive comments. I never had to say anything to trigger this response. It was bound to happen because I chose to take advantage of an opportunity that was offered to me but not them. Simple as that.

The words “ignorant” and “arrogant” are bandied about as the ultimate politically charged insults to throw during an argument that isn’t going as planned but I like to think of both as a temporary state.  Everyone is ignorant or lacking knowledge or awareness in one way or another. There is not a single person on this grand green Earth that knows everything so let us all get past this point right now, shall we? The purpose of education is to fill in the gaps and improve our reasoning skills and worldview.

So, what makes the state of being uninformed attractive? If it is purposeful…what happened to make this route a reasonable one to take?  Who or what shaped your views on higher education? Was is a religious, socio-economic or maybe even a political influence that acted as the guiding force? Or, was it just a simple lack of desire to learn new information? It’s okay to admit to feeling lazy! It’s also okay to consider that maybe learning about boring things isn’t for everyone and seeking out subjects that spark imagination might be a better option. The great thing about learning is that there is a little something for everyone. Gasp! EVERYONE???? Yes, everyone.

Willful Ignorance and Self-Deception

Choosing to stay unaware and unconnected both helps and hinders, that is a fact, so which side of the equation are you on? We may not be immediately hurt by the information we don’t know (ignorance is bliss) but eventually not knowing certain things can impact our future earning capacity and, more importantly, it can impact how we see the world around us or even our mental health. If our worldview is negative then odds are great that our ability to function positively within said world will be impacted negatively and, to some, the only way around this would be to isolate. Choosing to let fear act as the decision maker is sometimes easier than actually plodding forward and stepping outside of the comfort zone. After years of this, though, that zone gets smaller and smaller.

Why people choose to isolate…

Sadly, the need to pay bills, access food and just generally be outside kind of prohibits the hermit lifestyle for me because I like being around others once in a while and would go stir crazy in the company of one. Experiencing everything the world around me has to offer, good or bad, is too tempting to turn down and…IT IS A FREE EDUCATION! FREE!!! For every shitty life event I have endured, 1,000 positive lessons have been born. And, being able to relay these life lessons to others not only helps me cope…it helps others feel less alone, less odd, less angry, less sad. We suffer, we take notice and do things differently moving forward and then, we LEARN. What is so bad about that?

Free Online Education Options…Yes, FREE!

Nothing is bad about that.

It is FEAR that prompts attacks on sense, sensibility, and empathy. Caring about and taking care of others doesn’t fill the bank accounts of the green addicted. And, THAT is what all of this push to keep people uneducated is about. If those in power can keep you fearful, if they can play to your insecurities, then you will not question their nasty words and deeds. Looking the other way should be a new resume “skill” apparently because I see a lot of folks who excel at that. “If I don’t see it myself or experience what you have then it doesn’t matter and deserves no attention!”

Yeah, keep telling yourself that Sunshine. Eventually, we all get kicked in the ass by those in “power”, or those wishing to obtain power. And, the best way to protect ourselves is to EDUCATE ourselves!!!!!!

Can’t say that enough. EDUCATE, CHECK FACTS, LEARN FROM OTHERS, STOP CHOOSING TO BE IGNORANT.

Peace,

Reverie

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The fluidity of change…

Everyone has the capacity to change. Everyone has the inherent will to do better. It’s the motivation factor that trips us all up.

Do I really want to change or am I just saying this because its what people want to hear?

I’m sorry.

I won’t do that again.

I learned my lesson.

Mere words. Without conviction, determination, and drive, these words, hammered into the human engine compartment are meaningless and just fill uncomfortable silences.

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Meaningless words fill our heads all the time. Okay, that was an awkward moment…what can I say to ease the tension? What trite quip can I toss out to bridge the gap? Sometimes, it’s better to suffer the silence, to feast on the uncertainty until our bellies ache and we are forced to seek relief.

And now, we get to the CHANGE chapter in life.

What I Have Learned From My Mistakes…

Am I going to invest all I have in changing my habitual patterns? Am I going to live up to my mantra of Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say?  Honestly, I am trying. It’s hard. I absolutely want to view change as a river that flows from my heart to my brain and out through my feet and hands with the kindest of intentions. I want that!

When I was a child I remember my father saying something to the effect of: “I don’t make mistakes. Everything I’ve done, I meant to do it so it wasn’t a mistake.” And, at the time, I thought it was just his way of getting around having to say he was sorry for being abusive but now I see that he truly thought he was right and everyone else was wrong. Changing anything about himself was never a consideration. To my father, “change” was for the weak, the godless, the ignorant.  Now, I realize I was none of those things and he feared the day when I would come to this conclusion and rise up. And, rise up I did.

Why People Have Such A Hard Time Changing

Whats so awful about change anyway? Why is it so maligned, so rejected, so ridiculed?

In thinking back, I can now see a clear picture of how I have always been seeking change.  I wanted to change my home life, my parents, my relationship with my siblings, my looks, my way of thinking…change it all! If I could just change then maybe those beating me down would finally love me. God, how pathetic right? Except, that version of “change” was not realistic because I was seeking to change into a person that I thought these other unchangeables wanted me to be. In hindsight, I suppose I was really just looking for approval and never needed to change for these people at all. Truth right there!

Today, I view true CHANGE as a breath of fresh air, a new way of looking at life and not negative at all. It IS fluid and it does move and bend and grow with time, just like me. I am working on moving the obstacles out of my path, releasing the barriers that have kept me stuck in the past. I am also working on a new mantra because saying what I mean and meaning what I say is no longer effective. Now…..

Everything will work out to my advantage…

Everything will work out to my advantage…

Everything will work out to my advantage…

It will because I deserve this, I earned it and I worked hard for the life of purpose that I am living now. No one can take it away from me.

Love, Light, and Peace

Reverie

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.