I try so hard to see the positive attributes in people. I try even when people are the worst.
This past Christmas I dutifully sent out cards and gifts to people that I thought needed to be shown a sign that they are still loved despite the nasty blow-ups of 2018. Some may assume I send gifts to these people who rarely give me the time of day, unless they need something, as a way to curry favor or manipulate.
I do it because I’m not an asshole.
The gratitude I feel because of the fortunate breaks I have received in my life is what fuels me to reach out even when I’m being slapped away. It makes me want to continue trying even though I know I am being vilified and discussed in a negative and inaccurate manner.
It’s okay. My soul will stay intact should the world blow up tomorrow. And yet, I will still hope they see the light before the big BOOM! It is how I was made, although I’m not certain how that particular personality quirk came about given the fucked up DNA that produced me.
The Universe is a curious place, with a wickedly cruel sense of humor it seems but I don’t spend a lot of time pondering why I am the way I am and my family is the way they are. They just are. I can hazard a guess as to why they react and strike out and rant and rave the way they do but it would fall on deaf ears because those who seek to tear down others invest no time in self-reflection.
Speaking of self-reflection and insight and personal evaluation, all of which I work on daily, I’d like to reiterate that not once have I ever crowned myself Queen Perfect. Nor have I ever reduced anyone to the level of an utter fuck-up. Even my ex-husband and ex-in-laws get good wishes from me because if they fail in life it not only impacts them, it impacts my daughter because her DNA is forever tied to them as well.
I try to express gratitude every chance I get and have found that the best time to do it is right after the feelings of being slighted creep in. Honesty urges me to state that it is very hurtful when my daughter gets ignored by all of her maternal relatives except one.
Honesty pushes me to admit that I feel the sting of disappointment when, after taking the time to send a card, money or whatever I get a short text thanking me for the card but then don’t hear from the recipient again until the next gift-giving cycle. There are those who think I should stop sending cards and stop sending money since no meaningful contact has been made in nearly a year. Not for any graduations, birthdays or Christmas.
Should I show these unresponsive takers the same lack of consideration they show me? I don’t know if I can do that. Not the way I was made…remember? But, I do know that something has to give soon because the day may come when I realize that the best way to show gratitude is to start being good to myself and let go of those who find it perfectly okay to hurt, ignore and use others.
I’m not there yet. I still want to continue trying but in the meantime, I will cultivate and feel gratitude for the growing relationship I do have with one, singular sibling. I have not always been fair to her over the years and have not kept in touch like I should. I am working on changing that because I am grateful for her and my brother-in-law. Aside from my daughter and amazing partner and dear friends, they are all the actual family I have left.
© 2019 L.A. Askew
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