I’ve been trying to be positive upon waking lately. Self affirmations and telling myself positive things when I first wake up. Before I even open my eyes. Thing is, self doubt and giving in to it is a hard habit to break when you’ve done it most of your life. I don’t know how long I’ve been putting myself down, but I know it’s been a very long time. I’m sure there were times in my childhood when I didn’t wake up thinking I was a failure. I can’t remember those times though. Why? Repressed memories of sexual abuse as a young girl? Blocking out painful memories of things seen that can’t be un-seen? I don’t know. I may never know. The point is, I’m trying to come out of that negative cycle as I approach my thirty-sixth birthday.
Thirty-six. Wow. The time in a woman’s life when she is in her prime.
I glance over at a tattered piece of notebook paper that hangs haphazardly on one of my shelves. The words scribbled on it read, ” Forget what others think about your body. Live in the here and now. Not the in between. I am beautiful. I am Misty.”
I read these words and they help for a split second and then my gaze falls to a picture of a man with a white beard, suit on and smiling crookedly. Kind eyes, but skeptical. That was my dad. Always pessimistic about life. We would have debates for hours about how he should be happier. Trust more people. “There is good in the world daddy,” I’d plead with him. Especially after having my son. I mean how could I be blessed to have a child and there not be good in the world? He’d quietly tell me, “You can’t trust anyone Misty as far as you can throw them. Except your family.” Ha!
Next my sleepy eyes rest on a picture of a smiling woman in black and white. I know her name but not the woman. Her eyes are piercing and her smile faint, as if she has a secret. She has that look that I do. One that says, “I like people. I hate myself, but I like people.” She’s my mother. More and more these days I’m glad she’s dead. Morbid huh? She was lucky enough to pass away at 34. OK. I digress. I don’t see her as lucky really. I miss her. Hell I don’t even know her. You know what though? She went through a lot in her short life and I can only gather from what information I have about her that’s been hand fed to me, selectively, that she is in a FAR better place now than where I am. Or you or anyone for that matter. She carried the stigma of mental illness around her like a cloak too. Still does even though she’s been gone for thirty-five years. Sadly that’s what that side of my family remarks about on so much. Is how I’m just like her but not in the usual GOOD ways. Well you know what? Fuck all of you. (Not you the reader, unless you’re those family members.) I say God took her because the world wouldn’t have been able to handle both of us. I mean that in a GREAT way too.
While brushing my teeth I look into the mirror. Only briefly though. I might glimpse a memory I’m not ready to face. I do remember though, just like every damn day that I have a sister that lives five minutes from me for the past three years and she has never been to my house. I haven’t spoken to her in almost two years. How’s that for family? I’ve kept the doors and windows and cracks in the floorboards of communication open for a very long time for her. She chooses not to communicate. Why? I’m an alcoholic. I’m toxic to her life. Fine. Do you know why I drink? No she doesn’t. She thinks she knows because she has a degree in this very subject. As a sister though, she doesn’t care to know. All she knows is I drink. I blame it on a hard life. I am a drama queen. Attention seeker. Pity party table for one. Guess what? ALL OF THE ABOVE! I admit to it.
My day otherwise is pretty boring. Normal day to day routine. As I wind down though for the night I browse Facebook and instantly my heart plummets to my belly. My sister and niece and my two great nephews and who knows who else, is in town three hours away for our aunts ninetieth birthday party. I had to learn it from Facebook. Nice. How’s that for family?
I have other siblings. Three brothers and two other sisters to be exact. You know why I don’t say “fuck you” to them though? They do their thing. Yes, we may not talk often or at all but they keep to themselves and I will not hesitate to say that I like it that way. I used to think I didn’t. I used to be all “Ohhhh family rocks. It’s your foundation of life…blah blah blah.” Guess what? It’s nothing but a foundation for a quickly washed away sandcastle.
My family is me. My son. My dog. The many wonderful friends I’ve met along my journey in life thus far. The ones who, when I don’t post something silly to my page for a whole day, they are messaging me. The friends who if I don’t feel well or I’m having an emotionally crap-tastic day, text pictures of goats to my phone, or post them to my wall. Those people are my family. The friends I see in the grocery store and stop me to say hello and we chat for a few minutes. The girls I went to nursing school together with. The nurses I work with on a daily basis. That is my family. They know me. They know what I go through inside and out yet they don’t judge. They know that I’m working on changing me. Transforming myself.
I have a friend who constantly reminds me that blood doesn’t make family and she’s right. It’s time I move on. The doors have been open long enough and dust is beginning to gather at the threshold. It’s time for me to quietly shut those doors and windows. To patch up the cracks in the floorboards. I will make it. I’ve got all I need to be successful in life and I’m learning that those people don’t make or break me anymore.
As I close my eyes and the last open door to my heart creeps shut. I whisper goodbye to that part of my life. It was nice knowing you.