Posted in !Family Shindigs, !General Musings, !Lessons, !Memories

 The Things We Don’t Talk About

As I grew up, I learned of a concept that’s probably not at all foreign, or new. In life, there’s a lot of things we see, live through and experience that while, yeah, that happened, we just don’t talk about it. Sometimes we have a good reason, other times we make up a reason and label it “good” but is it really? Who can say? Who should say? The thing is, most times, not talking about it only reinforces the design of the cage. Staying silent doesn’t break it, it doesn’t open it, and one day, someone else will have to live it long after we’re gone.

I think the best example I can use for this would be my father.

I don’t really have a relationship with him anymore. I drew the line, set that cage on fire and buried it the day he decided to shove me against the kitchen counter, but before that day? Oh, I would try to cover his behavior with a multitude of reasons and excuses, some of which had validity, or I thought they did at that point in time until a very good friend told me the following: 

Blood is thicker than water, so is motor oil, and if you wouldn’t let a truck run you over, why would you let your bloodkin?

The sad thing is, what made my father the way he was, and maybe still is, is the fact that he never talked about how toxic his father was. No one did. It was the thing very few talked about (and I would only find out way later in life).

You see, my grandfather was a misogynistic asshat. The one story that will always stay with me is the story of my grandfather’s day at the beach with his mistress, and how my grandmother had decided to take her kids to the beach (without knowing that’s where my grandfather was – with his mistress). The moment all of it clicked into place (well, kind of hard to deny what’s right in front of you), my grandmother ran home because she knew my grandfather was about to unleash both emotional and physical abuse on her due to her having interrupted his day at the beach – with his fucking mistress.

That’s the kind of thing my father would have to witness and, in his opinion, that’s what should happen.

I realize some people may be able to see the behavior of their parents and go, “Nope, nooope, I’ll be the one to travel a different path, thank you,” but, raised in the small town that he was raised in, in an overall patriarchal society, well, I wonder if he ever realized a different path was possible. Maybe he didn’t want to. Maybe he didn’t talk about it or deemed it a regular occurrence because no one told him differently.

That’s often what can happen with things you don’t talk about.

I was extremely lucky to not be raised under his roof (and my mother was extremely lucky that he decided to let her go before I was even born), but I would visit every other weekend. My mom tried to do the right thing by never saying a single bad thing about him – she wanted me to form my own opinion – and in a way, I’m grateful, because as a kid, if you told me something was bad, I would see it as a reason to try and find out if it was bad, why it was bad, and why you think it’s bad (…kind of one of those “don’t jump” followed by me going, “WEEEEEEE” scenarios).

And I did form my own opinions. The more I saw, heard and experienced his small-minded mentality, the more I could see (and recognize) the path I didn’t want to walk on.

When he’d ask, “Am I right or am I right?” I’d have the balls to do what no one in his family had the balls to do, “Neither, ’cause you’re not giving me the option I want.” I paved my own path. To which he’d often respond, “You’re just like your mother.” (Which, duh, I took as a compliment.)

And I did talk about it, to close friends and my mom, mostly.  Mom would help me think for myself or guide me as best she could. Whenever I encountered a situation, she’d tell me a story, as a way to explain why that was done and let me shape my own opinion. My mom is often good at not telling you what to do but instead telling you what things look like (she’s also the champion of doing things that people tell her not to do – who do you think I get it from?) 

Fun fact: mom hated one of my then boyfriends because he reminded her of my father. She didn’t tell me this until I made the assessment on my own and closed that door. She didn’t tell me because she knew I would only see it as the opposite.

And yes, I was a typical teenager. I commend my mother for not throwing me out of a moving vehicle when she had the chance. You only think I’m kidding. That actually happened.

The car we had was pretty beat up. It was not fancy or had auto lock and I would sometimes forget to lock it. I lean on the car door a lot when I’m in the passenger seat. I leaned strongly and the door opened and the seatbelt held me somewhat in but not all the way. Mom’s arm reached out for my shirt and grabbed me. And there’s more than one incident like that because I am, no joke, accident prone. And I’m invisible so even someone backing out of a parking spot has the tendency to hit (nudge? At that speed, it’s kind of like a nudge) me.

But back on topic, talking about the unpleasantness, not just about my father, but life overall, it helped me realize when enough was enough, that it wasn’t right, that emotional abuse was just as bad as physical abuse. I bore the emotional abuse from my father for as long as I could in the hope that, one day, he would change.

Sadly, that never happened, and as I said, the day the abuse got physical, I made a choice. It’s a choice that brought me a lot of pain, probably brought him pain, too, because I don’t think he realized he could lose someone so completely, someone who had overlooked so much and borne previous pains and always came back.

That day, I didn’t come back, and still haven’t, and if I had…I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it would’ve gotten worse.

Talking about things, however painful or personal, helps you realize one of two things: is this something I can survive and overcome, or is this something that needs to be dealt with, in whatever manner is appropriate at the time? It’s a choice only you can make, but the best part about it…you don’t have to do it alone.

I know I didn’t. My mom was there every step of the way and the times I would tell her that certain things happened, you bet your ass she turned that car around and gave him what for. Amusingly enough, the only women I think my father is scared of is my grandmother and my mother. My mother almost hit him with a baseball bat after he threatened to attack her and my grandmother actually slapped him after she witnessed him mistreating my mom (fun fact: grandma is not tall. Grandma went to go get something to stand on JUST so she could slap him). I come from a long line of “wait, you think you’re going to do WHAT to me? HA” women.

You don’t fuck with my mum (or my grandma). And I like to think I’m better for it. I sure as heck don’t get pushed around or treated like I’m an idiot because of my gender so, yeah, good riddance for that. (I’m pretty sure I have dumb blonde moments but this has nooothing to do with my gender, or my hair for that matter.)

And let it be known, my father? He believed I’d grow up to become a prostitute because my mom opted to raise me on her own because, in his mind, a woman that isn’t dependent on a man can be only that.

That’s the man I made excuses for, empathized with, tried to see the good in – all because of how much I ignored the things I saw and heard, how I tried to cover it all up, but talking about it…sometimes just writing it down instead of saying it out loud…every little bit helps.

Posted in !Family Shindigs, !Gaming, !General Musings, !Memories, !My Sweetie, !NomnomFood

Birthdays Then And Birthdays Now

Soooo, yesterday was my birthday. I am officially 30. Lets hope I remember this the next time someone asks me. Random Fun Fact: in my 20s, someone asked me my age. For a reason I still don’t understand, I said 18. And when people ask me my mom’s age, I’ve been know to say 37. Why? I dunno. I know her birth year (super easy to remember, for SOME reason), I know enough math(*cough-calculator-cough*) to know she’s not 37, yet, somehow, pfft, crazy comes out.

I’ve been lucky enough to have some good birthdays, some with just close friends, others with big groups and/or just family. It doesn’t hurt that just having my birthday fall on one of my days off has me jumping for joy (which this year, it did, WOOHOO!) And yes, if my birthday falls on a weekday, there’s a 99.9% chance I’m working that day. And since it’s also the day of my birth, so I like to congratulate mom on that, too 😀

Actually, it’s a funny story, a story I really like telling because it makes me giggle and smile how an entire life can be dependent on a single moment (and yet another reason why I love Doctor Who. No one is unimportant and everything can be turned around in a single moment.) And since I got my mum’s blessing to tell this one, YAY, story mode is ON.

Once upon a time, my mom was dating this undeserving asshat that would donate part of his DNA mapping to a creation that would, much later, be called Ana. But mom was prepared, she used birth control, until my mom’s doctor told her she had been taking them for so long, that she could be considered infertile by now. So mom stopped, doctor’s recommendation and all, and well, HIIIIIIIIIIIIIII.

Haaai

My mom told me how, when she saw the doctor next and came with the news, his face just went into disbelief mode. Then he uttered the only words a man probably could muster when his brain goes from PhD to “what the fuckery is this?”

“Girl, you’re one of those who gets pregnant with a look!”

It’s still one of my favorite stories to hear from my mom. It makes me laugh every time, evilly, even, ’cause it’s me! I’m the funny!

Then the day of my birth is another funny because mom felt me coming as soon as they put her on the hospital bed (in the waiting room, I think she was going to be taken to a room, at that point, but slowness?) The doctor didn’t believe she was ready to deliver yet (yo, doc, remember that time you said she was infertile? *cue giggling*) but mom warned him, she told him plain and simple, I was coming. He took a look under the hood, so to speak, and had to recall how much he had wanted to be a catcher as a kid (that’s a wild guess), ’cause he caught me before I slipped off to the floor.

Mine was a hilariously quick delivery. I just needed the hand to catch me and boom, I was done.

Not-So-Random Fun Fact: Many many years later, on one of my visits home, I went with mom and Onyx (her then black kitten. He’s huuuuge now) to the vet. The vet’s last name was familiar to mom…and eureka, he had the last name of the doctor who delivered me! HAHAHAHAHA. I begged mom to ask him if they were related. I had to know. The universe wanted me to know. I must obey the universe — through mom, though. If I made my mouth ask anything, awkward and rude would come out, because that’s how my brain uses words. I can’t use backspace with my mouth. And when she told him, poor vet, he smiled awkwardly and looked genuinely embarrassed because, not only was he related to my mom’s old Gynecologist, but that was his dad! We didn’t mind, though, we did let him know, it was a good oops.

With all the oops that happen throughout life in general, we’re just lucky we got thrown a good one.

And for my birthdays, it really are the simple things that make me happiest. Not waking up to an alarm on my birthday is, as already mentioned, a great one. Another one would happen back home, of course.

On our birthdays, we’d get to ask mom to cook whatever we wanted. My particular favorites were (still are), sancocho, beefsteak with white beans and rice, arroz con pollo and mom’s lasagna. And I call it mom’s lasagna because it is so not an Italian lasagna. It has cream cheese and a loooot of ground beef (more than cheese). But I love cream cheese (See cheesecake love). Really, to me, just having food = jooooooooy.

It’s also just nice to get to hear a happy birthday, it’s smile-inducing, to be remembered and to know people took the time. Though if I could forgive my father for forgetting (every. year.) that my birthday is in July (and not June), then really, I wouldn’t mind someone else forgetting. It happens. But still, it’s nice to get to hear it.

Sometimes it’s nice to not have to cook and go out to eat in the name of my birthday, UNLESS there’s something I reaaaally want to cook but am afraid to cook because the recipe is asking me to do things that my brain thinks is going to spell disaster. If I cook on my birthday, it’s a gift to encourage bravery. A “YOU CAN DO THIS”. Otherwise, pfft, nope, no cooking. I will be fed and I will demonstrate my gratitude in the form of nomnoms. That’s as far as I’ll go.

This year? I chose to brave a new recipe. A stuffed beef roll (stuffed with spinach, cheese and ham) wrapped in bacon. And yes, I had to ask my sweetie for help because I cannot roll a burrito to save my life, what possessed me into thinking I could roll a beef roll? I tried, though. It looked like a kindergarten project. But the attempt was made! And luckily, my sweetie saved it.

Then D&D happened (…this is the one where I play a rogue with great charisma and double proficiency on deception, but shitty dex and stealth. I welcome her on my birthday. WELCOME THE FUNNY.)

…for a moment, though, I thought I got us killed on my birthday. It was an interesting episode of “lets try to do the thing and GETALMOSTDEAD.” The thing about our little group on this wonderful Sunday session is that, our group, is lacking a healer. We have two wizards, one warlock and one rogue (me), all starting at level one. No one has healing. Siiiigh.

The village we’re in is being raided, we’re in the keep, and there’s a pissed off dragon about for a reason my character still doesn’t know. And we get asked to go check the tunnels. We get pretty hurt after dealing with a swarm of rats (*facepalm*). Then we accidentally break a key in the lock (well, not “we”. T’was the warlock. My reasoning when asked why *I* didn’t open it: I didn’t have the key! *double-facepalm*) and then we get a surprise attack from the raiders.

Let me tell ya, it was lovely, because we hadn’t been able to rest from the previous session, where spells were spent trying to get to the keep -_- I think the warlock was the first to go unconscious? Then the gnome wizard. At that point, we had one cultist (or cobalt, it’s a toss-up) standing between us and the tunnel (that we had unwisely stepped off of). I managed to get him to drop, and then used my next action to drag the gnome with me to the tunnel (and yes, I made that roll, phew) and I thought, okay, good, we’re safe, the half-elf wizard has some hit points left, I have two, aaaand then I lose those two when I get a dagger to the back (and drop dramatically on top of the gnome wizard, whose player asks if I make damage on him because I dropped on him. My immediate reaction to that was, “ARE YOU CALLING MY CHARACTER FAT?!” I might’ve said me, but the point remained. Good grief. Bahahahaha.)

Good news: we did not die. Half-elf wizard hung in there but he had to call for help to get us dragged back. After a short rest, we’ll have to deal with whatever triggered the alarm -_- all the fun. But we didn’t die! (…and those 3 sets of character sheets I printed – ’cause I thought we were dying – are going to just sit and wait for next time.) This is what happens when my boyfriend DMs a game. It’s horrible, because he rolls amazingly well, lots of nat 20s, which as a player, woohoo! As a DM, we’re all in the predicament of going in every day wondering, “well, how do I want to die today?” (And yes, the right answer would be: IN A BLAZE OF GLOOOORY.)

And honestly, it was fun. That’s the best thing I can get out of a birthday. Good food (because yes, the beef log came out amazing, and the cauliflower and broccoli, mixed with garlic butter, was also nomnom), good company, wacky fun and being in a relaxed state. It has no price for me. Simple means a lot.