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Tough Love July 29, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in annoyances, family, I know life isn't supposed to be fair but jeez....
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I told my sister that she and her boyfriend need to move out by the end of next month.

Granted, they already announced they were planning on leaving “in September, maybe?”, but after dealing with enough of their antics I’ve officially decided that an indefinite date is not good enough. The hard (and dumb) thing about it is that I truthfully feel really bad about it. I was selfishly excited when she moved in because it meant I would FINALLY have someone from my family living with me again, and I wouldn’t feel so alone, and there would be someone on my side, HURRAH! But almost from the get-go I began to feel like I was being taken advantaged of. I wasn’t seen as the owner of the house, or as the older sister who so generously provided a refuge, two things I was sure wouldn’t even be questioned. I honestly thought she would be so grateful that she would make a solid effort to actually oh I dunno, clean up after herself, or say…turn off the stove, or um, gee…not leave the front door open ALL. NIGHT. LONG. on two occasions. The biggest fight we got into was because she refused to clean the bathroom they share with M’s mom for the first four months they were living there, and when I repeatedly asked her when she would do it, she completely brushed me off. I finally reached my breaking point after a week of repeatedly harassing her to do it, and she actually got angry with me for yelling at her.

They have this whole “we can do whatever we want regardless of anyone else” mentality. I told them to please not cook past eleven because four of us need to wake up at 6 for work, and you can hear the going-ons in the kitchen from everywhere in the house. They would stumble home at 2 am, and sure enough, I’d hear the microwave or chopping sounds. The breaking point for that battle was when they did it at 4 am one night and had the nerve to try to tell me they were having “an early breakfast.” Like that makes any difference whatsoever. It was annoying as hell, and the most annoying part was being made to feel like I’m some random CRAZY person with a stick up her butt for constantly needing to practically parent the two of them.

He lost his key (which I bought) about a month in. Then she lost her key the other night. I get it, keys get lost, shit happens, yadda yadda. But! They were home all day Sunday (granted they were sleeping) and didn’t get another key made. They asked me to drive them to Outback for dinner at 8 pm, but didn’t ask anyone for a ride to Home Depot. So, they go out with their friends, and then come home at midnight and crawl through the front window. This was mind boggling mainly because they constantly did the same thing when they were living at my parents, and it was a HUGE bone of contention with my dad. Call me paranoid, but I mean, way to announce to the (admittedly not exactly pristine) neighborhood that we keep our windows unlocked. And they purposely left it unlocked before I gave them a ride. That’s what makes me really angry. The planning and the sneaking and the lying and the assumption that I’m a total idiot who will always be none the wiser.

I’ve had enough.

But, I am dealing with the nagging whisper “she’s your sister” that’s trying to plague me with guilt. So, my question to you: how do you deal with someone you like/love when they refuse to behave like a decent person?

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Letting go. February 21, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in annoyances, family, I know life isn't supposed to be fair but jeez..., to friend or not to friend.
4 comments

I don’t write about this in detail for a few reasons. One, fear that the wrong people will see it. Two, once I get going it’s difficult to stop (aka this will be long, you’ve been warned.) Three, I keep hoping that if I pretend it doesn’t exist it will just go away.

But it fills my thoughts, conversations with friends, and sometimes keeps me up at night. It has filled my life, and I’m sick of it.

I hate M’s sister.

I’ve never hated anyone before. I’ve never wished anyone real harm, spent time plotting revenge, or just shuddered when someone’s name was mentioned. This girl…what can I say about her?

She’s a 13 year old trapped in a 30 year old body. She’s selfish, immature, malicious, sneaky, sadistic and pitiful. She pretends to be nice to your face but she will do whatever she can think of to make your life miserable in small ways. She’ll stab you in the back with a smile on her face and then look at you like “who, me??” She is the queen of doing little things that you wouldn’t notice if it didn’t directly effect you. She will poke you and poke you and poke you until you finally lose it and then she smiles, shrugs and is all “wow, she’s crazy huh?” Basically, she’s either insane or evil. Or both.

I have it ingrained in my brain that when someone does something wrong, they need to acknowledge it, to apologize. If someone hurts your feelings they should be sorry. They should admit wrongdoing. They should care. And I cannot be fake. I cannot pretend to be happy if I’m not. I cannot pretend to like you if I don’t. It is written all over my face, my tone, everything. I can be your best friend or your worst enemy, but I leave that choice to you. I believed I was right with every fiber of my being. It wouldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t turn on me so quickly. If it wasn’t so obvious that because I’m not blood I don’t matter the same way. That my feelings and the fact that in most situations I was the victim meant nothing.

I won’t go into detail about what has happened. I won’t list all the ways that she makes my life and M’s life miserable. I have wasted two years of my life on this girl…on wondering how anyone could be so malicious, feeling betrayed, and seething with anger.

I have gone from confusion to wishing she would disappear to relishing in this hate to planning little ways to get back at her to obsessing over the situation with anyone who would listen to crying to complaining to ranting to seriously considering therapy or anger management to reading inspirational quotations about dealing with difficult times to just wanting to put it all behind me. I just finished a book by Pema Chodron that I bought specifically for guidance on how to deal with all this anger in my heart.

I told a friend that I want to become more spiritual because I don’t want to be bitter or angry. That I got the Pema book, want to start meditating and learn how to push anger away and not let people effect me so much.

She said “honestly, I think this shows how much better of a person you already are. I mean, think about it. She’s just selfish and evil and genuinely pretends that she does nothing wrong when she must know that she does. And you feel so mean and guilty for disliking someone who is just not a good person at all. I mean you’ve talked about THERAPY for reacting the way any normal person would react to this girl. You need to just not like her and be fine with it.”

I seem to have this five year old mentality of just complete shock and incredulous awe that someone could purposely hurt someone or not like me when I’ve done nothing to deserve it. I remember visiting my cousin a few years ago and her three boys were playing, and the oldest one (kind of a bully) tripped the youngest one (who was four and adorable and the sweetest kid I’ve ever met to this day) and started laughing with the middle one. The four year old stood up, looked just so hurt and surprised that anyone could do such a mean thing on purpose and then laugh, and his face crumpled as he said, in the saddest little voice, “why would you do that??”

That’s basically been me for the past two years.

I had a talk with M the other night and very calmly told him how I feel and what I want. I want it to be okay for me to only  civil. I will say hi and bye and leave it at that. I don’t expect him to do the same. I will respect that she is his sister and that he has a right to have a relationship with her. But I do not think she is a good person, and every single time I give her the benefit of the doubt she makes me regret it. I won’t do what everyone else does and pretend that I don’t notice all of the shitty things she does. I accept that I have to live with her for another couple of years. You know that quote “if someone were to speak ill of you, live so no one would believe them”? That’s what I want to do.

His response? “I think that’s for the best. Just stop thinking about this. I mean, she’s not losing sleep over you.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

So for now, this is the where I stand:

I am grateful that M has stuck by me. I’m sticking by him too. I’m happy that I knew what it was like to be loved by my “inlaws,” even if it was only for a short period of time. I feel at peace, because I truly feel that I have done what I was supposed to. I do not like her. I do not have to. I can’t control her, but I can control me. I can choose how she affects me. And I say she stops affecting me at all now.

This will be the last time I talk about any of this. This post served as a way to get things out that were still on my mind. I’m over it, I’m done. I’m keeping her name out of my blog, mouth, mind and relationships.

I’m going to be happy again. I’m taking back control over my moods and thoughts and feelings. In short, I’m letting it go.

Thank you… January 22, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in family, friends.
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for listening.  I know my life is not the most exciting thing to hear about, but you never fail to lend an ear or a shoulder, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it, even if I don’t tell you that often enough.

for being my new roommate!  I know you’re going through a rough time right now, but I just want to let you know how happy I am to have you as part of my home again.

for understanding.  I know we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d probably like, and that at times it can seem like we’re drifting apart.  But you have to know that you’re my best friend in the world, now and always.  I love you.

for attempting to change.  I’m not 100% willing to let go and trust you again, but I do notice the effort you’re making, and I appreciate it.

for proving my theory that some people never change.  It kinda sucks that I got hurt again, but I’m thanking you because you’re making me stronger than you’ll ever know.

for trying to give me a romantic night, the random slow dance break from cleaning, sitting at Starbucks with me even though you loathe Starbucks, for covering me for the rent when I had issues, and for the million other sweet things you do for me every single day that I never thank you for.  You are my heart, my conscience and my biggest smile, and I honestly don’t know what I would do without you.  Thank you for loving me at my most unlovable.  I promise to try harder to do the same.

…you know who you are.

A Sign of Peace January 9, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in family, M, realizations, Uncategorized.
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I don’t consider myself to be a religious person by any means. I don’t pray very often, and when I do it’s usually not for me, but for friends or family or those in need.

While we were in El Salvador we went to church on New Years Eve. I didn’t understand the priest, so I tuned out and got lost in my head. I thought about the past year…the issues I’ve had, the fights with M about his family, the anger, the depression, the overwhelming sadness that would hit from time to time. I became angry for the billionth time, and then had an idea.

I began to pray for myself. I explained to god in list form, much like I do to my friends, everything that bothered me, why I felt that it was unfair, and that I had a right to feel angry. I could feel the same old bitterness begin to bubble.

So I took a deep breath.

And I asked “please, if only for a moment, take away my pride, and give me the clarity to see where I am to blame in all of this.”

My thoughts were interrupted by M reaching over for a hug. It was time to “give each other a sign of peace.” His entire family hugged me one by one, smiling and kissing me on the cheek and saying how happy they were I was there. When we were back in our places M beamed at me and mouthed “thanks. Love you.” I looked at him and saw how happy he was. I looked at his family and saw how happy they were. Little one year old Sofia toddled over to M, who picked her up, and she looked at me and said “Tia.”

They accept me. They like me. Some even love me. And suddenly it hit me. That’s what I’ve been upset about, the core of the issue.

I thought back to 2004, when M and I were brand spankin’ new, and a former close friend who is half Colombian, half Caucasian whose parents were going through a heartbreaking divorce. I told her I was nervous about speaking Spanish and everyone laughing and she said, in all seriousness “you know you’ll never fit in or be accepted right?” She claimed it was her way of helping me to see the inevitable: “look at my parents.”

The seed was planted. The paranoia, the insecurities, the jealousy all grew until they threatened to suffocate M and I for good. The problems with his sister didn’t help. I became convinced that he would not only leave me, but leave me for someone hispanic, someone who can give him what I never can.

And then my seldom heard confidence cleared its throat and quietly said “you know, you already give him things no one has. And he brought you here. And he loves you. No offense toots, but maybe the problem isn’t him. It’s your nagging, plaguing doubts.”

So I took a different route. I said “give me the strength to let go of the past. Give me the compassion to forgive his sister for good. Give me understanding because not everything is about me. Give me whatever it takes to be a better person and take the high road. And if not for me, for M, who you know deserves it.”

It’s not gone for good. It creeps in little by little. But I understand him better because of the trip. I talked to his sister the whole ride home from the airport, and didn’t feel angry once. I went downstairs last night and saw her living room, which she somewhat decorated while we were gone. I felt happy for her. For the first time in a year and a half.

I confessed my fear to M last night, in its entirety. He said “being apart of my family is your choice because they already consider you family. You’re my family. I’m not going anywhere.”

I believe him. And that’s all the peace I need.

Closure December 7, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in family, home improvements, to friend or not to friend.
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Last night I had a talk with M’s sister, Karla.  A two hour, “let’s get out everything we’ve been wanting to say, even if this is really random,” talk.  I finally said “you know what, whatevs” and told her things I’ve wanted to tell her for a good two years.  That I think she’s been selfish and manipulative about things.  That she put her mom and brother in a really awkward position, and even if I did too, I never tried to make them choose like she did.  That most of the time I couldn’t stand being in the same room with her, and that’s why I spent so much time in my room.  That I busted my ass to make the house a home, and all anyone ever does is use my stuff, and never contributes or offers money, and because of it it’s hard to not feel like they’re using me.  That I felt like I was living with someone else’s family, and it was lonely.  That I was angry at her and her mom for abandoning all affection they had for me so quickly, and even if I’ve gotten past a lot of it, I’m still not over it and don’t know when I will be.

Miracle of miracles- she listened and understood.  She told me that I’ve been cold and distant, and it made living in the house miserable.  My response?   “Good.  That’s exactly what I wanted you all to be because that’s exactly what I was.”  I admitted that I went a touch overboard, and that I was rude at times and could have gone about things in a better way, but overwhelmingly I honestly feel that I was reacting to them, and I refuse to accept even half the blame.  And another miracle?  She agreed.  She said “you felt like we divorced you” and I told her that was exactly it.  She said that she wants me to feel like part of the family, and that when she talks about me, she refers to me as her sister or sister in law, and that for a long time she just didn’t understand why I was acting the way I was.  I told her that I did feel like part of the family for the first two years I was with M, and that’s why it hurt so much when they disregarded my side and my feelings.  I told her that I didn’t understand why, if family is so important, the fact that M loves me, and is happy with me, and that I’ve tried SO. DAMN. HARD. to be a good girlfriend to him means nothing unless I’m getting along with Karla.  I told her that I’m not a horrible person, and M doesn’t think I’m a horrible person, and that should count for something, right?  And she said they never thought I was a horrible person, they just didn’t understand why I was so cold.  But now she does, and she’s sorry for everything.  I told her that this conversation needed to happen before I got over my anger.  That she can’t just pretend everything is fine and expect me to do the same because I don’t work that way.  I need apologies.  I need explanations.  Sue me.  I can do the same, and admit when I’m wrong, so I need other people to suck it up and do the same.  I told her that it’s selfish of her to move out a year after we moved in because M and I cannot afford the house on our own.  She tearfully told me that she’s 30, and has dreams of having her own house.  I told her that we all have dreams, and that (no offense) but living with my boyfriends family isn’t what I thought I’d be doing at 22.  And M’s mom probably didn’t think she’d be divorced and have to rely on her kids.  But we all agreed and made the choice, and we all have to live with it.  She said she never thought of it that way, and that she’s not going anywhere without helping us until we can afford otherwise.

I finally feel what I’ve needed to feel regarding her- closure.  I relayed the conversation to M, and he seems happy that we finally had it out.  I’m happy too.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… November 7, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in family, friends, work.
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My joy at working full time again lasted all of one day.  Now I’m back to “ugghhhh 8 to 5??  Killlllll meeeeee!!”  Friday’s paycheck will probably bring a smile though.  But that’s two. whole. days. away.  The Fed Ex guy who comes here almost daily always pops his head in to say “we can make it!  Only [however many days until the week is over] left!”  Nice to know I’m not the only one here who starts eyeballing (or sometimes whimpering at) the door at 2 pm.

I’m starting to think about Christmas gifts for my loves.  M is officially the most difficult person in the world to shop for.  I think I’ve done pretty well so far (Tivo first Christmas,  leather recliner second Christmas, PSP third Christmas)  but I seriously cannot think of one thing he might like and/or use.  I’m really hoping I get a nice Christmas bonus kind of early because if I do I think I’ll probably surprise him with tickets to El Salvador, because I know he’s really bummed that we aren’t going.

As for my other nearest and dearest, I’m probably going to do boxes or baskets full of small things (cookies, candles, lotions, mixed CD’s, jewelry, etc.)  My family was thinking about all of us chipping in to get my mom tickets for the World Series a couple weeks ago because she is obsessed with the Red Sox, but those tickets?  Impossible to get and so freaking expensive.  So now I need to come up with something for the second hardest person to shop for.  Seriously,  my mom has never received a gift she’s loved.  And she’s an unapologetic exchanger, which has caused some tears over the years.  Ah, holidays…

I’m planning a “Friends Thanksgiving” with some of my friends (duh), and I’m getting excited about it.  It’s gonna be at my house, and we’re going to have tons of food (somewhat potluck), drinks (cider and eggnog), music and I’m making tons of little desserts.  It’s going to be awesome, especially because hello?  two Thanksgivings? Yummy.  I was going to boycott Thanksgiving this year (after reading A People’s History of the United States), but the thought of decorations and being surrounded by friends is too much to pass up.  I’m such a sucker for holidays.  I’m trying to convince M to set up the tree next weekend just so we can look at it for longer this year.

Gotta get to work.

Sometimes I think I’m bipolar September 7, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in family, M, realizations.
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I’m convinced that my mother has some form of the disorder, and have been for years.  There are times when what could otherwise be categorized as “moodswings” are simply too powerful and random, and I’m absolutely positive that I’m bipolar. 

It used to be a lot worse.  When M and I got over the honeymoon phase and entered into the “hmmm-you-do-have-flaws-and-I’m-comfortable-enough-to-tell-you-about-them, like-it-or-not” phase, I was a mess.  I went from ecstatically happy to hopelessly sad faster than he could say “sorry, that’s just how I feel”, and would throw myself on my bed, arm tossed dramatically onto my forehead as I wailed “he doesn’t love me anymore!!”  It’s frankly kind of a wonder that we’re still together and as happy as we are. 

I realized yesterday for the first time just how annoying I must have been during that phase.  I was sick as a dog with strep throat, lying in bed all day, and when he came home the first thing he did was sit down to watch ESPN.  I pouted my way over to him, and he, noticing my look of pathetic despair, said “what?  I would hug and kiss you, but I don’t want to get sick.”  I narrowed my eyes, shouted “FINE!”, tossed my hair and flounced upstairs.  I laid down on the bed, and took a deep breath and thought “you are retarded.  Of course he doesn’t want to get sick.  He just started school.  He’s usually affectionate (finally being well-trained), and frankly, it’s selfish for you to put him in a position where he could get sick.”  And *POOF*-I felt dumb, understanding and sorry, walked down the stairs and into the living room so I could apologize to see that he wasn’t there.  I walked into the kitchen, and he, noticing my presence, held out the glass he just poured OJ into and said “I was going to bring this up to you.  I’m sorry you’re sick.” and kissed my forehead. 

I realize I’m not always wrong.  But I just about always overreact.  Sometimes I wonder how much better my parents marriage would be right now if my mom would have taken a few deep breaths and let go of her own anger so she could understand my dad better.  He genuinely never tries to hurt her, yet somehow she ALWAYS ends up feeling hurt.  For the past decade I’ve viewed my parents relationship as a kind of case study.  Moreso after M and I got together.  I usually think that I’m a lot like my dad, which makes me happy.  When I notice ways in which I resemble my mom, I feel uneasy and scared.  Though I think noticing it is a good first step.

It’s like the Catch-22 train of thought: if you think you’re crazy, you aren’t, because truly crazy people don’t realize that they’re crazy.

I can’t tell you how much I hope that’s true.

I’m seeing my parents this weekend.  They invited M and I to the Orioles/Red Sox game tomorrow night (we’ll be the ones next to the manic Sox fan in full Sox gear, screaming things like “YEAAAAA PAPIIIIIII!!” the entire game.  Please try not to laugh too hard, should you spot us.) 

Have an excellent weekend.