Families Are Weird.

radiosilence95's picture

My graduation ceremony was May 31. It's been unbearably rainy here for a few months, so we had to have the ceremony inside the middle school gymnasium, which really, really sucked. It was hot, sticky, and cramped. It took me half an hour after the ceremony to find my family because thousands of people were swarming every inch of the building. Luckily, even though there were a little over 500 hundred people in my graduating class, graduation only took about an hour and a half, maybe a bit more. I'm just glad it's over and done with. I have my diploma and I never have to see any of those immature dickwads ever again. Never going to look back. Ever.

It's also interesting that our valedictorian was a ditzy blonde who obtained her high GPA through status and money alone. Seriously, the girl has this perpetual look of confusion on her face and has the most fake, forced personality ever. She's...not book smart, to say the least. Her parents are really prominent figures around town, so she used their endless money to hire tutors and boost her GPA last-minute. Her speech was full of Bible quotes and...get this...ended with a rap. She rapped part of her speech, as if it weren't already cheesy and forced enough. Some people were all like, "Aw that's so cute and unique!" No. I can't believe she was the representation of our entire class, even though it's oddly accurate: obnoxiously religious, fake, forced, stupid.

Anyway.

After the ceremony I went to my dad's house and my grandma was there and we all had one of the most interesting conversations I've ever taken part in. We talked about everything. For example, I learned that my grandpa on my mom's side used to be a total lunatic before he was put on medication, and one time he tried to run my dad off the road because he took my mom out for a few beers. Suffice it to say I learned a lot about my family. A. Lot. I could go on and on, but the most important chunk of the conversation was about (gasp!) my sexuality.

My grandma basically told me that it was okay, that she could accept it, but I couldn't "flaunt it." No showing any affection in front of her is what she was trying to get at. Also it's okay if I live with a lady, but she's not okay with gay marriage or gay parenting...yet. This is all sounds awful and contradictory, but y'know, I still applaud that woman. Because she's TRYING. She didn't say, "Nope no marriage for you ever that's gross." She explained to me how she was brought up, and she explained that she, even in her stubborn older years, is trying to adapt to the times. She's getting there, she's thinking things through, and whether or not her outlook evolves fully before she's gone is not something I'm too concerned about, honestly.

She doesn't treat me any differently, she doesn't look down on me, and even if she's still struggling with anything beyond same-sex dating, I'm okay. We were never super close. And people, no matter what everyone says, change with time. So I'm not too worried about it. My dad has told me that any girlfriend I have is welcome in his home and in his family, and my sister has stuck up for me multiple times, and their support, the support of two, is worth more than the hostile opposition of ten, even a hundred.

Also, my grandma told me that my great aunt, the one who died a year ago, was the first to suspect I was gay, and was desperately wanting to talk to me about it, but she felt I was difficult to approach. Everyone in my family thinks that about me, that I'm a "hard nut to crack" or that I'm just not easy to talk to. Just because I'm quiet and detached and don't throw myself into every conversation doesn't mean I'm an emotionless, hopeless case. I wish more people would understand that. And it would've been so nice if my great aunt and I had become closer.

Anyway.

I'm also trying to make amends with my dad's girlfriend. I've spent the past five years, ever since my parents divorced, pushing that woman away, withdrawing myself, throwing a hissy fit whenever she had the audacity to show her face around me. I was childish, but what did I know? I was led to believe that she alone was the cause of my parents splitting up. Now that the fog of resentment and jealousy my mother spread around me has cleared, I know that my dad's affair with her was a symptom of my parents' failed marriage, not the cause.

My dad explained to me that his girlfriend has always wanted to get closer to me and bond with me, but never felt like she could. And I've just recently been able to be around her without every muscle in my body tensing up. She gave me money for graduation, though not in person. So I've decided to write her a nice thank-you card, and take the opportunity to apologize for shutting her out. A thank-you card might not be the best way to do that, but hopefully it'll mean a lot to her. "She's a good ally to have on your side," my dad keeps telling me. So I want to give her a chance.

I will end this journal by saying that I have been doing absolutely nothing except reading and eating and sleeping. And driving around with my sister. I've gotten so much reading done and it feels wonderful. I just read seven H.G Wells novels and reread The Book Thief and read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner and Alice In Wonderland and White Fang and Walden. Those last three aren't in italics because I'm tired of using the tags.

So yeah! This month my only solid plans are to go to this giant mega flea market with my dad on Father's Day weekend and Chicago with Brittany. And my graduation party this Sunday, but that's pretty much it. I'm okay with this.

Comments

Bosemaster42's picture

That's an understatement,

To say the least. Congrats on graduating. Sorry to hear the ceremony was held indoors. That must have been sweaty and unpleasant.
Your Grandma sounds like a wonderful woman and you're right, at least she's making an attempt to be accepting, instead of the usual cement-headed approach.
As far as, being approachable, this will become easier I think. Some adults are willing to give a younger person space and allow them to join in conversation, others try to force-feed conversation and I think most teens are turned off by that.
'Everything come's out in the wash', so they say. Yeah, I've had many friends whose parents were divorced, and one or the other would take great pains to throw serious insults and blame for their failure on the other. Often, this is done in an attempt make themselves look better than the other parent. Eventually, the truth is learned through conversation from both sides. I'm a Libra, I never take sides unless it's warranted and I always need to hear both sides, not just one version of what's being presented as the truth.
You should definitely send your dad's girlfriend a thank you card and explain to her your reasons for being stand-offish. What you mentioned above about "the fog of jealousy and resentment" is a great start. I'm sure there's plenty more to add to that. She was respectful by giving you space and not trying to force you to accept her.
SEE, I told you it would be over soon enough! Peace Girl!

radiosilence95's picture

Thanks. Yeah, it would've

Thanks. Yeah, it would've been so much neater out on the football field.

People, for some stupid reason, think quietness is synonymous with coldness. I'm not a cold person, I'm not gonna hiss at you and sink into the shadows if you try to start a serious conversation with me. People seem to think I will though. I mean obviously I'm not the warmest person ever, I like my space and solitude, but why do people always think in extremes?

I think my mom was taking out her own personal insecurities and anger and venting it on me, really. She saw my dad as a bad husband and thus saw him as a bad father as well. She always spoke poorly of him. She did it subtly too. It was the way she said things oftentimes, her tone and whatnot. It kinda pissed me off when I broke free of that sort of brainwashing, but it's not worth being upset about anymore.

I'll definitely get started on that card. And I knew it would all end, but it felt like forever.

Bosemaster42's picture

Unfortunately,

Most people tend to judge what their eyes tell them, instead of making an honest attempt at communicating. If, for example, an older relative tries talking to you and they perceive from your comments, reactions, even body language, that you don't want to talk, they'll consider you hard to talk to. Of course, more often than not, they're wrong. It may not have been a good time or the subject simply wasn't on your radar. There are so many variables with people. I get shit from time to time because I will listen to anyone who starts opening up to me with regard to their life. That's exactly how I wound up with a friend who also happens to be a Heroin addict. People I work with and even my mother(before she met him) asked why I even give him the time of day. Take away the Heroin, this guy is respectful, clean, and he's intelligent. He simply makes bad choices and there's plenty of history behind him which led him in that direction.
Sorry for digressing, but the whole point is people are too quick to make inaccurate assessments about other people without taking the time and making an effort to simply just listen and learn.
My grandmother(dad's side) used to say all kinds of bad things about my grandfather. He was a drunk, he was verbally abusive etc. You would have thought I would have steered clear of him, but I visited with him frequently before he died. I was about 10 or 11 and I'd sit and talk with him. He was a WWII veteran, fought in every major European battle there was( he was awarded several medals, battle of Ardennes(Battle of the Bulge) D-Day(Normandy Beach) and a few purple hearts. I can fully understand his alcoholic tendency. They didn't even know about PTSD at the time. I cringed every time he'd take his BP medicine with a Budweiser, followed by a Marlboro, but who was I to judge this man.

jeff's picture

Hmm...

Congrats on getting out and not looking back...

As for your stepmother, I think my biggest realization on these lines in re: my stepfather was realizing that he performed an incredibly important role in the world. He made my mother happy. So, why would I want to make anything more difficult for someone who brings joy to someone I love? Honestly, the second after I sorted that out, we've been great ever since, and it's been decades now...

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"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles

radiosilence95's picture

Yeah, I see what you mean. I

Yeah, I see what you mean. I was just so convinced that she was the villain because of the years-long affair, but nothing in life is ever so black and white. I don't think she's a bad woman just because she was with my dad while my parents were married. And they do love each other, and as someone who's soon going to most likely have people criticizing my own love for another person, I have no right to condemn that.

jeff's picture

Well...

Louis CK summed it up pretty well. He said "No good marriage ever ends in divorce." I think he's onto something there....

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"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles