So I’ve had some huge life events lately. It’s been a bit overwhelming and I don’t even know what to tell you guys first. [content note on this post for… heavy talk about all sorts of things that are personal to me, like my grandmother’s death and my mother being abusive so read at your own risk.]
I mean, huge news includes that I’ve gotten a full time job after being unemployed for over three years, but I was too ashamed of my unemployment to really talk about that at all here on my blog, and what was there to say anyway, about that?
I’ve been volunteering somewhere for 1 year and 10 months and I think that helped a ton in me finally landing this job. My dad believes me joining an ace meetup group mid-2014 and attending quite often since then… and essentially getting friends/socializing a ton more than my previous loner life also likely strongly improved my interview skills. He’s… probably right.
I graduated college and then summer of 2012 had an intense yet elective foot surgery to fuse my joints… and putting off looking for work till after it was my hugest mistake. I had thought it was a good time, while unemployed and able to rely on my family to be bedridden for weeks (kinda not able to fully use my foot for months) but…I think that hurt my search a lot. The field of study I chose to get my degree in did not help either.
I had been unemployed the entire time I struggled to date for the first time and then researched and engaged in introspection and realized I was asexual, and the one month I was employed in 2013 was during a stretch when I wasn’t dating at all, after the first guy I dated thanks to OkCupid for three dates at the end of 2012 and before I tried again summer of 2013. Before I figured out the asexuality part of myself really at all, although it was on my mind by then as a possibility.
Then, once I did figure it out, I began to blog fairly extensively about it. I’ve (hopefully? probably?) improved my writing communication skills in this process as well? All of this and more probably helped me. I grew in so many ways as a person since I graduated college in May 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree.
Anyway I started working October 31st and my commute is long and I still have a very busy social life on weekends, and still try to volunteer at the same place I’d been volunteering at as many weeknights and weekends as I can, and I basically ran out of time to blog much.
But also, I had been running out of new things to say about asexuality or about my experience as an adult survivor of child abuse or whatever I would usually blog about.
My former queerplatonic partner, who I call Robert on this blog, has remained one of my best friends and he left for a civilian contractor deployment to Afghanistan on November 9th, the same day I woke up to the news about who won the presidential election (and yes, we’re American). I was thinking more about not seeing Robert for six months… than about the new reality of our political climate. Not even knowing if we’d be able to be in contact at all, because he never mentioned anything specific about that either way? Like… uh I hate that I didn’t just ask him, I hate that I was so afraid to say the wrong thing that I said nothing.
Adjusting to a new job was(/is) interesting, and everyone I work with seems very typically heterosexual, mainly women who casually mention their husbands, or even call them on the phone within earshot, although of course you never know that they’re straight just because they have a husband… A few have children or grandchildren but never mentioned a husband or anything, but again it makes me feel like everyone is living the amatonormative/heteronormative lifestyle out to the fullest. It makes me feel especially queer, especially non-straight. The men have spoken less about significant others. (I’ve worked directly with approximately 10-15 people total over the past two months, and only 4 or so are men.)
But as I was saying… I felt the weight of how my life, my ideal relationship structure, my plans for the future, etc are all probably atypical – I felt that feeling literally the first day I started working there.
Then fast forward only a little…
…and if I want to tell a coworker that my ex-qpp is starting a deployment, I realize I don’t want to call him an ex-boyfriend or a person I used to date, because people aren’t supposed to care just as deeply about people they broke up with as they did when they were together, and ugh I wish I could convey what he was to me but instead all I can say is “my friend” without starting a long conversation (-a conversation I was certainly not ready to have) on week 2 of a new job, lol. And it just… he’s not “just” a friend but at the same time he is, he’s my best friend except not my only best friend really, “just” one of my best friends, and it all doesn’t really matter…
But yeah idk, work isn’t really a place I need to socialize a ton… I can be friendly with my coworkers without actually talking too much about my personal life, it’s fine, whatever.
But then of course, as it turns out, I could talk to Robert a ton while he’s away, over Facebook messenger mainly, but also email and if we ever get around to it, over a Skype phone call – although we haven’t done that quite yet. We didn’t message at first, but by the end of November for sure. He has time pretty much every day to just message back and forth with me… not that we did it every day, but generally yeah multiple times a week.
My whole life had already been feeling like it was the start of a whole new normal in multiple ways, and then immediately after Thanksgiving, the final week of November, my grandmother died. I heard that she was in a deep sleep with no food or water for days and it was clear she was going to die soon. I… focused a lot on ranting about the Gilmore Girls revival being essentially a huge betrayal to all of us loyal fans with a close group of fandom friends, and was maybe a little sad about my grandmother, but I was okay.
I hadn’t been visiting my grandmother much, hadn’t seen her in over a year actually, knew she was mentally deteriorating for quite a long time. Actually, I graduated high school in May 2008 and basically after that very rarely saw her, made no effort to keep in touch. I did see her every year pretty much and… she was always just making me feel bad about being unemployed… both my grandmothers did that actually… it made me want to avoid conversation with them as much as I could, if I’m being honest. But my grandmother, I felt bad for her, I wished she didn’t have to struggle with losing her ability to speak and then to think. You could see how hard it was for her. She was still fine when I lived with her.
Oh yeah, did I mention that? The night at the end of April 2007 that my brother and I took my mom up on the ultimatum to leave our home, we ended up a 5 min drive away in the same school district at my Grandmom’s house. We basically grew up at my grandmother’s house. We were there every single week, and on particular years actually every single day after school, for as long as I can remember. For Kindergarten through the first couple months of 4th grade, my mom actually didn’t live in the “Good” public school district that my grandmother did, so before we finally moved there, we took the bus home to Grandmom’s every single day. And when I was in afternoon-only Kindergarten usually took the bus from my grandmother’s neighborhood too.
My childhood best friends were all made in my grandmother’s neighborhood, most of my memories of sledding and trying to build snowmen when it happened to snow were there, I remember being at the neighbor’s house when I was 5 and getting my first loose tooth and running back to my grandmom, scared I had broken my mouth in a way that it wasn’t supposed to break because no one had ever told me getting loose teeth was a thing and I didn’t have many peers who weren’t younger than me.
I spent so much time basically being raised by my grandmother, because she provided shelter and dinners and homemade (home-sewn) Halloween costumes and a place for the whole extended family to meet for Christmas. She provided rides to and from my CCD classes and wasn’t a fan of the radio or any music at all in the car so she was my first exposure to turn signals/turning on the blinker while driving, I remember being confused while so little of how the car “just knew” right before she was about to turn… lmao…
She maybe was better when I was really little, playing cards with me and also my brother and later my cousins, providing puzzles with the alphabet or all of the United States, other learning activities, being involved in actually playing with us too…
But idk. She got tired. She was never good at talking to children as if they were worthy of conversation. She wasn’t someone it was easy to feel emotionally close to.
My brother and I respected her and were grateful to her for everything she did for us…
Especially at the end. Especially when we couldn’t take our mother’s abuse anymore and she let us live with her, she became our guardian, and for my brother it was only for a few months — but for me it was those few months plus my entire senior year of high school — I got my driver’s license and she let me drive her car, she needed hip replacement surgery and chose to have one of her sons come travel to stay and take care of her/her husband (all the stuff she usually did for my granddad that she wouldn’t be able to do while she healed), idk how it happened exactly but it seemed like she wanted my uncle to be involved rather than burden me with that kind of thing. She was willing to testify in court against her own daughter, and she faced a fair amount of verbal abuse from her in that process, and I’m so grateful she was able to help me as much as she did. My high school graduation was so nice and calm, just me and my dad and my brother and her, and she even went to McDonald’s for lunch with us and my choice of restaurant for Graduation dinner, both of which was surreal, my grandmother never went to restaurants or did fast food or really left the house at all, and it was nice, my grandmother always seemed to really like my dad which helped.
I liked being around my grandmother so much more when my dad was there too, someone she liked.
Because living a year at my grandmother’s house had a few nice moments, but ultimately, it was extremely lonely. I felt like I was living alone without even internet friends to keep me company. I…
Some of the first things I felt over my grandmother’s death were anger and betrayal and resentment, honestly. She should’ve been a more positive force in my life than she was. I should have been able to love her. I couldn’t love my mom because my mom was abusive, and I couldn’t truly feel love for my grandmother because she was emotionally neglectful. She went through the motions of taking care of me and my brother, and…
Well like, both my mom and my grandmother provided my physiological needs just fine, if you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid:
My grandmother also provided more of the safety needs than my mother did. My mother sometimes provided them, and other times made me feel unsafe or actually physically hurt me. I fairly often craved the calm safety of my grandmother’s house. But it was always HER HOUSE and not HER that I was craving…
because ugh this woman was not helping me meet any of my belongingness and love needs, or even esteem needs… like as a child I got more of that from friends’ mothers and from teachers and even (especially when I was younger) from my abusive mom during calm spells and of course from my brother and my dad, the two most important people in my life. But pretty much never from my grandmother. And she was someone I spent so much time in her presence… and…
My mom’s sister (one of my aunts) told my mom about their mother being near death, because she’d promised to tell her. My mom was going to be at my grandmother’s funeral, and my dad basically told my aunt that “we” (he, my brother and I) couldn’t come then, or at least… probably. He couldn’t risk being around her again, but my brother and I are adults and could decide for ourselves. And at first we really weren’t going to go, I mean it wasn’t really worth it. The cons of seeing my mom would outweigh any benefit, right? I wasn’t even really that sad over my grandmother’s death…
But then my mom was the one who, in one of her “lovely” voicemails… informed me that my grandmother was officially gone? And my brother and I were waiting to hear it from someone who COUNTED because we don’t even talk to our mother, and my brother felt REALLY betrayed when we ended up Googling a night later and my grandmother’s obituary was online and the visitation & funeral set and no one even had told us she was gone?? And like he had a point. My mom doesn’t count. But apparently my aunt also “promised” to let my mom “be the one” to break that news, it was “important to her”, and…
I have so much to say on so many topics, honestly, but basically grief started to hit me, I started to think about the finality of it all, of how I’m her oldest grandchild and I was such a big part of my grandmother’s life, for better or worse. I started thinking about of all my grandparents, this is the one grandparent whose funeral I should go to, and I don’t want my mom stopping me, and maybe if I’m lucky my mom wouldn’t even show up since I knew she did say goodbye in the hospice place. And I’m not that afraid to face my mom, and maybe I do need this after all to really say goodbye and come to terms with her death. I didn’t want to go unless my brother was coming for emotional support basically, but… I just… I started to really grieve, and it was surprising to me, but I have a LOT of memories, some bad sure, like that story of when I got my first period. As I wrote here, in a previous blog post:
[There was] a particularly memorable Friday night when I got my first period and then chose to wait till the Saturday night, when I was safe and at my dad’s apartment, specifically far away from my mom, to show one of my parents my underwear. Of course, this was because I was worried it might not be my period. It is an embarrassing tale, and I’ll spare you some of the details, but the basic gist is that I was basically worried that the hot pink gel pen cap I’d accidentally swallowed that same week was the reason my underwear had a pinkish/reddish small tinge at first, and I didn’t want to risk my mom finding out about that, because I knew she’d be so mad at me for chewing on that pen cap. (The cap was especially smooth, and I never wanted it to go down my throat, and I’m not quite sure how it happened, but it did.) I was worried I might be seeping red dye out of my body, rather than menstrual fluid. And so my story of my first period is one where I purposely didn’t tell my mom, instead waiting till I was alone with my dad. Everyone else tells their mother. I probably would’ve told my mother had it not been for the unfortunate coincidence of the timing of the gel pen cap fiasco. I could’ve just told her, because despite her faults as a mother, I knew she had teen-sized menstrual pads on a shelf somewhere in her bedroom, just waiting for this day. Despite her abuse, she did plenty of things “right” too. But for the sake of my story here, the salient issue is that I was worried something was potentially wrong with my health, yet my 12-almost-13-year-old self didn’t feel safe about confiding the whole truth in my mother. So I didn’t say anything to her at all.
Thinking about it now, I hardly believe it, because what was I even so afraid of? I was living in this constant state of fear of “getting in trouble”, or her “getting mad”, but… but she wasn’t going to physically hurt me. I wasn’t in fear for my physical well being. I was in fear of what she’d do to psychologically torment me. A minor thing where it was probably just my period anyway, where I’d be able to talk to my dad about it soon enough — within roughly 24 hours of me discovering my discolored underwear — was not worth the risk of another outburst of my mother’s emotional abuse.
What I elided in that telling of the tale was that of course I happened to be at my grandmother’s house that Friday evening, and I got my period but was scared it was the gel pen cap’s ink, while I was in a bathroom at my grandmother’s house. The first person I neglected to talk to about this situation was my grandmother. The first guardian who wasn’t there for me in a way where I felt safe and secure enough to ask “do you think I’m being poisoned by red ink” was my grandmother. If I told my grandmother, she wouldn’t comfort me at all because she just didn’t have a comforting personality, and to add insult to injury, she’d very likely do the good “babysitter” thing and just… tell my mother. Which is what I wanted to avoid.
But there were plenty of good memories too, like a few years after my grandfather died when my grandmother needed to move into a retirement community and my dad and I were helping her clear out her home of items to take to Goodwill for donation, and my dad joked at her about how she might meet a guy at the retirement community so maybe she should save the hand sewn wedding dress from my mom still in her closet, sequins all beautifully hand-stitched on, and my grandmother laughed and really was flattered I think and pleasantly surprised but truly amused by the comment. OR the way her strawberries from her garden tasted SO delicious especially when turned into a syrupy goo by soaking them in sugar, or how she turned them into homemade strawberry Popsicles. Or how if it wasn’t for her I might have had to stay living with my abusive mom even after my main attempt to escape and just how awful that would’ve been.
My grandmother was my saving grace on the literal worst day of my life, the day I was traumatized by my mom falsely accusing my dad of a serious enough crime that I watched them drag him off in handcuffs, and I was the person responsible for figuring out what to do.
Because I was only 19 and freshly home for summer break from college, and my brother was away at high school during the day and my dad’s bail was set in the thousands of dollars, and… I wasn’t even legally old enough to post bail, nor did I have that amount of money on hand, but my grandmother was able to both pay the bail and be the person over age 21 to vouch for my father so that he could return home that night, within 17 or so hours of his arrest. And I am SO grateful for how she helped. I’m crying right now as I type about this because these memories… I mean…
I’m really really glad I went to the visitation and funeral, there were so many beautiful pictures in a slideshow one of my uncles made, and simple things I should’ve remembered that my cousin reminded me of as well as other friends/family at the visitation, from older people remembering me growing up playing Math Rabbit on her Windows MS-DOS computer, to my grandmother’s perpetual frustration with groundhogs in her garden, to how fun it was to decorate with tons of colored icing in tons of different clothing styles gingerbread men (& women!) as a holiday activity, also coloring eggs on Easter at her house, and honestly I got inspired enough when we did a holiday “graze week” at work to bring in as my contribution homemade roll-out sugar cookies because I always loved the sugar cookies best out of the basically a dozen varieties of homemade cookies she’d make each Christmas. I loved her cookies, and when I was little I even helped her bake at least a couple times and it stuck with me, because I may have cooked with my parents but I only ever specifically baked with her.
I did see my mom again, and that is kind of huge news, since I’m almost 27 and I essentially cut my mom out of my life on my 18th birthday. Since it’s been a full 7 years since I’ve seen my mom at all, during a final court situation thing. Maybe it’s what I could’ve and should’ve started off this whole blog post with. She showed up at the visitation for about an hour. The visitation was long and the story of my mom being there was horrible, but I’ll save it for another blog post. She also showed up the next day at the luncheon after the funeral (although not the funeral itself).
After the funeral was all over the emotions hit me particularly hard. I felt the finality of my grandmother’s life but also of my childhood and all ties to it completely being severed. The funeral was in the church I grew up in and the town I grew up in and I probably will never have any reason to go back there again. I have a lot of nostalgia for my hometown. I finally got overwhelming validation from all of my mother’s siblings (she’s one of 6 children) and their spouses and children that they’re sorry I grew up with my mother and there was so much love for me all at once, and I didn’t realize how much I’d been craving it, and how overwhelming it was to be validated in that way. The answer to the question “what would happen/what would you say and do if you ever saw your mom again” got answered, I saw my mom again, and maybe I’m disappointed in myself for how I acted, or maybe I’m frustrated and hurt that that my mom acted how she acted, I don’t know. I think I’m grieving her too, even though I thought I was fairly close to over all that.
I know that the wounds from childhood abuse often never completely heal, but now they’ve been ripped back open somehow further than they should be, and that combined with a sense of loss of my childhood because of the loss of a grandparent who was basically a third parent to me?? And just general grief for a woman who was an only child but had 6 children herself, a woman whose life was complicated and lonely and had it’s spots of light… it’s all a lot to process at once, while I still am adjusting to everything else about my life.
I’d been telling Robert a fair amount of all of this as I went through it these few weeks, as I decided whether or not to go to the funeral, as I began to experience grief, in fact I worried I was probably messaging him too much, but I just was overflowing with feelings and I’m someone who overshares rather than keeps things bottled up, most of the time.
I got back home from the funeral and the same day he mentioned he’d finally read the three particular posts from the Carnival of Aces on Relationship Anarchy I’d picked out as things he might think were worth reading, haha. And I was intrigued about his reaction… but it turns out a large part of his reaction was to reevaluate his own emotions and actions from earlier this year, from June when he decided to break up with me, and he basically wanted to get back together.
And I was already an emotional wreck that day. So I resented his timing quite a bit, because this was not an entirely easy or positive thing to hear (or, err, “read”, since our entire communication was text based). And it brought back up all my grief over when he broke up with me, and… I said what I needed to say to him, I asked him for confirmation of a few things and to make sure we really were on the same page…. I had already decided probably months ago that if he wanted to get back together, if he ever changed his mind and did want the future I wanted, of course I’d get back together with him, so it wasn’t that hard of a decision, but it was emotionally tough, especially when he’s still in Afghanistan for another 5 months, especially when I was sleep deprived and grieving my grandmother who was “like a third parent” and a little re-traumatized from seeing my mom…
I’m happy to be back together with him, I am. It was hard to feel happy at first, because this month has been HARD. But ultimately this is an exciting thing and I’m really glad we’re together again for a few reasons…
And oh — I do have thoughts on asexuality and privacy, but apparently I failed to write a post in time for the December 2016 Carnival of Aces. It’s already January now. I… might still try to write something quickly and post it late, but…
I’ve been going through a lot okay? So while procrastination is usually my style, this time around I had more of an excuse lol. I also had #ITPE fandom obligations to finish in December, and I always have vidding obligations because I cannot stop doing collabs apparently lol, and idk. I went on vacation with my Jewish family on my dad’s side for 5 days over Christmas and was super busy then. Actually my mom’s side of my family (sans my mom, thankfully) is having their Christmas celebration
tomorrow today, New Year’s Day, a week late just because they wanted us all to be able to make it, so I’m also pretty busy today with extended family stuff…
I did manage to finish hosting/rendering/uploading(/making my own short part for) this fanvideo collaboration before New Year’s Eve ended though:
so… partial win? 😄
There’s so much going on in my life, and I’m excited for 2017, I think this will be an amazing chapter in my life, I do.
But for the moment, I’m still struggling a little, emotionally. I’m still listening to music and finding that every single angry or sad song reminds me of my mom, especially the break-up songs lol, or the seeing your ex again after a long time songs and uh, no thanks kinda songs… because damn seeing my mom again after 7 years… and like almost crying over all the sad ones… even as I try to listen to it on headphones while at work or while on my long commute home or while doing the dishes… 😄 And sometimes I’m happy and thinking about my qpp and I get pretty much teary too like, everything I feel is in overdrive…
I need time to heal, I think. The grief that keeps me on edge all the time will pass. It’s been exactly one month and I’m… gonna still try to finish the fanvideo I started to get out some of my emotions over my situation with my grandmother’s death and what she meant in my life’s story. Those videos are cathartic and if I had more time these days I would be finished it already.
(If you could leave a comment to let me know you actually read to the end, or at least “like” the post, that would be so appreciated. I hate feeling like I’m talking to myself.)