Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Fucking Holidays

My mom and I had one of those awkward conversations last night where I could tell she was already in a bad mood and I had smoked too much hash to truly discuss anything of serious weight but I was intent on doing so anyway because goddamn do I love to philosophize after smoking. She started complaining about how my little sister Ali was upset that our Stepmom had gone with she and our Dad to get the Christmas tree this year because that was "their thing" and she felt like some special holiday tradition was somehow being infringed upon. My mom had no patience for this observation and fired something back to the effect of, "Dad and Anmarie have been married for almost four years now, when are you going to get used to it?"

The answer to that question is: never. Or, at least not until Ali moves out and lives on her own away from the constant reminders that our family is the 21st century version of "normal" in that we have four parents and a stepbrother and a large extended family that buys us holiday gifts but doesn't know our middle names. My mother retorted by saying, "What did your father and I ever do to you girls? It was a life change and we were all equally impacted by it." I dropped the second spliff I was rolling and I said this to my mother, and perhaps it is unfair -- in fact I am well aware that it is completely unfair but the entire situation is unfair, and guess what, as my Dad likes to say, "LIFE isn't fair," so I said something to the extent of: "Mother, it is your fault, because Ali and I didn't divorce you guys-- you divorced each other. So forever, until we are all dead, Ali and I will be the victims of this situation. And we are allowed to feel however unfairly we want to about it because it was an unfair situation. YOU did this to US and we try our best to not remind you of it frequently but sometimes, especially around the holidays, we are all reminded, and it is unpleasant, because nobody likes to feel guilty but sometimes that's just what happens."

And my mother said, "But what did we do to you? Life changed! It could be so much worse. You are so lucky it was as amicable as it was."

Sure, but everything is relative. I am well aware that I am luckier than roughly 80% of the world, though it is those other 20% that I frequently rub up against at NYU. I can't help but feel completely incredulously about my mother's attitude, because it was awhile ago, but these feelings don't ebb easily, and it was a life change, but it was one they actively pursued and thus exacted upon their children. It's obvious that things would have been easier if the divorce had never happened, if my mom had taken the necessary medications earlier on that wouldn't make me so perfectly attuned to her perilously shifting moods, if my father wasn't working all the time. So part of it isn't their fault, but a grand portion of it is, and just because it's been six years doesn't mean that blame goes away. I don't think it ever truly does. It feels softer after you move out and you forge your own life and you understand that adult relationships are complicated and divorce basically inevitable. You forgive but you don't forget and it doesn't go away. And that's something that we all have to live with.

-Jess

1 comment:

redmidget said...

Having detected self pity, I am leaving.