For all the times I’ve been called a ‘baby’ or ‘childish’ by my older siblings, it’s amazing how quickly my eldest brother runs to our uncle with every little thing I say or write. My bitch sister did that, too, as if gathering up the shock and awe of all our aunts and uncles would somehow make her righteous in the matter. Naturally, my uncle gets half the conversation – my rant. Then I receive (as I did this morning), an email from my uncle that pussyfoots around anything that actually matters and only explains whatever my uncle feels needs explaining. Today it’s political views in the US. Almost a word-for-word reply to the message I sent to my oldest brother; which is more than my oldest brother ever bothered to answer with. He ends with “I know you favor the socialists….don’t want to fight…just bounce ideas around a bit.” *sigh* This is the reply I want to send right now:
Uncle D., I believe what’s prompted this latest email from you is a message – a private message – I sent my brother, D. This is not the first time a private message I sent to one of my siblings ended up becoming public: I shall never forget nor forgive K’s shameful message, blindly sent to you and my other aunts and uncles to humiliate me. This is a real problem. When I write to someone directly, I am saying what I say to that person and ONLY that person. D has long been an ass politically; he has the temperament of a child throwing a fit saying ‘mine, mine, mine’ with his hard right wing bullshit. I have had to live with that growing up, and I felt it was about time he know how I felt about the ugly rhetoric that falls out his mouth. More than that, uncle….I have never felt my older siblings respected my opinions, my knowledge, nor my experience. I think I understand the dynamics of what’s happening, though that doesn’t make it any easier for me to deal with. What I do not understand is how I can continually be accused of being a baby, acting like a baby, or having a baby’s views, yet it is THEY who continually run to you with every little thing I say or write. If D was so upset by what I wrote, so worried about how I felt, why did he not address me himself? He claims to be an articulate grown up; let him fight his own fights or at LEAST explain himself! You do not need to do it for him. As for D., I noticed that he’s avoided answering the one real question I posed to him in my note. I wanted him to understand that when he spouts off with degrading and nasty comments on any group of people, I tend to stand with those people politically. And D HAS spouted degrading and nasty comments about people; I’ve watched his FB page, and know. I posed to him the question of whether or not he’d line up with a gun to shoot me down if a stand-off like that ever occurred. I wanted to find out if he cared more about his political views or the people he supposedly ‘loved’, because the two seem completely incongruous to me.
You, uncle, do not need to answer that question for me. You already have, with everything you’ve done. You’ve shown respect for my views even though you don’t agree with me. For that, you have my infinite thanks and equal respect in kind. You’ve helped me, talked to me, and shown me in every way that you care – and I care deeply for you because of it. Please do not let either D nor K bother you with anything I say to them privately; that is between me and my siblings. Behind every word is a long story – and it’s an ongoing story, as I work to sort out my issues. Neither D nor K really know me. They never have. The reasons behind that are three times as long as this message, so I won’t get into them. But take it as a given that I never felt safe enough to be myself with anyone for the first 30 years of my life. I’ve been so afraid of it that I’ve had a difficult time making choices because I didn’t know what I even wanted. I will always be grateful to T for taking me so far away from everything I’m familiar with. Had I continued to live in close proximity to the family, with the yoke of disrespect I felt everyone had for me…well, I can’t say what exactly would have happened, but I can tell you this: it would have been Hell for me. I don’t think I would have ever found myself under those conditions. And I certainly would not have been happy.
I know I cannot tell you to not care about any fighting between me and my siblings. You took up that burden for the family, didn’t you? I find it admirable. I know your health is not wonderful, yet you work to keep connected with everyone. Even me. I wish I could tell you that all is forgiven between me and K or me and D, but I can’t do that with a clear heart. I did it for Mom. I did if for Dad. I want to do it for you, too, but if I do it one more time – if I give in without speaking up just once more – I feel I’ll be giving up forever on myself. I MUST be myself. Perhaps I’m not doing things eloquently or well, and for that I apologize. I apologize, too, for the long buried anger that often finds its way into my words. But I’ve long suspected that, had we not shared DNA and family memories, my siblings and I wouldn’t be friends. If that occurs, it is not on you. It is not on Mom, nor on Dad. It is on the three of us, and our inability to find our way past our shared history.