Friday, November 20, 2015

Family. Holidays.

Growing up I dreamed of a closeness to family and had a belief in loyalty to those I was related to. As a child I had a very hard time understanding the dynamics of my family and the way that my family members behaved towards each other. Everyone spoke so horribly about everyone behind their backs and then face to face it was like nothing was said. My aunt would scream at my mom and kick us out of her house. She would say things to me as a young child based on her jealously of my mother. Almost begrudging, me, a little girl of the luxuries she was afforded by being born to the right parents. Her husband didn't work as hard as my dad, I thought as a kid so what's her problem? Work harder then.   

My moms parents had 5 grandchildren and they favored the other 4. To my grandmother I was the fat granddaughter she continually needed to remind.  My aunt turned my grandparents against my mom by saying she flaunted her lifestyle in her face and she needed them more So, they rarely stayed at our house when they would come to LA for the summer . My other grandma was so cheap that she resented my parents wealth and felt entitled. I never had a grandparent come for grandparents day. I always had the negative things being said behind everyone's back in my head. I had a room next to my parents office growing up so I really heard all sides of the stories.  It's hard to bond with people who are so fake to each other. I tried to be a good cousin to all my cousins and brothers but none of them know what loyalty or thoughtfulness means. They do know what gossip is and they all took the first chance they could to bash me to each other and to others.  This is not how family behaves. At 13 I discovered playing sick and would try to be sick  around the time of any family function.  Especially those at my aunts house, where not only the food was gross but so was the environment. This weird fakeness and underlying tone of distain and jealousy was overwhelming. 

It took many years of silence of family secrets and bullshit until one Passover. The Passover that finally set me free. I had just walked in after braving the 101 traffic for 2 hours from work and stopping to pick up stuff for my mom. My hands were over full trying to carry everything in with one trip and before I could put anything down my bitter aunt says in her awful NY judging voice, "you could say hello to us like a mensch?"  (Mensch is a Yiddish word for good person) This coming from a lady who is hiding that she ever had a first marriage and told me to email her daughters as a good older cousin, to no response from either girl. So here she is implying I'm not a good person because I wanted to put my stuff down without saying hi first and take a minute to do so. "I responded with, oh like your daughters who can't answer an email?"  Her response was "well maybe there's a good reason people don't write you back, Amy!"

What!?  That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. 23 years of this horrible, purposefully jabbing, hateful, jealous person who was always the victim. She knows everything and is perfect. Well, I told her off via email and included how if she was so perfect then why never mention her divorce to anyone and hide it. I let her know what everyone thought but nobody would say to her face and cc'd my entire family. Enough was enough and I have never put myself in a position to be abused by her or anyone in her terrible family again. 

Life is about happiness and the people who bring love to your life. Who build you up and are happy for you no matter what. I didn't find that with my natural blood relatives, including my brothers. It's how my family is at its core that I've struggled to understand since childhood. I love my parents, have a wonderful connection to my uncle and have a few distant cousins I love but that's where it ends for me with my blood family. And it's perfectly ok. 

I spend my holidays not in forced situations with people I have no connection with or love for but with people who are my family. Every occasion has been filled with love and joy since the day I took a stand and said fuck off, I'll be spending my holidays with people who really want to be my family because we treat each other like family should. Choose happiness over unnecessary obligation and be really thankful for your real family!

There's a reason these are my most used words on Facebook.... I've made it this way! 

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