Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Casting Call

As I review my topics, I'm getting kinda nervous. Do I start off upbeat or do I dredge through the sludge and try to make sense of it. Begrudgingly, I decide to tackle the elephant in the room. I figure it will clear my mind for carefully scripted prose to move in. The difficult topic, you may ask?

Family. Sigh.

Seriously, no seriously, I wish I could send out a casting call for family members. I often see celebrities on TV in various interviews and starring in various TV programs and I think to myself "Wow this person would be perfect as my grandmother/aunt/uncle/cousin". Am I the only person that does this???

First, let me state a disclaimer. I would not want to recast my ENTIRE family. Ironically, the people I share the closest percentage of a DNA match are the ones that need to be swapped out of my life like Aunt Viv on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. My extended family of cousins and my father's side of my family, while I don't know them that well, are not the people I'm referring to in this post. Specifically, I speak of my mother's mother, my mother's sisters, and through annoyance, my mother's nephew.

During my mother's illness they provided absolutely no support to me. I wish I made this up; it would make for a great dramatic series and I would be Shonda Rhimes PAID. One of my mother's sisters lives in the same city where my mother was hospitalized for over 3 weeks and never showed up. Not once. Not ever. Not even a phone call. And she wonders why I don't respect her. My mother's mother was content to allow me to see my mother on a respirator in a coma alllll by myself, even though she lives 30 minutes away from the hospital. And then when she finally came to the hospital while I was there, the only thing she asked me was "Did you cry when you saw her?" as if that's some indication as to how much I love my mother. For the record, after being in the room for all of approximately 10 seconds and seeing my mother hooked up to all those damn machines and tubes in her mouth I lost it and had to be gently escorted to the family room by strangers. How's that for love??? My mother's other sister decided to continue to not speak to me over some petty shit that occurred months ago. Despite the uncertainty of her sister's illness, she felt it was best to not reach out to her sister's only child. Such a Christian. My mother's nephew called me 3 weeks into the ordeal and said he didn't realize her illness was that serious. My response? "How do you spell serious? I-C-U or C-O-M-A, fool!". Throughout this entire ordeal, they never ever ever reached out to me to see how I was doing or if I needed anything. Not one time. I got more support from neighbors, friends, non-immediate family, and you guys than I received from these people. This is probably why I am sooooooo eternally grateful to each and every one of you. You filled a void without even knowing it. Shit, for most of you, without even knowing me personally.

So months later, what do I do with this?? To say I'm hurt is an understatement. Funny I'm only mildly shocked (my family has done so much crap in the past that this incident was just another drop in the proverbial shit bucket). But this time, I took a stand. Instead of keeping it bottled in, I spoke to my mom about it. One of the best gifts that has ever come out of this ordeal is my mom and I communicate like never before. We spend hours just talking and it feels like mere minutes. I believe we have a better understanding and appreciation for each other as women. So I told her how I felt and told her that I would not be guilted into just "letting it go." Quite frankly, I don't know if I can ever just let this go. So without the aid of the holiday husband I've searched for in the past, I decided I would not spend any of the holidays with these people and would not make any excuses as to why I wouldn't be there. No holiday husband. No sudden case of bird-swine-canine-feline-human flu. I took a stance and simply said "No!"

Thanksgiving was easy. No one wanted to travel and they definitely didn't want my mother to travel so we spent the eating frenzied holiday with my great aunts and cousins. My baby sister, who's a recent South to North transplant spent the day with us as well. Best Thanksgiving I've had in a lonnnnnnnnng time. As Christmas neared, I could tell my mother was a little nervous. The topic of where to spend Christmas holiday did not come up until the week of Christmas. Once I heard that the family was gathering at my mother's sister's house, I knew there was no way in BET hell I would spend the day there. Would you enter the home of someone who has made it very clear that they won't utter one word to you??? I was content to spend the morning with my mother, make sure she got to her sister's house, and then partake in the New York non-Christian tradition of a movie and Chinese food on Christmas Day. I started stock piling my snacks to smuggle into the theater and timed the movies so I could actually do a 2 for 1 deal at the theater.

Christmas Day arrived and after Santa surprised the hell out of me, my mom and I went to a friend's house for her annual Christmas brunch. My mom and I toasted multiple times with the ever-flowing mimosas. She laughed and really enjoyed being with my friends and all of their shenanigans. GOOD TIMES. A few hours later, she went off to her sister's house and I eventually mosied over to a cousin's house for a quiet but entertaining wine flowing dinner. I didn't make it to the movies as originally planned, but my day was drama free. And quite honestly, that's all I wanted for Christmas.

So here we are in a New Year. And I don't have to deal with the original family cast for a while. My mother's birthday is next month and I'm secretly wishing she doesn't want to get together with these folks. Because her born day is the ONLY day I'm willing to do whatever she wants. I really don't know how to deal with these people. Do I fake it? Do I let it go? Do i drink my self into a stupor to tolerate being around these people for a few hours?? Do I completely sever ties? Severing ties with this group of people is hard because the ripple effect is so great - I miss my godsons immensely and I know it saddens my mother (she respects my decision but I don't know how long that will last). But right now I feel it is so damn necessary. In any other aspect of life, you choose who you let into your life, who you interact with, and how much involvement they have in your life. If a boyfriend wronged you REPEATEDLY, you break up. If a friend turns their back on you, you stop hanging out with them. So why can't the same thing be done with family?? I'm on to the next one. Somebody call the casting agent, please.

For those of you wondering who my cast would be, I would cast Patti LaBelle and Paula Dean as my grandmothers (I'm not even biracial but yeah these 2), Vanessa Williams, Regina King, and Traci Ellis Ross as my aunts, and Reggie Bush as my cousin (Sidebar: since I don't have an older sister, Traci Ellis Ross would be cast as my young aunt who would be like a sister to me...hahahaha). The list is completely random but this would be the new family cast in my comedic drama series called "Life".


rashad said...

This felt like a much-needed vent, and I feel you. The older I get, the more I realize how much I dislike some family members. I choose to love them from afar..very far.

Luna said...

This was an INTERESTINGLY beautiful way of talking about Life and GIRL I FEEL YOU!