What Price Family?

The weekend before last a friend of mine and I went on a picnic, and while there, my friend encouraged me to buy my aunt flowers for Mother’s Day.  More than that, she encouraged me to spend time with my aunt and her family, who I am living with right now, in their converted garage, next to their house.  “Her little girls love you, you know,” my friend pointed out.  “And they do so much for you.  I don’t understand why you want to so much time with me and all of your other friends and almost never do anything with your family.  You should visit them more.  They would like that.”

I did get my aunt flowers for Mother’s Day, and as my current mother figure, she was very grateful for them.  Afterwards, she insisted on buying and making me food because I am recovering from a killer flu, and she believes that I should keep eating in order to recover.  I hate eating and moreover, I hate eating her food.  I hate when people make me eat.  As people attempt to shove things down my throat I just don’t like I often freak out, lose my temper, and snap at them.  My aunt went grocery shopping for me, buying me bread (which I will have to eat fast, because I don’t have any place to put it and the bugs that swarm my place.  Hey, at $350 a month, what do you expect?), and soda, which won’t fit in my miniature refrigerator and I have no ice for.  She did buy me candy bars, too, which I like a great deal, as I can barely taste much of anything else with my illness raging.  But then she sent me more of her stinky Indian food, and I got fed up.  I threw it out, texted her thanks, but told her I can’t store it, don’t like eating Indian food while I’m sick, and please do not send any more.  She texted an okay, said she would not, and despite being able to detect tone in a text, I can’t help feeling like I offended her, and I feel terrible about it, while simultaneously resenting that she’s now made me feel terrible, and I never asked for her food in the first place.

I know I probably sound like a brat and again, and resent that I feel bad for sounding like a brat after just expressing how I feel.  This is the bane of my existence, and always has been.  The people who love me and are willing to do the most for me are never the people I want to love me or do the most for me, and never seem to give me what I want, only what they think I should want.  The people whose favor I crave – my friends – often have a cursory interest in me at best.  I see them on Facebook more often than in real life, but would give anything to see and talk to them every day, like I could my aunt and her family.  I know that I am in the wrong, because people never tire of telling me that I am.  But I just never feel like I am supposed to.

I remember when I was with my ex, I went to visit her family, and they gave me deviled eggs.  Generally speaking, I hate eggs.  There are only a few ways they’re prepared that I like them, and as with many foods, because of the way they smell, I could do without them altogether.  Eggs and Indian food are examples of things to eat that I could never eat again and be okay with it.  I was with her, though, it was her family, so I decided I would try them.  As the egg approached my face, with her whole family watching, I began to gag.  But kept trying.  And kept gagging.  Until finally her father told me to throw them out, laughing his big, jolly Black country ass off at my trying to eat something I clearly didn’t like.  At that point, I knew that her family were cool, and that I could be myself with them.  They had no expectation of my eating things that I didn’t want to eat.  Just my being good to his daughter, and spending time with them was enough for her father, and by extension, her family.

I loved that.  I loved being accepted just for being myself, not being judged, not being expected to do or say or like things I didn’t.  I loved that their feelings weren’t hurt by my not living up to their expectations.  That’s what I get from my best friends.  That’s what I don’t get from my extended family.  My immediate family?  No problem.  My sister and my father do love me for who I am.  They do wish I did this, that, or the other better, and I do feel guilty about it.  But they still love me all the same, don’t get hurt by what I do or don’t do (that I know of), and when they see that I am trying, they appreciate it.  My sister is best of all – she lets me actually discuss how I feel, which is what I value most but get to do the least.  My therapist is trying to teach me to date, for example, and the hardest part is learning not to do what I would naturally, meaning talk openly about how I feel, anxieties, discomfort and all.  You see, that’s “oversharing,” a big  no no in that it’s what got me to this point.  It’s why I don’t blog under my real name, keep all my social media private, rarely post pictures of myself or do anything that would indicate I was really me.  The real me, I’ve learned, is often awful to others if they haven’t been given context first.  So in dealing with the world, I usually pretend to be somebody else, because it’s safer.  With my sister and father, I’m mostly me.  With my extended family, they don’t like that.

And yet, they keep trying to help me, and I take the help because I need it, despite feeling guilty at my inability to give back.  I am not going to say unwillingness because I would give anything to be able to give them what they want most, but what they want most is unnatural to me, and what I do naturally offends or hurts them.  So I avoid them, because at least then I can’t make things worse.  But my friend says that I shouldn’t.  So I dunno.

This is how I keep getting reminded that more than likely, there is something just naturally wrong with me.  People give me love, and I can’t reciprocate it in the way they want it.  If I try to be me, they reject it.  Maybe I really am just meant to be alone.

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