Tuesday, March 3, 2020

When Your Family Hates You, but Loves You for Your Lie

I don’t specifically talk about my politics. I vote. I study. I make informed decisions. As an author it’s quite common to be told not to be political. Just write and shut up. Politics and religion are a downer. But in the political climate and the crescendo of panic building to the next election there’s something that bothers me more than anything.
My family hates me. Well, maybe not in the sense of personal hate, but everything about me. And that’s what I wanted to write this post about. I have a few members of my family on my social media accounts. I usually snooze them, so I don’t see the hatefulness they have for me.
For several years I’ve worked very hard to get where I am. To find the place where I’m comfortable in my own skin. Reluctantly embraced sobriety, with the occasional fall off the proverbial wagon. Just something about Jack Daniels that makes life a little easier to deal with—for a few hours at least. Then Day One begins again and I have to admit that I’m an addict and alcoholic all over again. The sweet bliss of not giving a shit it’s impossible to resist that numbness.
Social media is a double-edged sword suspended above you as you scroll through your feeds. So-called acquaintances and friends posting mentally and emotionally harmful things. And in some ways, you can ignore those, but when those few family members post you remember some of the good times. The times they had your back. The people that offered you a hand when you were down. And in a stupid meme or a few sentences you realize again that they loved the lie of you more than you.
You are nothing more than a thing they abhor.
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but I am a nonbinary, lesbian who is fat and hairy with mental illnesses including suicidal ideation. I’m a person who has strong beliefs on politics dealing with true allies, racism and bigotry, body autonomy and fatphobia, and mental health stigma. I put all these in my books that I write. Sometimes subtle in nature and sometimes, well, not so subtle.
Yes, I write for a living, but at the core of what I do it’s my therapy. A way to create a world that I’d wished I’d lived in growing up. My own internalized homophobia kept me in the closet, depressed and self-loathing, too drunk or tweaked out to care that I became more familiar with a punch than a hug. Part of me hoped one day the beating of man would end the suffering I couldn’t do for myself.
Intellectually I know that I can’t control what others think of me. What strangers or brief casual friends think of me doesn’t matter to me. Those have nothing to do with me. Their opinion is just that…theirs. Does it hurt on occasion: yes. I won’t lie about that.  I have things I would’ve done different if I could’ve possibly been stronger mentally and emotionally. Although, I won’t regret anything I’ve done. I wouldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t.
Part of me was sure I’d already be dead, hell, I didn’t think I’d make it until thirty. Now I’m a few days away from forty-two and to be honest I’ve done quite a bit of damage to myself. I accept what I did to myself out of self-loathing, but it doesn’t absolve me of my sins.
People can hate me for a lot of things. My politics. My Atheism. My Masculinity. My Body Hair. Hate me, that’s on you and has nothing to do with me. That’s your right. But I won’t change any of what I am to fit. I did that for too many years.
Family is held to some high esteem. People are always so quick to say but they’re your family. No, family doesn’t hate. They don’t do things or support people knowing the act or person wants to destroy you. Deny you healthcare. Protections under law. Murder you for who you are. Victim blame/shame.
Family doesn’t forget to help you up when you’re pushed down. They don’t allow you to be harmed because you don’t fit their idea of an acceptable human. Trust isn’t easy for me. I’m paranoid and prefer to be left alone, but the very small circle I have doesn’t care about the things my biological family hate about me.
Maybe I should be thankful people always show their true colors sooner or later. It helps to break those toxic connections no matter how small or great the bond. When your family hates you, find or build your own. Blood family isn’t a default. You don’t have to fall to your knees and bow to people who hate you no matter how much you’re connected or what loyalty you feel.
Remember it’s okay to cut ties. It’s going to hurt. Maybe one day the people you had to leave behind might realize you’re more important than some ideology based on bigotry. I believe people can change for the better or worst. How people treat you or others is all that matters. When they believe in policies and ideologies that are harmful to you, take it as a sign it may be time to move on.
My family won’t suddenly change. I won’t ever spend time with them. Won’t take a person home to meet them. Sometimes I think of it as a loss. Everyone gets homesick even when that home contains toxic people. Yet how can I sit down at a table with individuals who might not want me out of the picture, but human beings just like me? I can’t. You have to do what’s best for you, but think about your mental health and how much happier you’d be with people who accept you for your truth instead of loving you for your lie.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I wonder if you chose to be born into your family to learn you only need yourself. They know the best ways to hurt you and never pull punches. They leave you hungering for affection that you will never have, but are always trying to earn. As if there would ever be a payoff. Then the ultimate lesson that you are truly alone in this life no matter how much you give.
    The lesson? You must love yourself. Cold solice when you crave affection. But, it is the only road to sanity.