My younger brother called me out of the blue the other day. Actually, he wasn’t calling me. Butt-dialed, miss-dialed, drunk-dialed…whatever it was, he called me. It happens sometimes. But because I am me and he is a part of the toxicity that is most of my family, it was all my fault…all my fault that he called me by mistake and I was the one to waste his time because it took him five minutes to realize that I wasn’t “Louie” but his sister…no, not his younger sister…but the other sister…yeah, that sister. I know this because he told me so…and then continued to blow up my voice mail and text messages, my email and all over my Facebook timeline to make sure that I knew this. This is me. This is my family. This is what they do when I fail them in some real or real only in their mind way. This always was and sometimes occasionally continues to be my life…the toxic family life I try so hard to stay away from, to shield my circus from.
I’m not too much of a fan of Taylor Swift, as cute and adorable as she is but still I find her lyrics to “Mean” circulating through my head lately.
You, with your words like knives and swords and weapons that you use against me
You have knocked me off my feet again got me feeling like I’m nothing
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard, calling me out when I’m wounded
You, pickin’ on the weaker man…
You, with your switching sides and your walk-by lies and your humiliation
You, have pointed out my flaws again as if I don’t already see them
I’ll walk with my head down trying to block you out ’cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again
I have had a lifetime of mean from people whom I share DNA with, people who tell me they love me sometimes but more often will tell me everything, and I do mean everything, that is wrong with me. They point out all my flaws, all my poor choices, my bad parenting decisions, my actions that always serve to disappoint them…because it is indeed all about them.
Yet it isn’t all about them all the time.
I know that much is true even when I apologize and forgive them and keep them at arms length; because although what didn’t kill me and made me stronger doesn’t mean that I have to choose to accept your incessant criticisms to my face, or by phone or by text messages or email or snail mail or anywhere else. When I was a child I could not choose to filter it out. You made it painfully clear that I could not.
But now I can.
Now I do.
Because you haven’t killed me. You made me stronger.
I know, I know. Believe me, I know. In your eyes, in your heart, I suck. I am worthless. I piss you off. I disappoint you. I should be agreeing with you and your criticisms and that I don’t deserve you or your “love”.
But I don’t.
It’s true, all you are going to always be is mean.
I love you still…we are and will remain family and a lifetime of you kicking me down in every way possible doesn’t change the fact that I still love you…oh dysfunction! But thanks to your toxic kind of love, I have been molded and shaped into the person who I am today. The person who sees your kind of love for what it is. Not the kind of love I deserve. No. I am so much more than you see me as.
So much more.
And you don’t deserve me at all.
Note: If you are reading this and are my family and imagine that I am writing this about you well, you are correct. Just know that sometimes to survive you, to forgive you and to try to continue to love you in spite of who you are and how you continue to treat me I have to get your shit off of my chest, out of my head and out of my heart or I just might shatter into a million little pieces…and then who are you going to be mean to? Really? Get over it or better yet just add it to the list you keep of all that is wrong with me. I’m fine with that because I know that is who you are.