Tuesday, April 02, 2013

You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can't.*

The big news around here is that SisterCh is expecting her first baby in the fall - this is very exciting, not just for Woo Hoo, Baby! reasons, but also because she's been trying for a while, and I know she was super worried about whether it would ever happen at all. While I could not be happier for her, I will admit to also having some very complicated feelings around the whole situation.

First off, I'm super excited, as I said. She's a great step-mom to her husband's two boys, and I know she's going to be a great mama to a new baby, even if I really can't comprehend the idea of someone whose diapers I changed physically being pregnant. (This is probably something I will never comprehend.) I'm happy for her, because she was so worried about not getting pregnant, and fearful that maybe that would be a permanent problem. (Even though she has just turned 27, and we all tried to tell her she had plenty of time, that is not helpful if you are in the middle of the worry. It just isn't.)

But besides being excited and pleased, and more than a little eager to see how she copes with a newborn who is not a cat, I am also full of lesser and more shameful emotions for myself. I'm jealous, as I am now when anyone - or as it seems lately, everyone - in my sphere announces they're expecting. That's not something I'm proud of, but I'm also not particularly ashamed of it, since A)it's not the feeling that comes first or strongest and B) why the hell shouldn't I envy people who are experiencing things I want to experience? Should I be pleased that I'm seeing the PT instead of the OB? Because I'm not. To pretend otherwise seems ridiculous.

Which doesn't mean I shout and vent about my jealousy anytime someone with a baby bump approaches me - I have one or two select people who I can rant to about the seeming inequality of someone having triplets, but for the most part, it's happy face ahoy! It's weird, that you can be so excited for someone else, and so disappointed for yourself at exactly the same moment, but it's true.

But there are other issues surrounding SisterCh's pregnancy that keep all the feels creeping up on me. She was recently laid off, and didn't tell me about it. In fact, she continued to act like she would be going to work without straight up coming out and lying to my face about it. When I found out from someone else, I was confused. Then another sister said something about "Well she was embarrassed. And this house isn't exactly good at being positive about things." Which was like: OK. Well. I'll be over here in the corner, positively digging the pieces of this little dagger out of my heart.

 It doesn't seem like a lot, that sentence there, but the whole hiding it and then finding out that the reason she didn't tell us (she kept it from my parents as well, and I don't know if I was the main offender in the "less positive" rationale or a non-able-to-keep-secrets-bystander) was because we're negative about shit - it was an unexpected slap, I guess.

Because I try so hard to be positive that sometimes I feel like I should buy little pom poms and carry them around with me. I feel like I am the cheerleader for every freaking body in this family, all the fucking time! (And wow: this post sounds super cheerleader-y, NTE! Great evidence, all this ranting and raving about happy news.Well, no; but I'm not talking to them, I'm talking to you.) It was like a literal blow to me, sitting there at the table over Easter dinner, because I'm the one who says "You can do this" when nobody else shows up. I'm the one who sends cards that say "This day sucks, and yesterday sucked, but tomorrow might not, so let's find out together." I'm the one who knows you ain't going back to school this time either, but I'll spend three days tracking down the financial aid forms I helped you fill out last time - without rolling my eyes, even, because you need someone to be on your side.  I'm the one who tries so hard to find peaceful solutions in the midst of what seems like a perpetual family tornado, and it was like... wow, so, I guess a) nobody else thinks that I do that and b) why the hell have I been trying so hard for so long, then?

I'm not saying that I'm never negative - Hell, all you have to do is read two posts here to see that isn't true - but, for the most part, I'm negative about Me. I can literally think of only two things in my family that I am consistently negative about that other people are not - my dad (which I feel like I have to be, because I'm the only person who doesn't immediately forgive him for things that are not immediately forgivable, and because I feel like I have 33 years of evidence for believing the worst, plus I am the only one still living here - it is easy to say "let it go" when you don't have to live with it everyday) and my health (which, ditto: I'm the one living with it and all your cheery assessments and 'vinegar cures' in the world are only going to make me want to punch you).

But my family?  Is super negative about a lot of things, just in general - we're a sarcastic lot, by and large; we all make digs about things that happened 17 years ago (I just happen to have the best memory); we all shuffle and sigh when someone tells us they're going to change something we know they have no intention of changing; we'd all rather take a nap than take a walk - but that's just us.
I don't feel like I am a spectacularly negative person, and I feel like I make an extraordinary effort (on an almost daily basis) not to be negative - some people are naturally cheery and optimistic: I am not, and yet I try to be.

So I'm not Little Miss Sunshine, surely, but I do feel like someone you can depend on when things are falling apart, and to find out that at least two of my sisters don't exactly agree with me about that, it really hurt. I still just... can't.

Ok, there's more to this, but it was all sounding very martyr-y, and I am no martyr.  I just ... well it stung, and it was surprising, and it made me feel super unappreciated.  Which sucks.  But I think I'm maybe taking an off-hand comment really personally, and I'm going to try to let it go.  I like being the family cheerleader... I like it when other people are the cheerleaders too, so it doesn't feel like it's something that sits solely on my shoulders.  I realize that that is a responsibility I've given myself, and that I'm really upset by the idea that people can't come to me when they're in trouble because I know that sometimes they just can't.  It is a fundamental flaw in living a life with chronic illnesses - sometimes you are forced out of the loop, into unplug, back into your cocoon.  So I should be glad that they have each other to rely on, and I am.  I guess it's just another - less expected - place of jealousy.

So there you have it: a couple of late-night, green-eyed confessions that make me feel both ridiculous and full of myself - I'm jealous of all the baby-having that does include me (even while I'm totally on board with the additional Auntie-ing that comes along with it), and I'm mad that people don't think I'm supportive enough that they can tell me things and depend on me when the chips are down.  It sort of seems like those two things might be two sides of the same coin?  Maybe I'm not as good at being a cheerleader as I'd like to be.  I know I'm not, since I'm hardly ever rooting for myself, which is a big problem.

Now that I've babbled it all out here, looks like a) my cheerleading skills are not as shiny as I hoped they were; b) everything else is about me feeling left out/left behind.  And that's a sucky feeling.  Gotta work on moving somewhere, anywhere, just so long as I'm not stalled here anymore. 

For tonight, though, I'm off to bed.  Night all. 

*The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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