the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

The cartharsis continues…

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Normally I'd be too fearful and embarrassed to relate family drama, but for some reason it's enough of a release I'll take my chances… somewhat.  Thank God for gated communities.

When this show first came out, it was too painful to relate to.  It was only when it hit syndication when I got hooked and started watching it faithfully (there's something about scheduled reruns, I suppose) that I began to appreciate the humor in a "Thank God my family life isn't/wasn't that bad" sort of way.  Moreover, I think much of my own experiences (although Cimmy and I are both the eldest of our families) would be just as hilarious if they weren't so true.

1.  When I was about eight, my aunt (my dad's older brother's wife– my father is a middle child, speaking of the show) decided not to speak to my folks anymore.  It had something to do with a resentment of them "stealing" their precious time from my paternal grandmother– a jealousy of sorts over the amount of time my family spent with her.  Needless to say, it was very, very awkward when it was just us kids allowed to come over and visit.

Years later, when the youngest of her kids got married and had their first child, word leaked out that she had "disowned" some of her children, and he happened to be one of them.  I'm not completely sure if that's blown over or not.

My wife tried to make contact recently, but my uncle pushed her away.  He was too overwhelmed by my aunt's recent fight with cancer.

2.  The fights between myself and child #2/sister #1 (the eldest of my three younger sisters– and they were my only siblings) were the stuff of legend.

When child #3/sister #2 was born, Sister #1 took a bloody bite out of my hand as Sister #2 was being born.  My parents had decided upon the great wisdom of leaving two little children alone in the waiting room.  A Kleenex offered by the only other soul in the room– an older lady– had to suffice until the wound could be bandaged at home.

Around or before the same time, I got so mad with Sister #1 that I beat her head on the corner of a wall, requiring about 3 stitches.  I doubt she's ever truly forgiven me for that one.

In high school, she also pulled a kitchen knife on me.  That evening I wound up trying to explain the cuts on my hand (don't hold it so hard!) to the girl I was dancing with, and that they were from trying to take the knife from her… by the blade.

Towards the end of my college/uni years, she pulled me out of church right out of the blue to have lunch at Roslyn's Cafe (not the one that they taped the show at– that was the restaurant).  She got so pissed when the waitress gave the bill to me.

3. My father's younger brother and his family had a tendency to proverbially drop off the face of the earth for periods at a time.  Cimmy and I caught up with them after we got married and were still at school– they decided to appear.  Maybe it was because the rest of the family wasn't present.  I think we met up visiting my paternal grandmother before she died.  Incidentally, she was the one I trusted the most concerning the beginning of our courtship, because she was the person I told first.  She took a real shine to Cimmy and it was heartbreaking to see her not recognize her (and pregnant with our first child) when she was stricken with Alzheimer's in her last living years.

4. Oh, the visitors at our house.  We seemed to pick up some head cases now and then.  One of sister #2's friends was experiencing really bad family trouble, and stayed at our home for a time.  My counselor at the time shat a brick when I related it to her.  It was something about "the sexual fantasies of a 13 year old girl" and the eminent danger that posed to me.  She wound up attempting suicide before she was sent out to go to the foster care system for a while.

Then there was sister #1's lovers.  Her "here, queer, loud, and proud" coming out is a whole story unto itself.  With her first girlfriend (who was Muslim), it was flee to Seattle.  Then it was Muslim family kicked her out, so then she came to live at the house.  Then it was family shipped her away to North Carolina, and sister followed her and took on an alternate identity to avoid being recognized by her family.

My family (at least the elder set) rejoiced when she married a man.  I had some mixed feelings about that.

5. If you think guys are pervs and have probs with the intarwebz that way, you can imagine the extreme discomfort when I learned sister #2 was cybersexing someone.  I knew something was up from various experiences, and was pretending not to care when someone on the BBS hacked her conversations and dropped them right into my lap.

6. Sister #3 is a curious paradox– she is staunchly active in our church, but seems to rebel in more subtle ways.  She's also a self-proclaimed "first generation" feminist.  That again is not bad, but she has this strange Utah disease of insisting to family members she is right about one thing or another.  One of them was to insist sister #2 breast feed her first child, even though it was quite obvious she couldn't.  The other main way was her strange choice in boyfriends.

Out of the blue one day, my folks got an e-mail saying "she'd met someone" and they were going to get married.  I would say that the tattoos on the guy, looking at the pictures she'd enclosed were a warning sign, but then I have to explain what they were of.  Aside from the fact that LDS folk, as well as Taoists and staunch Jews do not believe in tattooing or piercing their bodies, his choice of designs was… weird.  On his left arm was the familiar CTR shield in flames.  Oddly enough, that's the only one I remember.  He'd been married before, and in an LDS temple, but was getting it annulled.  Another red flag.  When we met him, he was the most anti-social SOB I'd ever met.  Didn't phase my maternal grandfather, the Marine.  He simply said he'd met a number of guys in the service that were just like that.  Okay then.

The wedding was nice… kind of.  I got to select the music.  Cimmy asked my brother-in-law if he could watch my daughter for one moment (he didn't really mind) so she could be a part of helping my sister get ready and be with "the girls", and my mother had a hissyfit.  Cimmy happened to mention it to the groom, saying something like "I'm so mad I could just hit her" (not that she would) and he replied, "You *should* have hit her".

Today baby sister (who is exactly 7 years, 4 hours younger than me) is dating a 36-year old Peruvian man.  His ethnicity isn't it, of course– she's had Latin American boyfriends before, as she's quite fluent in Spanish.  Before you say the age difference doesn't matter– it normally wouldn't– but we're talking the general psychology of my family here.

7.  Things sort of went to hell in a handbasket when my father got really sick.  I remember the whole family was arguing about something when he was just starting to recognize it.  He simply laid on the floor while we all were bickering.

It has its advantages.  If I need to negotiate with family members or discuss family business and don't want my mother's immediate interference, I call during the day when he's home, and she's at work.

8.  I'm sorta waiting for the day when Social Security decides to can my mother, even though her interest in Cimmy's and my disability case is "off the record" and is "between mother, son and daughter-in-law".  Supposedly it's kosher, and even my SSI rep in Yakima condones it.  (On a separate note, she often complains about his lack of diligence on our cases in that regard).  To answer your question, she's an SSI claims representative at the office in town, and it's why our cases have to be routed through Yakima to avoid conflicts of interest.

Yes, I have spoken of my mother's lack of boundaries before.

I would relate stories involving my in-laws (not my parents-in-law– it's her brothers that won't really give me the time of day, more so the older two of the three) but in deference to Cimmy, I'll forebear unless she wants to share.

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Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me- the username is still unique as of the current year. Be aware that the facet you see, is only a small part of the me that is me.

One thought on “The cartharsis continues…

  1. No need to be fearful or embarrassed to get this off your chest – every family has its problems and you really should vent it every once in a while, you'll feel better and maybe even gain some new perspective.

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