Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blog Share Feb 2009

Ed. note: Today is Blog Share, that magical day when participants give and are given the gift of anonymity. Special thanks to -R- at And You Know What Else who organized all of this.

Family. It’s the one subject I hardly talk about on my blog. I mean, I’ll speak of them, always good things, but that’s about it. Family is sometimes the reason you wish you weren’t such a shameless self-promoter when you first started your blog and gave the address out to EVERYONE.

I have this aunt. She’s my mom’s sister. And, well, she’s a bitch. Sometimes it is a wonder how we are related and how my mom and her are cut from the very same cloth.

I lived away from home for 10 years before moving back about four years ago. Those 10 years are the years I grew into the person I am today. So for a lot of those years, I missed out on family holidays and get togethers. I missed all the drama. I wouldn’t trade those 10 years for anything. It is a nice thing to be removed sometime. Especially when it comes to the drama.

My aunt is a racist. Here is a woman in her early 50s, who still uses very hateful and derogatory terms to refer to people who aren’t like her. And the worst part is that she is passing this on to her children. My cousins, who are intelligent people, people in their early 20s, are just as prejudiced as their mother. It embarrasses me to no end when she uses racial slurs. It is even worse when she looks at me like I understand and think she’s funny. I don’t. I was raised better than that.

One Christmas when I was home years ago, I sat down at the table with some of my family, and we were all chatting and snacking on a bowl of mixed nuts. There was a Brazilian nut in the mix and I didn’t know what kind of nut it was. And when I asked my aunt, all she told me is that they were called N-word Toes. I asked again. Because since she’s an educated person, a nurse, I knew that N-word Toes was not the official name of that nut and that she must KNOW THAT. And she just kept using that word over and over. I got so upset, I started crying and stormed out of the room. I didn’t celebrate Christmas with my family for five years after that.

There are many times I wonder how my mother and her can be so different. How they could have been raised the same way and my mom turned out to be loving of everyone, without a hateful bone in her body. I’m glad the storks gave me to my mom instead of my aunt when they were handing out babies.

My aunt is very proud of her children. And they haven’t had the easiest life, losing their father, my uncle, at a young age. But when it comes to accomplishments, her kids can do no wrong. Nothing in the world that my brother, my sister or I accomplish can come CLOSE to anything that her kids do. Her kids that are both over 22 and both still live at home. Who are in no hurry to leave because mom is still footing the bill. Don’t get me started on her complaints about her kids milking all her money when all she has to do is force them to act like the adults that they are and make them get jobs and move out.

My accomplishments in life can never stack up, so I don’t even share anything about myself at family gatherings. My mom reads my blog, as well as my other aunt whom I love, so if I have something big to share, they already know about it and I can save face and not get belittled in front of my family when I share exciting news.

I know this so something trivial to share in a blog share. I mean, she isn’t a horrible person. She works hard and takes care of her family and has done it all on her own since my uncle died, which is no easy feat. But my mom also raised three kids on her own as a single parent and she doesn’t play the victim and remind people of this fact every chance she gets. You do what you have to do and you move on. That’s life. It isn’t always puppies and unicorns.

I’m lucky in that I have many family members that I am close with and who celebrate my highs and comfort me during my lows. It’s just frustrating to have a woman like my aunt, who is loud and obnoxious and who rules every conversation, who is there to constantly remind you that you’re not as good. It is hard to really be yourself and enjoy your time with your family. Which should be the one place where you can totally be yourself without some bitch of a family member telling you that being mentioned in a best-selling memoir is nothing like getting a PhD.

Do you have family members like these? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Please check out the other participants:
And You Know What Else
Andrea Unplugged
Blue Soup
Bright Yellow World
Caity of the Keps
Daily Tannenbaum
Did I Say That Outloud?
Dispatches From The Failed Mommy Club
Face Down
For The Long Run
Full Of Snark
In Java, Literally
Just Below 63
A New Duck
NonSoccer Mom
The North Is My Snowcone
Not The Daddy
Operation Pink Herring
Pants, Pants, Pants
Red Red Whine
Sassy Buster
Sauntering Soul
Shushing Action
Snow-Covered Hills
Swimming With Sharks
Thinking Some More
Trueish Story
Way Way Up
Whiskey Marie



At 18 February 2009 at 04:04, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a family member like yours, but I do have an aunt that I can't stand to be around. She's not the worst person in the world or anything, but she is awful. If she were also racist, I don't know what I would do.

At 18 February 2009 at 04:13, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an uncle who shot an African-American man in the butt simply because he was fishing in the pond on his property. He then threw the man in the back of his truck and drove him to the police station and told them what happened. The police said to the African-American, "Don't you know better than to be on _____'s property?" It makes me sick how much racism there still is in the world. It's probably obvious I live in the South, huh?

At 18 February 2009 at 05:43, Blogger Jack said...

I have a few family members that make me cringe. It happens.

At 18 February 2009 at 07:38, OpenID conortje said...

sorry to hear you have an aunt like that - very glad to hear that you ended up the way you did though - it's not something I think about very often but you have brought it home - I am very grateful to have been raised the way I was too!

At 18 February 2009 at 11:32, Blogger Babaloo said...

Got one particular member of the (extended) family that makes me cringe every time.
Living in a different country helps, though.

At 18 February 2009 at 15:01, Blogger Allie said...

I'm so sorry. Stuff like this is so hard to deal with. You're absolutely not alone.

At 18 February 2009 at 15:23, Blogger Tess said...

I think EVERYONE has someone in their family that they are at least MILDLY ashamed of.

Or would like to drop-kick off the face of the earth. You know, whichever.

At 18 February 2009 at 17:03, Blogger 3carnations said...

I know exactly what you mean. It's hard to deal with. The best I can do is make sure nothing like that ever gets said in front of my son.

At 18 February 2009 at 18:48, Blogger Courtney said...

Nope, you're definitely not alone. The first time I heard the N-word, it was from my grandmother. It makes me sick, but what can you do? You can't choose your family, and some people will never change.

It is embarrassing and disheartening, though, I agree.

At 18 February 2009 at 18:58, Anonymous abbersnail said...

My uncle used that term for Brazil nuts, too. And I have family members who attend a SUPER religious-crazy church. They all think I'm going to hell, and tell me so. Everyone has crazy families. Please don't think you are alone.

At 18 February 2009 at 20:05, OpenID thecoconutdiaries said...

Well, I'm brown so I've never heard a nut in my house called honkytoes or anything; but idea of relatives who you're disengaged from is probably universal.

At 18 February 2009 at 20:34, Blogger Sra said...

There's the family you're born with and the family you get along the way. Sharing blood is not a good enough reason to have to like someone, so it's ok if you can't stand this woman. She sounds like a pill.

At 18 February 2009 at 21:54, Blogger NGS said...

Yes, I have family member like that, including my own parents. It's tough. I try not to talk about politics or religion or where I live, for that matter. When things come up accidentally (like the Brazilian nut thing) I state my case fairly clearly with "I'm not comfortable hearing that." It makes for an uncomfortable few seconds/minutes, but then the subject always gets changed.

The most painful experience I have is when I overheard some family members who have different religious views from me talking about what a heathen I was at my wedding ceremony because we had an atheistic ceremony. It was painful. I didn't confront then, but I was very tempted.

Picking your battles is hard. I'm glad to hear you have had the opportunity to have some distance from this person, but next time it comes up, please know that you're not alone!

At 18 February 2009 at 23:04, Blogger Macrae said...

Yes, Anne but I haven't spoken to her for a long time, simply couldn't take anymore of her crap.

At 19 February 2009 at 02:33, Blogger newduck said...

That's appalling! I think it's a miracle that your branch of the family escaped it, and good for you for not buying into it.

At 19 February 2009 at 03:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh what is it about some maternal aunts. My mom and her sister were the only siblings. My mother's father was killed when she was an infant and my grandmother never remarried. My grandmother died in July 07. She had Alzheimer's disease for about ten years before that and she lived with my mother until about 2003. My mother moved from NJ to FL (where my aunt lived) in '01, to get help w/ my grandmother. She got no such help.

When my great uncle died, my aunt who had not been back to the North East since moving south came up, pretended to to best friends and the favorite of my great uncle, we think to see if she could get some of the inheritance. When my grandmother died (honestly the best thing that ever happened to her-Alzheimer's is a terrible disease) my aunt asked my mother where her money was. The answer was, uh, there was none.

This is the same woman who asked my mother for money some 15 years ago to get a divorce from her husband. She stayed married, she bought jewelry with the money. She failed as a mother and sent my female cousin to live with us when she was in high school because she was failing out. She used to work during the day and would lock her son out of the house and he would wait in the screen porch for her to arrive from work each day. Unsurprisingly he has a host of problems now. I have never met someone more self absorbed than her. If I believed in hell and heaven I wouldn't have to think long to tell you where I thought she was going.

Best of luck to you.

At 20 February 2009 at 21:26, Anonymous pookahs said...

It is so interesting that siblings from the same family can turn out so different. I have aunts who play the vicitim and can't get their life together, supposedly because my grandmother ruined their lives. Then again, there are other sisters who did just fine and don't hold the same vendetta. I also have two cousins who are brothers who are are locked in a feud and have actually tried to physically harm one another on several occasions. Over nothing, basically. Everyone has crazy, rude or dysfunctional family somehow.

Also, my family grew up calling brazil nuts that awful euphemism too. Now they joke about how awful it was and why anyone would think to call them that, but it was a common, if not terrible, name for them...

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