April 2009 Archives

I told my sister.

I still hadn't made up my mind as to whether I should or not by the time I arrived there, but my crocodile eyes were uncooperative. Hours after the few (okay, many) tears I had shed, they were still virtually swollen shut. And I know from experience that trying to convince my sister that IamdoingjustsplendidlythanksandwhatredeyeswhatareyouTALKINGabout while trying to peer at her through telltale slits would be as futile as trying to look like a movie star whenever I cry. You know what I'm talking about. You see it in any drama and even in a few romantic comedies. When they zoom in on the actress's flawless makeup, the tears clinging to her impossibly long (and still perfectly mascara'd), quivering lashes like glittering jewels, making the leading man's heart melt and causing him to lean in, gently brushing her tear-streaked cheeks with his lips or fingers.

Why oh why do I look so horrid not only during crying jags, but for almost DAYS afterwards? Even waterproof mascara can't survive the destruction of all make-up during my melodramatic sobbing spells. You know how television news always capture women in war torn countries? Women who have just lost their entire families in senseless violence and who are wailing loudly, making otherwordly, primal sounds while desperately tearing their hair out and clawing at their clothes?

They have nothing on me when I weep. When I get going, I surpass even that which Oprah Winfrey refers to as "the ugly cry".

So before she could even ASK me what was wrong, I simply blurted out the whole story. And started crying again in the retelling. (Hey, I laugh at my own jokes, so I'm almost compelled to cry during the telling of my own sob stories in order to keep things fair and balanced.)

Her immediate reaction was laughter. Not at me, bless her. (She doesn't laugh at my jokes, so laughing at my sob stories is probably also just part of keeping the equilibrium.) But because the entire situation was so preposterous.

Then she asked: "Why didn't you tell me last night, when she was still here?" (Aww, I think this is the grown-up version of her wanting to beat up my playground bullies!)

THEN she told me that the girl was 1.) Drunk anyway.

"Which only makes people say what they really think!" I wailed.

And then she told me that the girl was 2.) Not... Well, let's just say that she wasn't quite as forthcoming to me about her own life and about what she is doing.

(Okay, here it is. I can TOTALLY not keep it to myself. That girl? The one who has told me that I should really become a bit more independent!? SHE IS TOTALLY NOT EVEN STUDYING RIGHT NOW! Hasn't done ANYTHING, in fact, for YEARS! Which is why she is putting pressure on my brother-in-law's friend to propose to her, because apparently her extremely rich daddy is now finally getting impatient with his 30-year old daughter's lack of drive and would really like her to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE ALREADY! And hey, what better way to do that than to get a husband, right?)

So yes, I'm over it. Okay, my over-it-ness didn't, admittedly, happen immediately. When I finally stopped crying, I got angry at her audacity. Then I thought of all the things I SHOULD have said to her:

"Okay, so how about I remove all my vital internal organs. After performing the DIY (of COURSE!) surgery on myself, I would simply continue living. WOULD THAT BE INDEPENDENT ENOUGH FOR YOU?"

(And that is really all I came up with to say. My sister said I should have said: "Wow! Thank you for such stellar life advice! Especially since you are such a fine example of independence yourself! So I really value your unasked for counsel!")

Then my dear sis reminded me how I didn't even ask for the car.

And then we had coffee and cake and lived happily ever after...

Seriously though, I do know why her words stung me so much and so deeply. During my last years in the States, as I slowly sunk into the depths of a bleak, all-consuming depression, one of the first and most important things I lost a grasp on was my independence. And I've had to work HARD to get it back. (Still working on it, in fact, every single day.) And I will be the FIRST to admit that I would never, ever, ever have been able to do it without my family's help.

I love them.   


Just returned from a dinner party at my sister's and brother-in-law's and I'm so upset that I'm in tears.

No, not at the family. The dinner was lovely as always, the company was stellar and apart from this one girl whom I had never met before, I am acquainted with everyone else who was there.

I actually like(d?) her. Spent a long time chatting to her because she and her boyfriend were the first guests to arrive and since my sister was still getting ready, I kept her company.

She spent the whole evening talking about herself. I didn't mind, because I thought she was interesting. I'm only mentioning that she was talking about herself because of what happened so entirely out of the blue later on.

Before I get to that, here's something else that has happened to me over these past two weeks (it's related to this story). My little old car almost died last week. The mechanic managed to resurrect it for an incredible amount of money (which, luckily, I was able to afford at the time), but my brother-in-law worried that it was on its last wheels and that I would get stranded somewhere. So he went out and bought me a slightly new(er) car!!! Same make but considerably less vintage than the other one. Got it at a great price, but I've already worked out a plan to pay him back every single cent. AND I'm giving him all the money from the sale of the old car, since he had initially bought that one too and I had never been in a position to pay him back for it.

Anyway, so over the course of the evening, people came up to me and remarked about my "hot new wheels" (it really is, to me! I drove it for the first time on Thursday) and so at some point - and since it's no secret that my brother-in-law paid for it - I said: "Yes, don't I have the BEST brother-in-law?"

So this girl, whom I had been listening to all evening, and who knows nothing about me apart from the fact that I freelance and that I'm 34 years old  - turns back to me when we are alone again and says: "You know, you really ought to be more independent. I mean, at some point they are going to get sick of helping you."

I was so gobsmacked, because: She had just spent the entire evening telling me how she, at 30, was living with her parents again. Who is paying for her to study. Again. (She had attempted the university/studying thing plenty of times before but had never figured out what she wanted to do, so she never bothered to finish anything. And I had just spent the whole evening telling her how interesting that makes her!)

I was honestly so taken aback that I didn't even say anything back to her. So I just... didn't. (Luckily the party moved to the kitchen for coffee right around then, so I started speaking to someone else.) But the more I thought about it, the more upset I became. So much so that later, when I was driving home, I totally burst into tears.

I'm still crying a bit (writing is helping though), but now I'm getting a bit more angry. Now I'm asking myself where she gets off for making such a judgement about me. How DARE she? She had never even laid eyes on me before tonight, and most of our conversation had revolved around her and her life (which I seriously didn't mind! As I've said, I found her fascinating, and hey, since I'm not exactly a poster child for success in life, career or love, I am the last person to judge anyone else), so where exactly did her remarks come from?

Now of course... and I hate this about myself... the self-doubt starts to niggle at me again. That horrid voice starts to whisper. It asks: "Well, if there are no truth to her words, why are you so bothered and hurt by it?"

Well, we all know the answer to that, don't we? We all know that I HAVE relied on my family a lot since returning, tail-between-the-legs, humiliated and with absolutely NOTHING to my name from the States three years ago. But, in my own feeble defence, I've come a long way since those early days. I'm working. I live alone (yes, still in my humble little room, but at least I pay my own rent and I buy my own food and coffee). Yes, measured against other people my age, I know I fall WAY short in terms of possessions, savings, etc. But then again, what DOES constitute success exactly? Who determines it? Isn't the fact that I'm doing a job that I absolutely love and adore enough? That I'm living my passion? That I'm truly content to be by myself? That I've made strides to cultivate this independence?

Yes, bastard voice in my head. A few years ago I definitely was NOT independent. But dammit, now I am. Yes, my family still helps me an unspeakable amount, but it's considerably less than it was when I first returned home.

But still, I'm so, so, so hurt by her stupid remarks. And now the doubt is creeping in that I'm still not enough of anything and that I will never, ever be. 

She totally got to me.


















about
is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)

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  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Terra: YES! Wait... you didn't think that I would be this possessed to post for NO REASON, did ya???... [go]
  • Terra.Shield : OH! ... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: Be a bit like serving drinks at AA?... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: I personally think it is a mindset that has been cultivated over the years, and one, if not stemmed,... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Ms. Crazy Cat Lady Pants!!! Squeeeee! Sooo good to see you! (I thought NO ONE was bothering to read ... [go]
  • Ms. Pants : Kitties don't get enough credit sometimes. (All times, if you ask me, but I'm a Crazy Cat Lady.)... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Hey Tamara! I know, right?? That is a tough act to follow indeed. I adored that dentist. He used to ... [go]
  • Tamara Tipton : Well, I am not sure how any dentist could live up to that standard! LOL! I hope your appointment was... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: I'm really really glad that I'm not the only one, Po! Sometimes I drive myself mad with all the what... [go]
  • Po : Those questions run through my heads for various times in my life too, that is for sure!... [go]
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