August 9, Baltimore, MD: I don't even know where to begin. Everyone is ok, nobody is ill, but this weekend was horrible. Where to start...I guess I should go in order. My sister and I rarely talk. Maybe once every month or two. More often, her kids will call me with her nearby. I don't know for sure, but I sometimes feel like she suggests that they call so that she doesn't have to. And I end up resenting that. I don't know if that's definitely the case, but its what I take away sometimes, including this weekend. I wasn't feeling up to going out after getting so little sleep and didn't get a chance to see my niece and nephew. I wish I had....because I feel like I know what its like to be let down. And to let tension between my sister be a reason to not see them (I am still thinking about how much it played a part this time) is just as bad as blaming them. Outside of having some serious conversations, I don't know what changes things between us. I see that I have an opportunity to reach out and start that dialogue, but I have felt frustrated...really frustrated...when I've tried in the past (which, to be fair, has not been often).
My mother has always expressed how sad it makes her that we don't get along better. And she does sometimes suggest what we might do differently. Its safe to say that I have a negative reaction to that. The rational side of me thinks that she can never, at this point, do anything to mediate if talking is what solves this. That's a choice that we have to make on our own. The emotional reaction I have is the part of me that thinks its absolutely none of her business. But I think I need to accept that asking her to sit back and accept that she can't do much is something I have no right to do. I can't understand how she feels as a mother or how much she might like to see us get along better. She and I are incredibly hard on one another. I lashed out when she called me to tell me to call my sister. Even remembering the moment to write about it makes me angry. I was on the highway. I told her she needed to stay out of it. A little more calmly than I have in the past. I almost got into a car accident while we were talking. But after pulling over on the side of the road and talking to her for about 90 minutes....about our challenges in communicating with one another, my sister, her kids, our hatred of our shared flaws and the tendency to judge one another for them...we got to the place we always get to. I am not sure how to describe it. Maybe "family" is the only word. But we come to some level of understanding. Which is really great. For all the contention and frustration between us, my communication with my mother is the healthiest I have with anyone in my family. The bar ain't all that high. We always end up pretty bruised by the time we get to the resolution, but we usually get there. She can say when she is hurt by me and I can accept hearing her tell me I am wrong (sometimes). And she is so much more open to feedback than she once was.
In the midst of all this (yesterday, actually), my mother's friend, who's here from out of town, approached me out of the blue to talk about me the fact that, supposedly according to my mother, I don't care about my family. Specifically that, if my mom died, I wouldn't care about not having any more family around. I completely put aside the fact that I didn't really understand the point she was trying to make...because I was furious for her having enough nerve to say something like that to me. I hadn't been that angry in a long time. It had nothing to do with my mother having said what her friend claimed...my mom has said that to my face before. Actually, I don't know...maybe I am afraid that its true on some level...or maybe I'm afraid of my family believing that I think that way. I guess the real question is to what extent I do? As for yesterday's exchange, I just shrugged it off, but I was still angry a day later, as I described the encounter to my mom. It felt so instigative and cruel to me. As if she knew that it would just create issues between me and my mother. It seemed hateful. My mom understood. I felt supported by her.
And my girlfriend and I almost broke up. We had to pull over on the highway to have an hourlong conversation. And the whole episode lasted about 8 hours. And I was late for my photoshoot, for which I was just not focused. I don't think I liked my work much at all today.
Anyway, all of this stuff happened within the past 36 hours. Its too much for me in such a short period of time. I am feeling very not grounded. Like the wind was knocked out of me. I can't wait to get home. And I don't like feeling that way.