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[Ramblings] Family Ties

I prefer to think of myself as a man with a warm heart and a cold mind, if only because it sounds better than alternatives like "sociopath," et cetera. Though I make friends easy enough, I don't tend to form attachments, and, unless I'm particularly attached, I can generally let go without too much of a fuss. I don't always remember birthdays and holidays, and I have a tendency to fade out every now and again, but I always try to make time for people when they need me.

I've never had a great relationship with my mother, and it culminated in her kicking me out when I was seventeen. In all fairness, I wasn't the easiest teenager to deal with (I've mellowed out considerably in the intervening years), and she was at her wit's end with me. I moved in with my father (my parents are divorced), and with his encouragement, I managed to reconnect with her, and we began to re-forge our relationship.

Or... so I thought.

The real status of our relationship reared its ugly head at Christmas this year, when I unwittingly showed up for dinner thinking that being there would be enough, and it wasn't. My mother, bless her, managed to make it all the way through to dessert without expressing her burning disappointment that I hadn't bought her anything.

Now, I've never been able to afford Christmas, and I honestly stopped trying years ago. My friends and I have a "mutual expendature" understanding--basically, if I spend twenty bucks on you, and you spend twenty bucks on me, why not just skip the exchange altogether and save some money? The same has held true with the rest of my family. I've told them that I don't expect anything, and I've always meant it.

Dad's always understood that, Mom never got it. Every year, she'd make sure that she went and spent a small fortune, ignoring how awkward she was making things for me and just raking in the martyr points. This year, she decided to cash them in. We had a little row on the porch as I was getting ready to leave. It was... very revealing. I made the decision then and there that I was done with her. I returned the gifts and the money she'd pressed on me, and I made it clear to her that I don't want to see her or hear from her again. It was, unfortunately, very easy to do.

I've come to learn, in my brief span of years, that family is what you make it. It doesn't always mean the people you were born to or with, it's not always a genetic thing. Family can be anything from your relatives to your coworkers and your friends, people you trust, who you know have your back and will be there for you in the long run, even if your luck runs out.

"Family" is that group of people who are there for you no matter what.

While I regret that it had to come to this, I don't regret my decision, and I don't think I ever will. One of the great things about being an adult is the ability to make your own decisions, but the flip side of that is that you have to accept the consequences. If the pros outweigh the cons, I'd say you're good.

Now, there will always be people in your life who think that they own you, who think that they can buy you or whatever, and that's not always a bad thing. Businesses and organizations with that mentality are still capable of treating you like an investment and taking care of you... but individuals who think that way generally won't. It's a potential path for just about everyone, and everyone will walk it their own way.

I feel that I should add a disclaimer here. If you're a teenager living at home, and your parents' rules suck, this isn't something you need to do. It's different if you're nearly thirty and living on your own and your parents think that their rules still apply to you.

Don't be stupid, kids. Disown your family responsibly.

Comments

I like how you began to say how you think you are before you tell us what kind of person you ended up to be. Hey, you do have a warm heart. Perhaps, the cold mind is what takes a lot out of the traditional means of family gatherings. I completely agree with you though. If I wanted to give you $20, and you decided to do the same exchange, what difference would it make? It's almost like trading the same Pokemon card. "Hey, here's a fire energy for your fire energy because you know, we have a lot of these stupid cards." "Well, I like your twenty because it's more crisp than mine."

I just love the people who think they own a part of you simply from the materialistic investment they bestowed upon you. "Here, take this because I want to be better than your ex (or hell, even more nurturing than your own mother) but I won't tell you that part."

I enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing! Good luck with the family.
 
'Liked' because I appreciate you sharing your advice, and I think it was ultimately the best decision. Hope that things look up! :)
 

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AtleanWordsmith
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