Outside looking in

Today’s your birthday day. Today they’ll all say what a great man you were and how much they miss you. Today I’ll cry. Today I’ll want to hide. Today I’ll remember; I’ll remember the shadow you’ve cast over my life; I’ll remember every word filled with hate; I’ll remember my blistering skin; I’ll remember that faithful bottle of jack; i’ll remember that awful Thanksgiving that changed me forever; I’ll remember every tear I’ve shed from the pain you caused and I’ll only end up hating myself more for it because though you are gone, you still haunt me constantly.

Today my mind will be on overdrive; today bits and piece of me will want to die; today will be the cap on my holiday blues, a depression I attribute to you. It all starts with Thanksgiving, when I know I’ll soon have to face members of your family. It’s not that they’re bad people, quite the opposite in fact but the problem is that none of them see me. Standing in the crowd of relatives, I am invisible. Growing up bouncing between different homes has left me an outsider. I was never around long enough to form the bonds my family members have.

I’m a cousin with no cousins, I’m a niece with no aunts or uncles, I’m a granddaughter without grandparents, I’m a sibling without siblings and if you haven’t caught on, I’m saying my relations are nothing but a label. Blood does not bond a family, blood does not make people care if you live or die, blood does not make them pick up the phone or send well wishes when you’re sick, blood does not define a family and so, I’ve found myself without one.

Instead I find myself in rooms full of people who share inside jokes, memories and a love, that I can only look at from the outside. I’ll never be in the inner circle, I’ll never know the jokes, whisper the secrets, share those loving hugs, bake with the ladies or be asked over for anything more than holidays or reunions. I’ll never be invited to the weddings or birthdays and I’ll only find out about deaths once the person is buried and long gone.

It’s not that a person doesn’t get use to standing on the outside, it’s just that you get tired of longing and searching for connections you’ll never get. I can see how things may have been hard for you; though the family is made up of generally good people, they don’t seem to be that accepting of those who live differently than themselves. It would have been nice to get one side of the family that isn’t “my way or the highway” types but at last, that is not my reality.

Your side is conservative, do-gooders and in their eyes, as well as yours, I basically grew up living with a heavy metal band. Colorful hair, tattoos, weird clothes, cursing and perversion is what I grew up in and it’s made me the overly accepting, weirdo I am today and I have no shame in that but switching between homes as a child and finding those differences in family functioning, I quickly learned to cover up the things that made me who I am, when in their presence, because who I am, is unacceptable in their eyes and I don’t need another lecture to know it.

So in the end, I fit nowhere. I’m a choir living in their monotone world and I can’t help but feel ill always be on the outside, looking in. Longing for something it doesn’t seem I’ll ever have, no matter how hard I try. No matter how much I bend over backwards, I’ll never be in that inner circle. I guess we can’t all be born into our “tribe” but…well, it’d just be nice if I could find mine. My home outside of home, where I don’t feel like an outcast. Then maybe I’ll be able to face this day without all these sickening feelings and without thinking things like, if only you hadn’t kept me away from them; If only you hadn’t used me as a pawn in your schemes all those years; If only I didn’t look so much like you, then maybe i’d have that bond too; maybe I wouldn’t be a stranger in my own family….maybe I’d be more than a holiday-relation.

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