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BACK DOOR BOY IN A FRONT DOOR WORLD
OUTSIDE OF SOCIETY - THAT'S WHERE I WANT TO BE
Because Sometimes It Is Necessary - A Love Letter To My Friends 
18th-Feb-2009 03:45 pm
I was sitting and having a late lunch earlier and channel surfing for something to watch while I ate. I flipped back and forth between an episode of Roseanne and the 1989 film Parenthood on HBO. Something interesting happened. There was a commonality that connected both to each other and then to me and my own family - blood family and chosen family. Suddenly it just made sense to me, something I've been upset and stewing on for almost a year and a half at least on - and just made peace with.

In the episode of Roseanne, everything centers around David & Darlene's wedding. As David and his brother Mark are getting dressed for the ceremony, David laments the fact that their biological parents aren't coming to his wedding. He thinks it is sad that on his wedding day they cannot muster the effort to be supportive, involved parents. Mark admonishes him and tells him that Dan & Roseanne are their parents now because they're the ones who stepped up to take care of them and take them in as family, and further that it is a slap in their face to waste time worrying over two people who couldn't be bothered to even BE active parents in the first place, having kicked him out at 16 and treating David like a dog. He ties David's bow tie for him, much to David's surprise. When asked who taught him how to tie a tie, Mark responds: "Dad. It's the only thing he ever taught me. Now I've taught you. And since that's the only thing he's done for you today, you don't need him anymore." Later in the episode, Dan laments (moments prior to having a heart attack) the fact that he wants Darlene to not miss any opportunities. Before walking her down the aisle he gives her the key to a safety deposit box he has stashed "Just In Case" money in. She tries to reassure him that they're young and will have more than enough time to do all of the things they want to do when Dan explains how wrong that thinking is, that you always think you're going to have more time than you actually do. That one day your baby is a baby, the next he's in High School. Then your youngest daughter is getting married and preparing to have her OWN baby. Then he tears up and his voice cracks when he says "I haven't spoken to my father in 2 years..."

I flipped over to Parenthood. It was the scene in the kitchen when the son-in-law is explaining his view of having a male role model in a child's life. He says "Well, it depends on the man. I had a man around. He used to wake me up every morning by flicking lit cigarettes at my head. He'd say, "Hey, asshole, get up and make me breakfast." You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father. "

This is also very poignant as Christi and I only last week were talking about this scene and those specific lines in Parenthood as relevant to a recent family tragedy. Now I could easily write about my own trials and sad lack of tribulations with my own father, especially since he's been weighing heavily on my mind and heart in recent months, but I'm not going to do that. Maybe another time, but this isn't about him - or me - this is about what I hope to help others learn.

Sometimes it is necessary to reevaluate who you've let stay part your life. Some people have a hard time with that concept. I think it is necessary because often times we fill up our lives with people who are of no use to us, they don't offer anything but trouble or strife or some form of negativity, and that eats up incredible amounts of time and energy. To say nothing of the space that would be better filled by people who are invested in you, who love you actively, and who compliment your life rather than complicating it.

I've had the good fortune recently to become reconnected with many people from my past. People I've lost touch with, whom I've gone to school with, I've been in love with, and people who have been beside me through various things with and I will always keep a light on in the dark for each of you to find your way back to me anytime you need me. If you're reading this and think I am possibly talking about you then it's probably because I am - and I love you. As perfectly and completely as I am capable of, and in ways that only I can.

None of this came to me with the sadness I expected. On the contrary, it was a surprise to find I felt lighter and more at ease. Which just means I'm one little inch closer to the peace of mind I'm searching so hard for as I get older and am finding more and more of almost daily. I'm happy to grow older with you people, my chosen family, especially those of you who have seen me at some of my worst times and will still stand beside me until the end of us all.

I've never been happier in my life than I am as I approach 40. I never thought I'd live this long, but I'm glad I managed. If I hadn't stuck it out and kept going when there was nothing but sheer willpower driving me on then I'd never know what it felt like to now be constantly surrounded by such wonderful people and this never ending love that I get from you all.

So I thank you, I love and appreciate you, and take you with me everywhere I go.
Comments 
18th-Feb-2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
It's good to have you on my f-list. I don't remember how I came across your journal a few years ago, but the political links and rants and talking about your own problems have helped educate me.

As for family, I remember the times you talking about your father and thinking how unfortunate it is that you two can't find your way. I'm glad I get on OK with my folks (though we do have our issues, most notably me and Dad), especially now that Mom's so sick. I don't want you to dwell on this, but hopefully your dad (and anyone else) who's been an ass will realize it before too much time has passed.
18th-Feb-2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this. It spoke to me on a level that no one else has been able to speak to me on. I know that when I move later this year I can finally say goodbye to my own father without the fear of him dropping in on me or bumping into him in the street. You're right, a lot of people don't understand the need to let go of people in their lives, but for those of us who make that decision, it's necessary.
18th-Feb-2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
Beautiful, thoughtful post!

The Roseanne episode made me tear up when I first saw it, and hearing you talk about it made me tear up again!
18th-Feb-2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
So I thank you, I love and appreciate you, and take you with me everywhere I go.

I think I'd like this on my gravestone. It just resonates with me. :) *Hugs*
18th-Feb-2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
Sometimes it is necessary to reevaluate who you've let stay part your life. Some people have a hard time with that concept. I think it is necessary because often times we fill up our lives with people who are of no use to us, they don't offer anything but trouble or strife or some form of negativity, and that eats up incredible amounts of time and energy. To say nothing of the space that would be better filled by people who are invested in you, who love you actively, and who compliment your life rather than complicating it.

Thank you for putting it in just this way, a way that enlightens me and some struggles I've been facing. I have family members who are not invested in me as much as I've invested in them, people who do little in my life other than strew strife and discord so that everyone focuses on them and their wants (not needs). They do very much complicate my life. I need to evaluate what this means to me, and how much damage I would cause letting them go. It's an awful balancing act, since I was raised to believe that "family matters", but while they say this, I do not think they mean it like I mean it.
18th-Feb-2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{}}}}}}}}}}}}}

You've made me take a look at a recently-developed situation in my own life, and rethink my decision for dealing with it.

I wish I could meet you one of these days, once I get my finances in order. I could give you that hug in person.
19th-Feb-2009 12:45 am (UTC) - This!
Much love and hugs!
19th-Feb-2009 01:17 am (UTC)
Jude, you have no idea how much I needed to hear these words today, actually right now. Thank you.

Wow.
19th-Feb-2009 01:44 am (UTC)
Your strength, poise, and sense of self continue to be an inspiration to me.

You rock like an autistic child.
19th-Feb-2009 01:55 am (UTC)
"Sometimes it is necessary to reevaluate who you've let stay part your life. "

Truer words were never spoken. I regret having let my father stay in my life for 38 of my 39 years. He is a miserable, horrible, nasty man, and would love nothing more than for me to be just like him.

Only last year did I finally stop giving him chances. One day, I think, if he kept pushing, he might just succeed in making me as miserable as he is. And if I were like that, then I wouldn't know (virtually anyway) amazing people such as yourself.

19th-Feb-2009 02:28 am (UTC)
Sometimes it is necessary to reevaluate who you've let stay part your life...

Yuppers. B. and I found that we had to do very much the same thing about 2 years before we left Atlanta. Folks who were mightily important to both of us when we first got together in 1994 had, over time, become just Plain Fucking Toxic. It was difficult and painful to do, because of the "Oh, if you're on Bad Terms with [A] then you no longer exist to me"'s that cascaded out thru our social circles. I'd say we lost probably 2/3 of our "friends", and I'm intentionally using Sneer Quotes on that word, for obvious reasons.

Three in particular we were happy to be relieved of dealing with. One was a long-time pal of B's who finally picked one fight too many in an effort to always be The Center Of Everyone's Attention. Another was a person I once considered to be the little brother this only child ever had, but who came to love DRAH!-MAH!, er, capital-d Drama as the driving force in his life. The third was Mr. DRAH!-MAH!'s husband, who never had a positive nor uplifting thing to say about anyone and everything, and was apparently the long-lost love child of Debbie Downer and Eeyore.

There are folks in and around Atlanta that we miss dearly - Momma Dale & Mookie, Marsha, my "Yes We Are" trivia teammates Anne and Ken, just a buttload of folks. These are, as you called 'em, the folks "who compliment your life rather than complicating it" and I'll always cherish the time we spent together.

to now be constantly surrounded by such wonderful people and this never ending love

I celebrated my 44th birthday in Atlanta in 2006 in a very low-key fashion (mostly thanks to the Cascade-O-Cooties I described above) with the hope that sometime later that year either B or I would find a job in New Mexico. 3 years and a few weeks later, 4 homes and 3 cities later, we are now surrounded by Love. We're an hour or less away from the witnesses to our wedding as well as an uber-hawt fuckbuddy another dear long-term friend, along with numerous folks I'd known online for the better part of 20 years who have now seen me in the flesh.

I've never been happier in my life than I am as I approach 40.

My job is hard, but as I get used to being 47 (I remember when my father turned 47, and to me he was FUCKING OLD when he did!) I'm finding that Life Is Good. Life is Very Very Good.
19th-Feb-2009 07:14 am (UTC)
I'm going to add you as a friend, because I really liked what you wrote here. It encapsulates so well what has happened in the past - John and I let someone slide out of our lives - sometimes with a push - and we are SO glad that they are gone.

And yet we have some very good friends who have grown WITH us and not obstructed our growth, and for them we are very thankful...
19th-Feb-2009 10:01 am (UTC)
that was sweet
19th-Feb-2009 10:41 am (UTC) - Parenting 101
Oddly enough the line that you quoted from Todd on Parenthood is one of my favorite lines of all time.

I'll save you the speech but my family is the epitome of dysfunction, well wait, my birth mother is, but beyond that, I have the love of a father and a step-mother I adore. Hell, even my extended family is a riot. They are salt-of-the-earth kind of people and love you for who you are.

There are days I want to recontact with my birth mother but then I hear the tales of how she manipulates my younger brother, who chooses to stay in contact with her, and my older brother protectionist guard comes up and I realize, this woman may have given me life, even provided my early childhood with some good memories but when she vacated her position of "mom" when I was a teen and then allowed her jackassed husband to molest me (with her there) that I knew it was over.

You are fortunate to have quality people in your life. Hold onto them dearly and deeply. They become your real family.

HUGS!
19th-Feb-2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
I think it is necessary because often times we fill up our lives with people who are of no use to us, they don't offer anything but trouble or strife or some form of negativity, and that eats up incredible amounts of time and energy. To say nothing of the space that would be better filled by people who are invested in you, who love you actively, and who compliment your life rather than complicating it.

I couldn't agree more.
20th-Feb-2009 03:40 am (UTC) - Awwwww...
So sweet.
But don't go too far..
I need to be back in a bit!
20th-Feb-2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Spot on... Your introspection is always spot on for me, and I always appreciate you and your wisdom.

"Sometimes it is necessary to reevaluate who you've let stay part your life" BINGO! It seems, I too have been having this same conversation a lot lately.
21st-Feb-2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
You are a special person here on my LJ friends list. You were one of the first 10 people I friended and it was a very fresh perspective on how people express themselves honestly and openly.

I really wish you lived closer to meet you and D in person as I know there is a whole other side to you than your journal. That's one of the reasons for my big road trip in just another week where I'm going to meet people in person who have touched me in a positive way here on LJ. I know I can't do all of them at once, but it's a start. I think the next road trip will be out your way very soon though. :)

BIG HUGS and SMOOCH!
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