OK, deep breath iiiiiiiiiinnnnnnn… and oooooouuuuuutttttt.
After reading The Seester’s last entry in her journal, I’m very upset.
We talk about guilt trips a lot in our family. This may seem like a guilt trip, but it’s honestly not. It’s one person telling another person their feelings and hoping that feelings might be mended.
You may think you sounded all philosophical and highbrow in your last journal entry, but it didn’t sound that way to me. To me, you sounded snotty. And all you succeeded in doing is you hurt my feelings again.
“Do what is right for you and the hell with anyone else.”
You don’t have the corner on the market for loving Gramma, I love Gramma as much as you do. But she was also an old woman who had earned the right to say what she wanted and do what she wanted and have people acquiesce to her. But this isn’t the best advice she ever gave us and it sure as heck shouldn’t be what you live your life by. Doing what is right for you instead of other people can be an admirable thing… as long as you aren’t severely hurting people dear to you in the process. So I can’t live with that as my life’s motto. I’m not naive enough to say that you should beat yourself over the head if it will make it so someone else won’t hurt. I will do what is right for me, but I will consider how my speech and actions will affect others feelings first and then respond accordingly.
When you backed up KRJ and didn’t validate my feelings, I was crushed. You chose to support him over me. And in the process implied that he loved her more. I was very very hurt. You should know me well enough by now to know that I won’t manufacture tears, and I won’t use my grief to get attention. You don’t know how I felt about Gramma. I didn’t go see her as much as you did, but that doesn’t mean you’re a better person than I. When we went to visit her on her birthday, she was alert and communicative and I talked with her and we had our “moment”. In retrospect, it was the perfect goodbye. On the way out, I told Tom, “I think that was Gramma’s last birthday. And I want to remember her just like that.” I went down there a couple times after that and she thought I was one of the nurses. I told her who I was and she gave me this blank stare and shrugged her shoulders and went to sleep. That scared the crap out of me because I didn’t know that woman and she sure didn’t know me. So yes, you spent hours with her the day before she died, and no, I hadn’t seen her since the break in between summer and fall semester. But that doesn’t mean you should judge me harshly. If the tables were turned, I wouldn’t have judged you harshly. I hope that you understand that I also express grief much differently than you do. So don’t think because I didn’t cry as much as you, I wasn’t just as heartbroken.
I know I’m your sister and you “have” to love me. But I feel that you don’t like me. I don’t feel valued. I don’t feel respected. I feel like I’m last on your priority list.
Almost every time you come out to Iowa, you stay at Dad’s. And you stay there. You make sure that you see people you met when you lived here like Jerry, but I have to beg you to come see me at my house. If I want to spend any time with you, I have to pack up my family and go to Dad’s, or ask you to come to my house, which feels like I have to beg you for your attention. When you called that Tuesday that you were on your way here to Iowa, I was so excited. You said you were a couple hours away and you’d give me a call when you got in to get directions to my house. I put my whole afternoon on hold waiting for your arrival and six hours later call over to Dad’s and sure enough there you were. You ditched me again. I tried to ask you why you said you’d come to my house and then you didn’t, but you sounded like “Oh well. Shit happens. Get over it.” So then I had to pack up my family and go to Dad’s house to see you. It does seem like Dad dominates your time when youou “have” to love me. But I feel that you don’t like me. I don’t feel valued. I don’t feel respected. I feel like I’m last on your priority list that’s your choice, so be it. I can’t change that. You’ve made your choice time and time and time again. I just wish you would choose to spend time with us as much as them. What I wouldn’t give for you to tell Dad, “No, I don’t think I’ll go out to dinner with you this time. I wanna go spend some time with them.” and then call me up and say, “I’m on my way over!”
When I come out to Michigan, I feel like you find other things to do that are more important to you. And there’s a lot of things that are more important to you than me. When I told you that I waited up for you a second time and you didn’t come home, you didn’t even say “sorry ’bout that”. I may have sounded flippant when I said, “I’m not waiting up for you again bcus you didn’t show up the second time I waited up for you” but my feelings were very very hurt. You made plans to spend New Years with Bill’s friend while I was sitting there at the table with you at Bennigan’s. If you wanted to, you could have said, “Actually, my sister and brother in law drove from Iowa, can we include them?” but it wasn’t important to you. You only came home one night while I was in Michigan last week, and that was only bcus you had to drive to Auburn the next morning and it was closer to home than Bill’s. Then you breezed through every morning in between shower and work. I thought that we were going to try to go shopping together, you and me and Mom, that Saturday afternoon, but you didn’t come home until you had just enough time for a shower and leave again. We did make plans, but you made some lame excuse that “no one called me to say we’re absolutely doing this.” Well, you could’ve called to confirm but it wasn’t important to you. Then on Sunday you made plans to get together for lunch with K and J! Hello!!! You won’t make time for us, but you sure will for them. You’ll call them to have lunch, but you couldn’t make time to have lunch with us. And the boys didn’t get to hardly see you at all either. Don’t think they didn’t notice.
I’m not expecting you to plan all your time around us, but I do wish that you’d want to include us in at least some of your time. But I can’t ask you anymore. It hurts too much. I love you and I love to spend time with you, but I’m not going to ask you anymore. If you come out to Iowa and call me up and want to make plans to come over and see us, I will be so happy. But I’m not going to call you and try to track you down and ask “well, can you fit us in between lunch with so and so and dinner with so and so?” And I wouldn’t mind coming over to Dad’s once for dinner with you, but not so I only get to see you if I go over to his house. If you called me up and said, “I’m on my way out. Are you gonna be home?” I would be so excited. Anytime you want to stay at our house, we’d be happy to have you. But I’m not going to ask you to stay at our house vs. staying at Dad’s. I can’t compete with him for your time. It hurts too much.
Ever since I moved to Iowa, I have felt more deeply than I ever did in childhood that you are the golden child and I am the screw up. You did fantastic in high school and participated in 47 different extracurricular activities, went to the horse college and got the dream job on a ranch in Oklahoma and graduated from the four year college. Dory had to take summer school to graduate with her class because she failed so many classes from skipping too much, moved 10 times between the ages of 16-21, went to three different community colleges and then dropped out bcus she was pregnant and finally got around to going back to the community college when it was too late for Gramma to even know. Everything great that you do, our parents just rave over you. Everything great that I do, our parents either ignore or dismiss with no fanfare. You might be able to be like, “Well, screw them. I’m proud of myself and that’s enough.” Well, I’m working on it, but I’m not there yet. I want to feel liked. I want to feel valued. I want to feel respected.
I think that this is where I got so screwed up — we were raised that “good girls don’t draw attention to themselves”. But I needed attention and wasn’t able to ask for it bcus then I wouldn’t be a “good girl”. Mom and Dad talk about what an “easy child” I was. So they didn’t need to give me much attention because I didn’t ask for it. But you were a “difficult” baby and screamed for your first nine months so you got attention (I’m not saying you didn’t deserve it.) Then later you were able to communicate that you needed attention and it was given to you. Meanwhile, I’m in a little corner on my own and the cat’s got my tongue. I rehearse the words over and over, but they never make it out of my head. I try to be “authentic” when I’m with my family, but I don’t do a real great job. It’s far too ingrained in me to make sure that my comments and actions are done with other’s feelings in mind and I’m not trying to draw too much attention to myself. But I’m working on it. If I had opened up and told you how I really felt before you left (on Sunday that we left Michigan), you would have just gotten mad and stomped out and I would have had to wait until you weren’t mad anymore so we could pretend it never happened. Well, I’m sick of that routine. I talk about it when you upset me and I want you to try to heal hurt feelings instead of shutting out and pretending it didn’t happen. If I’ve done something that bothers you, I want you to tell me about it and I want to try to make amends. What was it you used to say? “You broke my feelings!” If there’s broke feelings, I want to heal them.
I hope that this thing here doesn’t hurt you too much and please understand that that is the last thing that I intended. I want to start a new, better pattern of communication between us because I love you dearly, sissy, more than you could ever even fathom.
Current Music: None
Current Mood: frustrated