Average Jane



Hope for a new day

Today is my liberation. Go on. Buy me a drink. I won’t stop you. Today my parents move out and make their way back to Florida where they can resume being retired and go back to being miserable together… in a much warmer, more humid environment. It’s better for their joints or whatever, I’m sure. That’s why old people retire to FL, right?

I have spent the summer watching my parents marriage implode… further. I was therapist and mother and friend. I was confidant and interpreter. I was 15 years old again. 15 is when all of this happened the first time. When my parents told me they would have gotten a divorce but they couldn’t afford it. When I found my mom’s book on emotional abuse and freaked out saying my father was not an abuser and how dare my mother even suggest such a thing.

How wrong I was. How naive. My father is an emotional abuser. My mother is an enabler. Every year on all major holidays (including her birthday, my birthday, and their anniversary) I ask my mom to leave him. I open up my heart and my home, saying, “just stay with me. I won’t hurt you like him.” But I lie. I do hurt her. I hurt her with my impatience and my words just like my dad does. Just like my brother does.

Oh. Crap. I guess I forgot to tell you. I have a brother. Did you know that? Years ago we were told not to have contact with one another. It’s for the best. As a matter of fact, I probably shouldn’t even go into it here because a) I’ll start crying, and b) well… I guess sometimes I think admitting to him is admitting a fault in myself. He is why I fear having children. He is a taint to my DNA. He is the manifestation of what could go wrong. He is what happens to a happy couple when their progeny is defective. I was the baby they tried so hard for. The little girl to heal their wounds. He is the wedge and I am the bandaid. He is the screw up and I am the overachiever. He is the one who will be forever dependent and I am the one who will always stand alone.

Latchkey in second grade, my mother was busy carting him around and my dad was busy being the consummate career government gnome. I would lose my key and be locked out of the house for hours. I got by, though. I got by alone. In high school I had no friends, but I got by. In college I had no luck with roommates and ended up living alone. After college I ran across the country to work long thankless hours that provided no time for friendships, so I went home to my big apartment in a town far away and watched the 12 channels I could afford… alone. I came back to DC and took a job I hated and lived in a great apartment and was depressed. My parents moved to FL. My life was crumbling. But I got through it. And I did it alone.

I asked for no help. I sacrificed my own happiness to be there for my brother and my parents. I never went out. Never had fun. Never bought clothes. Never spent a penny on myself. I had to pay rent.

But… BUT… but things got better. So much better. And then I made the decision to save some money by sharing an apartment with my parents. Not all year. Just the summer. Easy enough! Except it wasn’t easy at all. I stayed busy, out of the house, exhausting myself with plans so that I wouldn’t have to see it. Wouldn’t have to witness the unhappiness in my household. The unhappiness that ripped me apart as a teenager. Because it’s all still there. My dad sitting on the computer all day, moving only to feed the dog. My mom doing anything to get a moment of his attention, of his affection.

And I tried to have a relationship. And I tried to have friends. And I tried to carry on for three months as though nothing was wrong, when inside my fear of the future was ripping me apart.  Is that what I am destined for? Is that what marriage is? Is this what my family is really about?

So three months later, I am miserable. I am exhausted. The happy face I show the world is wilting. I have lost my ability to be fun. I have lost my “silly”. I see so much unhappiness around me at home that I forget they are the exception to the rule.

But I have hope for a new day.  I have hope that my “fun pants” still fit (even with the 4 lbs I gained this summer. ugh!) I have faith that my friends will still be there when I come out of this funk and pray that they will still have faith in me.

You know, it’s funny… I always thought I hated the fact that my friends called me “Crazy Jane” but now I know I miss it. I miss being out there and living life and dancing in the streets and in the market and singing in restaurants and running on The Mall and wearing ridiculous clothes out at night because I could… I used to be that girl, unapologetically.

And that brings me to today. My parents are gone and I am alone again. But this time my house will be filled with love and not loneliness. I will have dinner parties (yes, all the way out here in the burbs) and you will all come. I will have bbqs and I will host football watching parties. I will play my music loudly and I will laugh with all my heart. Today is a new day.

This blog post was a manifesto. It was my Kol Nidre of sorts… a grand confession so that I can now move on with my life.

A new day has begun…

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Comments

  1. * Todd says:

    For the record, I never stopped calling you Crazy Jane. Glad to see things turning around.

    No, you didn’t! Good to know you’re still skulking around out there in the land of the internets. I miss you! Maybe one day you’ll treat my readers to a “Be the Power” guest post on my “Crazy Jane” antics. After all, you inspired this wacky “blog”. Yes kids, it’s all his fault.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
  2. * Penny says:

    Can I call shotgun? SHOTGUN!

    I’m glad you’re feeling positive. We’ll be there to help you stay that way. And I’ll bring the chips to the football parties.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
  3. * tracylord says:

    this was an awesome post…

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
  4. * carrie m says:

    you are so awesome. what an amazing, brave post. you know i’m here for you, and as soon as i come out of *my* funk/craziness, we can take rockville back. 😛 hugs.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
  5. * skip says:

    Your parents are who they are. they did the best they could, with what they had to work with. Don’t allow their lunacies to drag you down.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 8 months ago


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