Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hard choices

I was talking to Piper yesterday about the Bonnie situation (bonus points if this phrase brings to mind a scene in a certain movie directed by Quentin Tarantino) and I was talking about my past and leaving Houston, about the alienation from my birth family and from Tara and her family.

It made me think about the fact that I don’t run away from negativity. I avoid it, but I left Houston to be with Tara, not to be away from my birth family. It’s a bonus that I don’t have to deal with them, but they weren’t the reason I left.

As for M, it was never my choice to leave him. That choice was taken away from me by my ex, the family law attorney, out of bitterness and vindictiveness. Complicit in that outcome was my birth family, who abandoned me at the critical time window when I most needed assistance in order for that not to happen. If they had supported me, I could have fought my ex and maybe M would still be in my life. That he’s not, and the reasons why, are not things I can easily forgive or forget – birth family or no.

Even with all that, if my parents had any interest in reconnecting, I’d be willing to give it a try. But the fact that I learned about my father having a stroke from one of my cousins and not from my mom or my brother tells me that I am not welcome in their lives, even under the most trying circumstances. And part of me is glad that I don’t have to make the effort, because a trenchant effort it would take to get them to reconcile the person I am with the person they remember.

With Tara, she made it clear that she needed the space to be away from me, in order to get her life and her marriage back on stable ground. She made it clear that she would contact me when she felt we might resume contact. Knowing her as I do, I’m fairly certain that message will never come. But for me to initiate contact, I think, would be hurtful and destructive to both of us. I’m not willing to take responsibility for further damaging her family just to serve my own wants, nor do I want to hurt her any more than I have already. She knows what she said and we both know we don’t play games with each other. If she wants to reach out to me, she knows where to find me.

Everything I just said about Tara, I would also say about Bonnie. She asked for a month of non-contact, and then asked me to stop contacting her altogether, so I honored her requests as best I could. At least for my part, there wasn’t nearly as much animosity between us as there was with Tara (perhaps not as much love either) so I felt maybe we could be friends after we’d gotten past the final breakup. But now I think perhaps we’ve wounded each other too deeply and in too many ways. We probably could be civil in each other’s company, but it would be like crawling through a minefield of old hurts and bad memories. Is a friendship worth all that stress? Maybe, but it’s not really my call.

When I look back on those three situations, in every case I was the one asked to leave, shut out or abandoned. I’ve never asked anybody to stop contacting me, ever. I don’t know why the fates have ordained that I’ve had to endure this not once, but three times in five years. It has never been my choice to cut people out of my life. But I'm not going to have a victim mindset about it - life is too short for that. I just have to pick up the pieces of my life and move on as best I can.

On a positive note, I want to give a shout to Chris, with whom I've recently reconnected here and on Facebook. We went through some of our most difficult times together as internet friends for a couple years and it's wonderful to be back in touch, with each of us in much better places in our lives.