Saturday, 28 February 2009

Families and Albino fruit Bats

Families are an unknown commodity in my life.
I love the idea of them - indeed, I wish I felt part of one but I don't. Because of that when faced with one - I generally find it difficult. Families to me, are just like gatecrashing a private member's club. By rights I shouldn't be there, I don't have membership, and I should sit in a corner until the participants have finished their private interactions.

Families are alien, something integral to the vast majority of people on this planet, but to me, they are a mystery. I may as well be talking about the nocturnal habits of albino fruit bats during the mating season.

When I was 19 year old I met Mark's family. He was my boyfriend at the time.
We both arrived at his parent's home, and his sister, his aunt and her husband whose birthday they were celebrating were all chin-wagging in the kitchen.
They were and still are a very close family who were warm and welcoming to me - but still, I stayed precisely 15 minutes before doing a runner. The Walton's had got to me.
I used the excuse I thought I'd left my gas fire on at my flat and I needed to go back home to check it was off. Jesus, couldn't I have thought of a slightly sexier ruse? My imagination must have been numbed by the overwhelming love that was being spread around the room.
The second I left their house, alone, I burst into tears. I waited nearly a year before meeting them for a second time. That time I was fine.

These days I don't find families as hard to deal with. I can control myself more now I'm older. I can stay past dinner and chit-chat afterwards without feeling inundated and I certainly don't constantly wrestle with an urge to run to the hills.

Take the other night with the lover's folks; it was good. No problems, but I can't help but feel sad when I think about the bond they have between them. An attachment which will never be broken. That must bring with it much comfort and security. The thing I crave most in life. I'm not jealous of other people having it. I'm not like that. But there is a part of me that dreams of emotional security and I think it's the type of security one would get from knowing that they are never fully alone.

Today I met with his dad, his step-mother and his sister and her beautiful new baby. It was pleasant. We giggled, we chatted, we gossiped, but still, I didn't feel a part of their clan.

Like I said before his family are really lovely people. I like them, I know they like me, but sadness seemed to grip me as I watched them all together. Their similar mannerisms, similar expressions, similar habits. The love they share is obvious, and I wish I felt that from my family, my dad.

Take Christams, I have to say I was shitting myself being with the boy's family for three days. Not because of all that wicked 'mother-in-law' baloney - none of that comes into this. It was utter fear at being faced with three days of laughter, unity and my own feelings of aloneness...

I've had Christmas with my dad once in 14 years. I'm 30. Dad goes to Algeria most years for winter, so of course some times he hasn't been around.
The one Christmas I had with him was immediately after I completed rehab. Before that, even when I knew they were in Yorkshire celebrating the mass that belongs to Christ with my step-mum's son, I was never invited.

Even this year they were in England, and guess what? The bugger's didn't invite me to go see them.
I don't know why. Christmas was not even discussed. Not once - weird, right? I think it's bloody odd - but I've given up trying to normalise a very bizarre situation.
I must live with what I've got and if that means from time to time feeling as though I must be a one woman army - so be it.... but I must remember, like this evening when the boy and I go to his brother in law's birthday shindig - I am no longer fighting a battle.