Monday, October 31, 2011

Unmasked

Today is the day where people everywhere will don a mask and/or costume, pretend to be someone else and go around asking for tricks or treats.  There will be happy faces, sad faces, mad faces and scary faces.  Spirits of goodness and evil will abound.....matching or contrasting the people behind the masks. It's all in the name of fun. Unfortunately, some people do this every day of their lives. So much so that they don't know where their fantasy ends and their reality begins.  Sure, sometimes circumstances call for us to fake a smile when we'd rather growl, give a compliment where it isn't necessarily deserved or swallow our pride and do/say something we really don't want to say or do.  Then, there are times we find ourselves doing one or all of these things way more than we care to do them, to 'save face,' 'keep the peace,' or 'be the bigger person.'  We do them because we don't want to get anybody upset,  make anyone feel bad, be a part of the problem or, God forbid, be disloyal........especially when it comes to family.

Growing up, we are taught to never let anyone/anything come between us and our family....no matter what. Family first, 'blood is thicker than water' and all that good stuff. (As the saying goes) You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family and if you don't already, you better find something to like about your sister, brother, cousin, auntie, uncle, grandma or grandpa. After all, family is everything.....right? For the most part, loving, or even liking, our relatives is not an issue; we're usually good with the family that was chosen for us.  But sometiiiiiiiiiiiiimes (woooooohhhh!), we wish we could UNchoose some of our relatives......disown them.....obliterate them from the face of the earth.  Okay, I've gone too far.....but, you get my drift (I know y'all can relate).  I don't know if it's due to my age or my experiences.....probably a combination of both......but my tolerance level for BS is at an all-time low and I really can't take it anymore. I have some relatives who have all but worn out their welcome in my life and in my heart.  You know the kind....'just gotta have it' drama kings and queens or Mr./Ms. One-Upper, always in competition mode or Sour Sal/Susie, nothing/noone is ever good, right or happy in their world or Woe-is-me, Nobody-Loves-Me Always the Victim.  They suck the energy right out of every situation and everyone they come in contact with. 

For years, I have dealt with these people, shared with them, loved, encouraged and gone to bat for them.  Yet, at the end of the day, none of my efforts seem to be matter.  Not only do my actions go unreciprocated but are never appreciated and sometimes, downright dismissed and ignored. No amount of talking things out and telling them how I feel has changed that and probably never will. They are who they are. So why should I keep spending wasting my time, trying to build/sustain happy, healthy relationships with them when they obviously don't care to?  Why have I continued to be part of such lop-sided relationships, subjecting myself to unnecessary stress and constant drama?  I'll tell you why: because I've been hoping for a miracle that is what I was raised to do (thanks alot Dad!), because I love my family, because it's expected of me and because it is the 'right' thing to do??  Yeah.....unh hunh.....riiiigggghhhhht.  Actually, all of those reasons seemed to be good enough reasons to do so.  But, when I stopped to think about it, I realized,  all of those reasons have nothing to do with my happiness and everything to do with someone else's.  Well, it's about time I tend to my own happy...and, in order to do so, I must separate from the crazies some of my family members.

Yes, I'm breaking up with them y'all. I am going to entertain the possibilities of life without (so much of) them. I will no longer cater to the needs of 'the group' over the satisfaction of my own. I refuse to participate in activities that cause me stress, strain, pain and sadness.  I am no longer going to play the game of, 'Us Against The World' when I know it's really 'Us Against Each Other.'  I can't keep smiling for the cameras when what I really wanna do is throw the camera in your face(speaking to my relatives here). Yes, I know.....you are used to behaving this way because it is how you were groomed to be. Your upbringing didn't leave room for true, unconditional love becaue it was tainted by someone else's feelings of inadequacy, jealousy and hate...or just plain ole ignorance. However, I was not raised like that. I was taught to love, cherish and honor my family; to  be there for mine and always have their backs. I tried to show you how to love (Weezy F. Baby!  Okay, I digress....) yet, time after time, you've rebelled, denied, shunned and disbelieved.  You've disrespected the family legacy, gone against the grain and disturbed my peace more times than I care to recall. Your numerous violations to the family unit have shown that all efforts to keep love alive have been in vain. You are so far gone now that, even if you wanted to, you don't know how to stop playing the role.....and I really do feel sorry for you. However, I can no longer be a part of this reality show-like life we've all grown so comfortable being a part of. Unlike you, I am happy with the role I was given in my own fabulous life this world...quirks, flaws, mistakes and all. Therefore, I am leaving the set and finally removing the mask.