It’s been decided: the next nonfiction book-length project will be essays with family as the theme. The governing board thought this would suit me and let me stick with my strengths. The governing board, for those of you not in the know, is me. I can comprise an entire governing board all by myself because I’ve put on a few pounds in the last few years.
The governing board also laments the lack of my work ethic, but we’re working on a compromise: I won’t tell the governing board where to put their (mine) poorly thought out opinions and the governing board will stop hassling me to do Something That Matters. It’s a good compromise, as long as they stick with their end of the bargain.
Besides, as I like to tell the governing board from time to time, I am engaged in running a business at the same time in order to, y’know, make a living. The governing board scoffs at this, saying that if I were really industrious I’d be working nonstop from 6 am to 1 am, with five hours for sleep.
I counter with the idea that the governing board is not in touch with reality, and that if they’d just get off their high horses (which remind me of Trojan horses, for some reason), they’d understand that I’m also a person and not just a working machine.
Said governing board scoffs back. Etc. We’ve reached an uneasy truce, but I tell you, the board is in danger of getting fired if they veer off course again.
I love my family. Even the ones who can’t stand me. I chalk it up to me not being easily stood at times. Let’s face it, I am a bit of a prima donna. And tactless. I possess no social skills. I don’t remember them on their birthdays. I hardly ever invite them to my family reunions, mostly because I don’t have family reunions. Every family needs someone to look down on, and in my family I was it. I didn’t realize this at the time, I just thought no one liked me.
TURNS OUT I’m not completely unlikeable at all! Sure, my stepmom didn’t like me much, but that’s okay. I’m too much like my mother, and stepmom never cared for mom. Reviewing some of their correspondence from when I was young I can see why. I’m not sure I would have cared for either of them if I had been an adult and not an emotional ping pong ball.
(Note: Said correspondence is only that received from stepmom, since mom kept everything ever sent to her, and it all resides now at my house.)
I’m fairly certain that had any of my siblings had a choice, they would not have selected me for a sibling. But guess what! They had no choice! Hah! When I first met one set of stepsiblings they openly made fun of me, while accepting my brother into their clan. And my older sister, who was the perfect older age to mentor the stepsister. My stepmother looked at me with no small measure of disgust and said, “Art, you let her go outside like that?”
Art is my dad, in case that wasn’t clear.
My stepmom’s disdain for my appearance/attitude/demeanor carried over into my real life, by which I mean the life outside of my family, but I’m totally grateful to have had a family who provides me so much material. Who needs the whole happy childhood thing when you can instead have things to talk about? Well, in my case, anyway. Hey, it works for me.
That whole hogwash about family being the one place that has to take you in? Hogwash. Family is what you make of it, and some families will take you in, even if you aren’t theirs, and some won’t, even if you are theirs. And some families have to kick you out, lest you spend your life lounging on mom and dad’s couch, which isn’t a good idea in most circumstances.
Ahh, family. I love them all. Doesn’t mean I won’t make fun of them now and then, but as far as I know they don’t actually read the things I write, so I think I’m good. Of course, since I’m compiling these into a book, you can’t read them until then. So sorry. It’ll do you good to wait a bit anyway.