So, I sort of shit in your bed.
Metaphorically, of course.
I see you're worried, so let me explain using a scene from one of my favorite movies, "Pirate Radio."
One of the characters is describing how he was in bed with this girl and he thought she wouldn't notice if he let go a little bit of wind. But it wasn't wind. It was diarrhea. So, there he was, with the girl of his dreams, with poo all over the sheets behind him.
Yes, it's a plot point that is both crass and juvenile, but it's a cinematic moment that has provided me with a litmus test for life. Whenever I'm less than pleased with myself, I'm like, "What I just did was not great, but at least I didn't poo in someone's bed."
Well, yesterday's post felt like I pooed in your bed. I word-sharted all over your new sheets, and then I left you to clean up the mess while I just washed my hands of it all.
I'm sorry about that.
When I listed my sister, Audrey's, latest misdeeds, I reflexively spewed it all out, something like this:
I was so busy feeling my feels that I failed to provide context, insight, or a shred of thoughtfulness.
It's not like what I wrote wasn't true.
Audrey did leave my 6-year-old nephew alone in their apartment while she drank with a group of guys she'd never met. She did bring those strangers back into her home, where my nephew saw them putting her to bed and leaving. She probably lied when she claimed that these men roofied her and gang-raped her. She did use this assault as an excuse to move in with her new boyfriend. Her lies did result in the Department of Human Services allowing my nephew to move in with his ex-convict, drug-addicted father. She did send a suicide text message, and she did ignore all family pleas for response while I filed a missing persons report and called area hospitals. She did a few other things, too, but, frankly, I'm sick of typing this shit.
I'm fine that I wrote about all of this, but I'm upset that what I wrote didn't express my heart. Instead, angry me showed up, and what you read was the verbal equivalent of this:
Sure, my fury was (and still is) justifiable. But in the midst of all that rage, I forgot to convey one crucial point.
I love my sister, no matter what she does.
That's just how family works.
You love broken people.
And Audrey has been broken, repeatedly.
My parents adopted Audrey when she was 10. Until then, she suffered the worst kinds of abuse. Name it, and it happened to Audrey, as well as her two biological siblings, who my parents also brought into their home. They were sexually abused, neglected, pimped out, and starved.
Audrey struggles with many demons, and they appear in many forms. She got pregnant as a teenager, got addicted to meth, joined a manufacturing ring, landed in jail, and lost custody of her children. Furthermore, she's consistently put her men (and there have been many) ahead of everything and everyone in her life.
These dramatic missteps are not uncommon for survivors of child abuse. But when someone hurts you, you forget about their past, and you don't consider their actions in the greater context of their life experiences.
Let me be clear: I am NOT excusing or justifying Audrey's choices.
But they don't exist in a vacuum.
Audrey does need to grow the fuck up. She does need to stop pulling this shit. She does need to recognize that people love the hell out of her and that she's alienating them when she parades around her drama llama, whom I've named Pathetic Patty.
Maybe she'll turn her life around, and maybe she won't. I don't anticipate being fortunate enough to see her live up to her potential. And I hate that. But I don't hate Audrey.
So, I've got to do my best to love her while I tiptoe on the line that separates encouragement from enabling. One is healthy. The other is toxic.
Maybe this commentary helped clean your mental sheets a bit. I know it didn't have the bleaching effect I'd want if someone shit on my brain bedding. Also, I feel extra guilty about this metaphorical poo, because, truly, y'all humbled me last night.
I've received so. very. many private messages via Facebook, e-mail, and Twitter, as well as several public shows of support on those platforms. You let me know that you were thinking of me, that you were hoping I was taking care of myself, that you were crossing your fingers that things got better soon.
It overwhelmed me.
By no means am I saying that I had to expand my bandwidth to accept all the outpouring of Internet love and that now I can put myself in the same category as Jenny Lawson and should go ahead and write my memoir.
What I'm saying is that so many of y'all who reached out to me told me that you've experienced similar family issues and that we're not alone in our pain.
Not to wax too sentimental here, but that's why I wanted to start this blog.
I despise how society pressures people to sugarcoat their lives. This emphasis on curating the optimal online persona only contributes to the polite lie that everyone except you has a perfect existence.
If you're anything like me, than your family and your life is far from ideal. We hurt. A lot. But we learn from it, and we move on, and we keep loving the hell out of our flawed lives.
Obviously, I wish I could get on this blog and honestly say that my family makes me feel like this:
But we all know I'd be serving up a hefty dose of baloney (which is different than bologna, fyi.)
Instead, I'm going to keep getting on this blog and truthfully tell you that my family and life is completely whack, and I often feel like this:
My life is a ride that makes me feel disoriented and a little sick, but it's a ride all the same, and I'm determined to enjoy the hell out of it.
Hopefully you can relate to that.
That's my post.
The next time we meet, I will be over this Audrey drama, I will be over pooing-the-bed metaphors, and I will absolutely not be over Muppets gifs, because they are the legitimate shit, yo.
True story: Life would be super swell if we all embraced our OMG side instead of living a Facebook-friendly existence. So, let it out. How much do you want to Google ALL the Muppet gifs ever right now?? Feel free to disclose details. You're safe here.