Vancouver

Jun. 28th, 2011 03:11 pm
treefrog: an old-fashined radiator (Radiator)
The Vancouver trip went very, very well. Everyone was on their best behavior (except my father-in-law, but I don't think he has a best behavior) so I didn't have to yell at anybody.

Cut for Length )
treefrog: an antique pistol (Gun)
Dave and I are leaving tomorrow for a trip to Vancouver to visit his family. I'm looking forward to it, for the most part. It'll be nice to get away from here for a while and we're planning to do some fun stuff like visiting the Stanley Park Aquarium.

I'm less psyched about the whole Visiting-Dave's-Family part.

Fretting about it behind the cut. Writing this stuff out makes it easier to deal with. )

So wish me luck and hope I don't need it.

So. Angry.

Jan. 3rd, 2011 01:13 pm
treefrog: Words in the heart cannot be taken (Words)
My youngest brother Nathan is on a mission in Florida, recruiting members for the Mormon church. I send him emails. I receive the mass emails he sends home in what little time he has to write home. I don't read these emails; I skim them, because there is absolutely nothing of my little brother in those letters. Everything he says is framed in Mormon language (this is hard to explain but ask any ex-Mormon and they'll know right away what you mean), and he talks about nothing but church stuff.

I've been supportive because it's his choice. He didn't turn away from me when I left the Mormon church, and I've said before that I will not turn away from anyone I love because they are still Mormon.

But Nate's letter this week contained the following paragraph:

"Hey family!!! We received an email from [the Mission] president today that we are not to use the pronouns "I" or "me" or words like "myself"! So you won't be hearing those words in these emails anymore. Wow is it ever a hard habit to break. Those words are used pretty frequently in ones vocabulary."

Read over that again and let it sink in. Do you see what's being said here? Do you see what's being done? Do you see how obscene this is? This upsets me for two reasons; two things I love dearly are threatened here.

First, of course, is my little brother. HE IS NOT ALLOWED TO REFER TO HIMSELF. He must excise from his personal vocabulary the means to be an individual. I'm not sure what the "we" he used for the rest of his letter is meant to refer to. Himself and his ever-present mission companion? The entire Mission? The Mormon Church as a whole, because in that context is isn't an individual? Nate isn't like me; he isn't as susceptible to language-inflicted pain as I am. Maybe this will slide off his back and won't affect him. But I read that paragraph and I see that to the people charged with his care, he is not himself. He is not a person. He's a number without a soul, a suit without a name. I want to stomp all the way down to Florida, grab someone by the lapel of their cheap suit and tell them that that kid, see him, the tall skinny blond boy over there? That's my little brother. His name is Nathan. He's a he, not an it or a they. He is a person. He is his own person. If he wants to be your person, fine, that's his choice, but at least let him be a person, you dumb fucking fucks.

And while I'm at it... the English language. You can't have it. It doesn't fucking belong to you. You can control your own little patch of linguistic ground, the same as anybody else, but YOU CANNOT CONFISCATE THE PRONOUNS. I WILL FUCKING FIGHT ANYONE WHO WANTS TO TAKE MY PRONOUNS! I know what you're up to, you slimy little villains. You're trying to re-enact Nineteen Eighty-Four. You think that what can't be said can't be thought. You're trying to steal people's thoughts. You're trying to break people's minds. You should be ashamed to breathe. But let me show you something: look at me. I grew up with a similar assortment of parasitic linguistics (though nobody ever tried to forbid me the use of personal fucking pronouns), and I took it all back. My mind, my words, my self... I took it back. I debugged, I defragged, I rewrote and I regrew. ENGLISH, you fuckers. Like the Doctor said about Earth: It is defended. YOU MAY NOT HAVE IT.

*whew*. I haven't been this angry in a long time. My family and my language are both rage buttons, I guess. Nate's not stupid, and even if he never leaves the Mormon church, he'll have to rejoin the real world eventually. He'll find his "I" again. And if he doesn't, I'll hit him over the head with it.

Um... yay?

Dec. 15th, 2010 09:23 pm
treefrog: treefrog silhouetted through a leaf (Default)
So, Dave and I are moving. Again. Okay, so we're maybe moving again but it's one of those 99% chance type of maybes.

I haven't blogged about the problems we've had with this place. This is mostly because, from a storytellers' point of view, they don't even come close to topping the problems we had with the last place. Nothing, for instance, has exploded.

However, we do have an infestation: a one-woman infestation in the form of our downstairs neighbor. I'd almost rather have the cockroaches back.

A long, cranky rant describing the Basement Pest and her unsavory habits )

Anyway, our landlords are good folks and, more to the point, old family friends. They realise (fuck you, American spell checker, it doesn't have to be "realize"!) that they can't get this woman to behave herself, and even if they evict her, it will take forever to actually remove her from the premises. So, when they discovered that another one of their properties is coming available, they didn't put it on the market. Rather, they offered it to us.

Now don't get me wrong. They made it perfectly clear that they're not trying to make us leave this house or trying to pressure us in any way. If we stay here, they'll try to work with the situation. But they figure that the new house would solve a lot of problems for us.

For instance, it's only $30 a month more than this one, and they figure that 100% of the utilities bill over there would still be quite a bit less than what we pay here, so it would be cheaper to live over there.

For this decreased price, we would get an entire house, not just one floor. We would have three bedrooms instead of two (with, apparently, some added-on bedrooms in the basement). We would have two bathrooms instead of one. We would have basement space for Dave to do leatherwork in. I could devote a room to my books and my desk.

Of course there would be drawbacks. It's even further away from school than where we are now. And... I know this house. I've been inside it. I've babysat some of its past occupants... because it is directly behind my parents' house. We share a back fence and could, given proper lighting, see into one another's kitchens. This gave me pause, of course, but I know my parents. Whatever else their faults may be, they aren't nosy, nor do they try got get me to mind their business. I won't like being this close to them, but I'd rather have them than many neighbors I've had. They like the idea of us as backdoor neighbors because some fairly awful people have lived in that house and they know we won't do anything too upsetting.

But really, it seems to be worth it. We haven't looked at the place yet, and it's been renovated since I babysat there, but Mom and Dad know the current occupants and have been there since the reno and say that it's very, very nice. We'd have more than twice as much space as we do now and no noisy, money-leeching neighbor in the basement.

So, unless we look at it and see something we can't live with, we're going to be moving. Again.

The thought of it exhausts me, but not quite as much as the thought of continued dealings with the Basement Pest.
treefrog: an old-fashined radiator (Radiator)
I am tired. I've got finals chewing on my brain and my mother being ridiculous and my husband's father being evil and my little brother sending letters home that have nothing in them of him and everything in them of Mormon brainwashing and my husband needing all my support but not understanding that I need his too.

Everyone wants to talk to me, but anytime I try to talk back, I get shut down. I tried to tell my parents that December is going to be way better than last year but still tight and I wished it wasn't like that, and Mom said that I'm a newlywed and I'm not supposed to have money. She then refused to understand why it hurts to take Grandma's inheritance. She flat-out says that I didn't know Grandma and that I don't feel anything for her, really. Not "can't", not "shouldn't", just "you don't have any feelings for her".

I tried to tell Dave that I'm tired and that I can't always be tough about it and some days I'm going to cry, and he told me maybe I should go back to my parents for a while. He didn't mean "you're a baby who can't handle your own life and needs to go back to mommy and daddy" but it sure came across that way. But it's okay for him to talk endlessly about the things that are bothering him and expect my full attention. He needs support. His family are being shitheads again and he hates his job... but it's okay for him to rant and fume and stomp about going to a job he hates, but it's not okay for me to rant and stomp and fume about school because "don't worry, it will make life better in the long run". I'm fucking sick of that line. The mysterious "Long Run" is still years away and right now, I am poor, stressed and tired.

Now, it's not that I can't handle it. I've handled much worse than this. It's just that I'm expected to be everyone else's strength, too. I'm supposed to be the supportive one for Dave's kid because his mother is useless. I'm supposed to be okay with dealing with other people dumping their rage and tears and problems on me because "she's so strong, she's so smart, she's so powerful, she can handle it". What people don't seem to understand is that I need a moment off from handling other people's problems so that I can handle my problems. Right now I'm not strong enough to handle their problems because mine aren't getting dealt with.

I mean, fuck, my husband joined me in the shower last night, which is normally a very good thing, but while he was washing my hair he started talking about our financial situation again. Not even the shower is a place to relax anymore. I've gotten to the point where I've been telling people directly "Please let me rest for a while. Please let's not talk about this right now. I'm too tired to handle this right now." I've even gone so far as to tell Dave "I know you're speaking English but when I"m this tired all I hear is noise". He knows I get like that... but this time he just kept talking. He's hurting right now and doesn't want to be alone. I'm hurting and I'm desperate to be alone... but he keeps skipping shifts at work, which scares the hell out of me for money-related reasons, and deprives me of my alone-time. It's not that I don't love people, but I need, need, need my alone time, and it's been weeks.

Really, it's not that I don't care. I do care, and I would like to be there for the people who need me to be there, but right now I'm just not strong enough. It's finals week, a fact that I have repeated until I'm blue in the face and nobody will cut me any fucking slack. And then they tell me that my studies are the most important thing in my life. And then they replace the most important thing in my life with whatever is bothering them right now.

And if I had someone to dump on the way they're dumping on me, I might be okay, but no, it's "You're supposed to be poor, you'll make money someday so you should like having to struggle right now, you're ever so smart and talented but you have no feelings, especially not for your Grandmother who just died, you're needed, you're doing a good thing for other people, we need you so much, we need your strength and because we need you, we can't stand the idea that you might not be strong, so don't fucking talk about it, just shut your mouth and be what we need, and no, you can't take a nap right now, you said you'd cook dinner tonight".

Well, I've got nothing left. My favorite singer said it better than I can just now: "... I need somebody to take the wheel, navigate for a while, tell me how brave I've been and try to make me smile, oh and I need something for the shakes, I need to fix the brakes, I need a road to take me home that's straight and true, I need to lay my burdens down in an understanding town but most of all I need someone to talk to..."

I'm done. I'm just done. It's come down to a judgment call: exams or Everything Else. Well, sorry, but exams win. You want your precious "Long Run", you're going to have to fuck the hell off in the short run.
treefrog: a blue egyptian scarab (Scarab)
I'll start with my dad, I guess.

I'm a lot more like my dad than I am like my mom. Dad is very much an introvert and he can be impatient with people who don't keep up with his thinking. He has a dry and somewhat cynical sense of humour. Many people think he doesn't have a sense of humour and they find him intimidating. I suppose I can see that. He is large, quiet and doesn't smile very often. Having grown up with him, I know that his sense of humour is in perfect working order and that he is the kindest and gentlest person you could imagine. I have never known him to act with the intention of harming another person. Ever. I can't say that about many people. Dad is also the smartest person I know. He has a Ph.D., but he's smart in the real-worse sense of things, too. He is utterly determined to do what is right, even when it isn't easy for him. In 2008, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and went through chemotherapy and radiation therapy. He faced this with courage, dignity and humour, despite being miserable and afraid. I love my dad and he loves me. It's really that simple.

I love my mom too, but there are ways in which we just don't understand one another. I remind her of her mother, which causes her feelings for me to be conflicted at times. She is utterly devoted to her religion, to the point where she allows it to do her thinking for her at times. And yet... Mom loves everyone. She genuinely likes pretty much every person she encounters. The slow people, the obnoxious people, the awkward people, the ones who are so very hard to like... she likes them all. She doesn't even have to try, it comes naturally. It's perplexing as hell, but I'm envious. I care about people, but I tend not to like them. Mom is creative and artistic. In particular, she's a gifted photographer. She tries to make the world better and more beautiful. We don't always see eye to eye, but we love each other. That's what counts for me.

The Meme )

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