“Is it better to be feared or respected? I say, is it too much to ask for both?” ~ Tony Stark
“I send them to Hell. I sleep just fine.” ~ The Punisher
"OK, Doll, who do you want me to be when we meet your parents this weekend?" asks Mr. C., (he’s my awesome boyfriend — on the off-chance there’s someone out there who might have forgotten).
“Hmmmm…you know my policy…everybody gets to be themselves. Not my job to tell you who to be,” I respond. In fact, I feel very strongly on this point in stark contrast to the family in which I was raised, since they seem to think they have the authority to tell EVERYONE else how they should think, feel and behave. “Babe, who do you want to be when you meet my parents?”
“I want to be the man who helps you fix what’s left of your childhood sh#t.” He pauses. I see the wheels turning in his brain as he’s strategizing before continuing the conversation.
“OK, let me put it like this,” he offers, “Is your dream date for The Dysfunctional Family Reunion more like Tony Stark? In other words, do you want me to be charming until somebody steps over the line, and then I can shoot them with a Repulsor Ray? Or more like The Punisher, who gets right into taking care of business by blasting knee caps and doesn’t give a flip about social niceties?" I think to myself, any guy who goes straight for the kneecaps probably doesn’t give a flip, a flop, nor a flap about much besides exacting retribution, right?
I still have to ask, “Is The Punisher a good guy or a bad guy?” Deadpan stare, through slit eyes is what I get back. I’m sure he’s a good guy …right?
Although I love, love, LOVE a good super-hero movie, the truth is that I lean more toward pacifism when it comes to handling real life situations. However, I cannot deny feeling a flutter of excitement as I imagine my own personal super-hero setting the evil-doers, who are my family, straight after all these years.
“Welcome to MY world,” I boast, with the brazen bravado of one protected by a badass boyfriend. “Who’s the crazy one now, Bitches? SUCK IT!”
Within seconds I feel a little guilty and I’m quick to reframe the context of the conversation to one of a more spiritual perspective. I remind myself I don’t believe in polarities like ‘Good vs. Evil’. At times like this, Mr. C. often jokes that I remind him of ‘Kathy Griffin with a Gandhi complex’. I’m sure Gandhi would never say, “Suck it!”
“We’re all God’s children…” I say, with a smile. I believe it. He tends to be skeptical of this particular handy mantra.
Mr. C’s opinion is that even if they are, we shouldn’t give a flip (and probably neither a flop, nor a flap either) in this instance.
The last time I saw or spoke to my parents was three years ago — if you’d like to revisit that saga, you can catch the action here: Mom? Dad? What are you doing here?
It’s been even longer since my son has seen them. As for my siblings and my ex’s family? Let’s just say, there’s no re-gifting of fruitcakes during the holidays between any of us.
Now you may be wondering how we ended up in this situation in the first place. Why are we planning to party with the people who made me, and whom I never intended to see again? It all started about six weeks ago, when I got the following e-mail from my son:
OK, so, we are planning a summer event to which we can invite extended family…I was sort of thinking about making it a social experiment and just inviting everyone. But then I thought maybe that would be inviting disaster.
So, I am soliciting your input. What do you think?
Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyes, heaved a sigh, and had a mini-freak-out inside my mind. I heard the thundering symphony of Darth Vader’s theme song, The Emperor’s March, playing somewhere, in a distant galaxy, far, far away – but coming closer. “Obi-Wan Kenobi, I need you!”
I want to scream, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! It’s NOT a good idea! What would be a good idea is to stay away from those people and never speak to them again!”
After consciously quieting my ego, I responded to my son’s e-mail:
WoW! What a surprise!
I haven’t spoken to my parents or sisters in years. Remember that incident when my younger sister talked me into borrowing her car, and after I paid the insurance premium on it for her, she called the police and told them I stole her car?
After that I took a hard look at the whole crazy family and started cutting off contact with them, each in turn, as they displayed their particular flavor of toxic insanity towards me.
My life has been a million times better since I closed the door on them. They are crazy in ways that hurt more than one thinks it’s going to hurt — deep hurting hurt. That’s been my experience.
Having said that, I still love them and I think there are important lessons to learn from family of origin. That is the only purpose I see in having anything to do with them — learning the lessons, I mean.
What would you hope to gain by becoming involved with them again?
So here I am, back to today, and I have an extremely important question that needs to be answered… “Babe! Who do you want me to be? Tony Stark or The Punisher???” Mr. C. asks once again.
To be continued…