Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Ties that Bind

Last week, I was (kind of) enjoying a tempeh reuben at Arbor Brewing Co. when I recieved an email on my Blackberry that was probably the most effective buzzkill (literally) of my life. Most emails that I receive about our wedding result either in giddy elation (YAY!!!! WE CAN HAVE FONDUE AT THE COCKTAIL HOUR!!!) or frustration/rage (Really? If we don't hire a videographer we're going to regret it for the rest of our lives and not remember our wedding? Really.). But this particular email resulted only in tears, leaving me in a dark place over a week later. It contained the announcement that a close relative will not be attending the wedding, as it goes against her beliefs. It also contained the not-at-all-contradictory closing line: "I hope you'll accept me as I've accepted you."

This email was in response to my email announcing that Lindsey and I are getting married. This email was the latest installment in a year-long struggle after finally coming out to her, years after everyone else. This email flew in the face of the direction I thought we were heading in--progress. We had been talking about getting together for dinner, the three of us, so that she could meet Lindsey and we could begin rebuilding our relationship. I thought that 15 months would be enough for her to come around. I thought she would see Lindsey and I together and be forced to start reconsidering her beliefs. I thought she would attend the wedding, be uncomfortable, and put on a smile. I thought we had time.

But without even meeting Lindsey, without seeing me face-to-face in over a year, without any dialogue or discussion, she made her decision. We haven't even sent out Save the Dates yet, and she's already decided not to attend. It's clear that there's no hope there, and that she's already closed her mind and her heart to the possibility of participating in such a beautiful and important event.

And the shittiest part? I'm not even angry. Those who know me know how shocking that is. I don't have even one ember of rage in me to fan, to make the sadness less palpable. All I feel is hurt and anxiety. How could I possibly continue a relationship with her after this? How could I ever see her again and make small talk and pretend that everything's okay? Am I going to have to essentially cut ties with an entire side of my family? She's the only one I see more than once a year as is, and I can't imagine attending family functions with all of that tension on the table, even if everyone else is supportive (which is yet to be determined). How will this affect my immediate family? What would my mom think?

Unfortunately, Lindsey is bearing the brunt of this grieving period. The poor woman can't go a night without talking me down from a crying spell or an anxiety attack. She tells me I'm not crazy, she insists that it's okay to feel awful even though I have it so good, she lets me watch dumb TV because it makes me feel better, and she makes me laugh. God, does she make me laugh. So even though things feel so shaky right now, I'm grateful. I have a partner who makes the worst days bearable, and who loves me enough to sign up for a lifetime of my unique brand of crazy. That's a tie that's not going anywhere.

(So suck it, haters.)

5 comments:

  1. Diana,

    As usual, your posts are beautifully written and tug at the heartstrings.

    I am sorry that this family member continues to give you grief, anxiety, and sadness. I am also thrilled (though not at all surprised) to hear that Lindsey is providing support and helping you to grieve. It's been difficult for me to provide support, as I am just feeling so angry at that family member that it's difficult for me to step out of the angry place and instead HEAR you struggle. My immediate response (being the education snob that I am) is, "That person is an idiot. Who cares what that person thinks?" I realize, of course, that this opinion is counterproductive. All of that to say that I'm happy to try to be better at being there for you.

    And in terms of alienating yourself from the family, I don't think it's going to happen. You and Lindsey are more than welcome at these events, so you guys should go. If the family member takes issue, the family member can crawl into the closet and hide out. That's not the place for you.

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

    Kristen

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  2. Thanks for this (and all) writing. And Kristen's comment gave me an image of us actually putting this person in a literal closet. Just try it on for size. Just to see how it feels. Just for a couple decades.

    Who is with me.

    Lovelove.

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  3. Closet..? Why not just a kitchen sink...?

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  4. Honey, I'm so so sorry. It's just shitty. Beyond. And sad. She's choosing this and you get to deal with all the complexity and crap that comes from her decision.

    Anytime you ever wanna talk, please call. For the good and the bad.

    I'm also available for family events to help shove her into the closet. Just imagine all of us holding the door closed while you get to relax and enjoy the rest of your family. I mean, as long as someone brings us refreshments while we're standing there, I think we could keep it up for several hours, if not decades...

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  5. i, of course, have no idea who you are talking about, but i am really loving the closet shoving imagery. eff her!

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