Maybe I feel things a bit more deeply for I react more sensitively to the situations that others can toss off with a “Next!”
I do wish I could move on and leave slights and slings and arrows behind me. Not personalize them so much. Not to feel so hurt.
I’m far too sensitive. "For God's sake," my father would explode, "Why are you always wearing your heart right there on your sleeve?"
I don't know how not to.
With one huge change: this is the stuff I used to drink and overeat over. But not today.
Today I let the feelings wash over me, and allow the flashbacks to old feelings of abandonment, rejection, never good enough, loved enough, respected enough. No stuffing anything down. Feel the feelings. Put them on stones, toss them into the ocean. When I'm ready.
I find out at the last minute my family of origin doesn’t care enough to come and celebrate a significant milestone birthday with me. A party I had planned at the beginning of the year is not going to happen now. I was so looking forward to seeing them here in Newfoundland. Showing them the sights, spending time together under happy circumstances rather than a funeral. I even called it my pre-funeral party.
And to add insult to injury, they leave it to the last minute to tell me they’re not coming. Even relatives that are living really close by to here have made other plans. A multiple whammy of rejection.
I had been sensing this coming when a huge void of silence refused to be ignored anymore. Their original enthusiasm had faded into forwarded jokey-e-mails, never anything personal and my birthday party never addressed.
Is this the emigrant experience, I ask my emigrant friends. Yes, they say, it is finally catching up with you.
I used to go back to my family of origin frequently but in the last few years I felt it was always this one-way scene, they would only come here to Canada when the visit was tied onto the end of a business trip.
I went back for weddings and christenings and just to be with them all. Sometimes several times a year.
And I know it wouldn’t matter as much if I was in a partnership. All my siblings are in partnerships where family rebuffs, real or imagined, are in turn buffered by their significant others.
I wonder about family ties. Do they exist? Is it all ephemeral? Do they just inhabit my imagination?
I’ve changed my plans. I won’t go back to Ireland in September. For the first time in my life I feel this real emotional distance from them all.
I would be staying with strangers.
I hesitated about posting this, but here I am warts 'n all (and , of course, anonymous!).