#Fact: What I want for my birthday can't be bought on Amazon
My birthday is next week. I still haven’t decided what I want to do. My options are:
1) Getting a massage, and hanging out at an animal sanctuary.
2) Going to Vegas solo for a 24 hour adventure.
I’m not one of those girls that has a “birthday week” or worse an entire “birthday month.” Quite the opposite, I’ve always viewed my birthday as a burden.
It’s strange having Talk Nerdy still live just … there. I can’t post on it without Jerry Bruckheimer staking claim to it (courtesy of it selling to CBS). I not only feel like an entirely different person now, but here are these stories - my digital diary in this strange limbo state. I re-read posts one, to see how my writing style has changed and two, because those stories all came from my heart and my head truly is still trying to process some of it.
(Wow, I didn’t expect to get so emotional writing this. Clearly I still have a lot to work through.)
Talk amongst yourselves …
<tangent> Bee tee dubs, I don’t do the pretty girl cry.
I am a passionate person, so when I cry it’s level baby sea lion.
The fact that any of us survived childhood is spectacular. No one has it “perfect” and the spectrum of shit we all dealt with just “is.” Being an “adult” IMHO means (hopefully) getting over (some of?) it.
The problem is, I truly don’t know if we ever do.
I was 13 when I calmly told my parents that I no longer wanted to speak to or see my father’s family. I won’t “victimize” myself by articulating how abusive they were emotionally, but to say they were cruel is an understatement. I am older than they were at the time and my brain can absolutely NOT process what they were thinking.
My father’s father was one of the most well respected psychiatrists in the country (Gayle King interviewed him back in the day) yet he pinned his kids against one another. I don’t understand the complexities of his relationship with his children (or wife for that matter), but what I do know was that they not only tried to stop my parent’s marriage (because they thought my mom was from the “wrong side of town”) but they greatly favored my brother. To them, I was a clone of my mother (which I’m sure was true at the time), and was to be considered nothing more than an inconvenience. My first memory is running up to my grandmother at my 6th birthday party and her asking where my brother was. She walked past me (without a hug or anything) and searched for my brother. At that age things don’t register as “ouch that hurt” because you’re still trying to process greetings and life in general. The only thing I knew in that moment was that I REALLY didn’t like how that felt.
I was born on my dad’s sister’s birthday, so their justification for their behavior was that “it was her day first.”
The birthday party attendance was when I was in the lower single digits, after that it was "holiday scheduling conflicts" and even that slowly evolved to complete absence sans any phone calls or acknowledgement of what December 8th represented.
They didn’t have the balls to say anything to my face (which I guess at that age I might not have still understood), but it’s that Connecticut old money passive aggressive of, well, if we just pretend this doesn’t exist - it truly doesn’t exist.
I’m a fucking child - not a bad habit.
Exactly three weeks later is my brother’s birthday, and year after year I would hear, “hello to our number one grandson” from the answering machine. I sobbed. sobbed. sobbed. It was pouring salt on an open wound. In my mind, you WANT to give people the benefit of the doubt, but their phone did actually work, and yes - it was truly deliberate.
When I was 13, we invited my father’s family over to dinner and to my absolute shock they agreed. We had recently purchased (at full market price) my grandparent’s house in West Hartford (due to better school systems), so I genuinely thought - wow! Maybe this is all it took.
Still. To. This. Day. I can see my mom walking into the dining room as I was setting the table with the “good china” (so Connecticut), and she looked so sad. She then reluctantly told me that they weren’t able to make it. I was being stood up, yet again (by ALL of them).
My parents truly wanted my brother and me to have two sets of grandparents (something my mother didn’t have). My father tried having lunches with both of his parents and everything fell on deaf ears.
Finally, I thought, I have had enough.
Both of my parents hugged me SO TIGHT as they reminded me of how much I was loved, but it couldn’t fill this hole that I had in my heart and this debilitating pain of wondering, why am I not “good” enough?
I excused myself to the restroom, and didn’t even consciously start to cry - these tears just escaped from my soul one right after the other. I mouthed the word, WHYYYY as I stared up at the ceiling.
When I left, I didn’t even have to compose myself - I only needed to articulate what I had to do.
I said that I had school tomorrow, and needed to focus on my studies. I thanked both of my parents for a great birthday but I wanted to go to bed.
I’d also like to be done with this for good, I said before leaving. Enough is enough.
At 13, I realized their behavior was inappropriate and at that point, emotionally I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t know what I did wrong (other than literally being born) and at that point, I was exhausted in trying to find out.
Now, I am (less than) a week away from turning 31 and I still don’t talk to them. My grandfather died when I was 17, and on his deathbed I got an apology in the only way he was able to give one - through tears as he held my thumb to a point where I literally thought it was going to break. I kissed him on the cheek telling him how much I loved him, and he didn’t want to let go.
(FUCK, this story…)
My grandmother died a few years back, and when my father called to tell me the news, I heard “ding dong the witch is dead” running through my head. I never even knew my grandmother’s first name, age, anything. She had actually come into the Starbucks that I was working at (to earn money to go to NYC when I was 16) and looked me dead in the eye never recognizing that I was her flesh and blood.
I was asked by my parents to not attend the funeral courtesy of the fact that 48 hours before, I had received a forward from my father regarding arrangements, and the original email came from my father’s brother whom in a reply to the forward, I chewed out. I don’t remember what I wrote, it wasn’t even grief at this point - it was straight ANGER.
Wait, I do remember typing that I really never gave a fuck about your money because I plan on making my own. Talk Nerdy at that point was pretty damn popular, so in my eyes, said popularity, was a big fat fuck you.
I might not have had friends or an extended family growing up, but now I was developing "internet fame" (which at the time) was what I thought would "fix" this gaping hole in my heart. Adoration from 75,000 people each month has to feel good right?
<tangent> While I place value in relationships, they placed value in their bank accounts. They questioned why I bonded with my uncle Manuel so much, curious if we were after his estate in any capacity (he had a big farm in Ireland) - and I SINCERELY could not grasp what they were even saying. WHO THE FUCK CARES?!?! My parents taught my brother and me that if we wanted something, we worked hard to get it. We weren't allowed to keep those BS “participatory medals” kids started getting unless we actually won a medal. I respect that so much as an adult and is the prime reason why my brother and I are so motivated as adults.
I loved my Uncle Manuel. I not only painted my room the color purple (his wife’s favorite color) when I came home from Ireland, but when he died he actually came to visit me. (WHICH WAS ALSO REALLY FUCKING SCARY.) </tangent>
My brother still communicates with them, and I think that’s awesome. I truly have forgiven them (truly) but in the wake is still this hole in my heart that I wonder if it will ever go away. As an adult, I can almost guarantee based on the personalities I witnessed, that we would not get along - but would I trade every moment of my life in (right now) to have those relationships as a child?
I don’t even have to think - 100%.
It’s why I did what I did with Talk Nerdy. I just really wanted to be fucking loved.
They say you're only given what you can "handle," but when is it ever enough and when does your heart finally stop hurting?
I'm fucking 30.