A bead of sweat rolls down the back of my neck. I’m in the New York country side. It’s supposed be cool! I left the south for a break from the heat, not to bring it with me with no AC! Yet, here it is. I’m sweating waiting for the elementary band to come marching down the main street of this small town’s 4th of July parade. I can hear the drums and the cheers of the very small crowd from down the street. It’s not a very big parade from a two-street town, but it is cute and they do throw some candy. There are horses and most of the “floats” are actually different kinds of tractors. It lasts less than an hour before the entire parade has passed us by.
The whole family is together, and it’ll probably be the one and only time that we’re all together like this at my grandmother’s house. She’s 88 this year and not getting around like she used to, but still all there. So there are eight of us in a three bedroom house. We’ve rented an RV for extra beds, but with this heat and lack of AC it’s not much fun to sleep in a, for all intents and purposes, a tin can with other sweating bodies. The only thing is that it cools down at night. That’s the saving grace. I enjoy the heat of the south – that sticky, sweaty humid air that makes your hair curl – but I do like being able to come inside into the AC. It’s refreshing.
It’s been a few days since I wrote the above, but the internet here is a little spotty so it didn’t post. I’m just going to add to it.
My bipolar-ness showed just before this trip, and I bought a thousand dollar camera that I don’t actually need. It was on sale, but it was still expensive. I justified it by saying I’d be using it to make a movie of this trip because it’ll never happen again.
As I write this, I’m sitting in a separate room away from everyone. People are outside playing croquet, drinking and laughing. Others are in the kitchen helping to prepare dinner (that I’ve been smelling all day and it’s making my mouth water with anticipation). With eight people in this house, things have gotten a little intimate and there’s no place to go to be alone. With my issues, I need my alone time. It’s like recharging my batteries. Not only is there the eight of us, but we have other family members coming over to eat and play games. It’s fun, but it’s also overwhelming. Things get to be too much – noises too loud, lights too bright. It kind of sends me over the edge, so I’ve got to find the time where I can to be on my own. Hiding before dinner seems to be the only time I can.
My family can be loud. We can be angry. We can be hilarious. But mostly what I feel, or rather don’t feel, is a bond. There isn’t a strong bond between all of us like I’ve witnessed in other families who actually enjoy being together and want to and make time to spend together. It’s something I’ve always wanted and am only recently learning to accept.
Another thing I’m learning to accept is that my grandmother has no filter from her brain to her mouth. I’ve got to take everything she says in stride because I can’t yell at an 88-year old woman. I learned also that other people have noticed that my grandmother isn’t particularly nice to me. Of my siblings, I’m the only one who isn’t married. I’m in my mid-twenties and by my age, my siblings (all older) were married or in a serious relationship (which led to marriage). I’m not dating anyone. I have no “prospects” either. I’d like to shout at her, “How am I supposed to be in a relationship when men still scare/anger me?!” Issues from being raped still reverberate through my life. It isn’t something that just happens and you eventually move on. You never move on, you just learn how to live with it. So while she calls me a spinster, she also calls me a brat. My parents help me out a lot because with my issues it’s hard to keep and maintain a job. I can’t yet finish school because of my anxiety, but I want to. She thinks I’m spoiled. She lets me know where I rank in her estimation of her grandchildren, but I can’t tell her why I am the way I am. I have to bite my tongue and turn the other cheek and pretend she doesn’t hurt my feelings or say what I already think about myself out loud. And it’s really hard. I mean really really hard. She doesn’t get it.
This post was supposed to be a happy one about the 4th of July and the fun side of this trip, but I’ve managed to turn it into a whining rant, so if you’ve read this far I’m sorry. I’m not going to change it because it’s cathartic knowing I’m putting it out there and someone, anyone is “listening” to me. It’s therapeutic. But dinner’s ready now, other family members have arrived and I’ve got to do my best to smile and be sociable when all I want is to take a plate into a separate room and eat silently.
Anyway, thank you for reading this far and I hope you had an awesome, safe 4th of July!