This post isn’t talking about being scared in general, but an actual fear that I currently have. I’m not afraid of most things, fear is not a very driving force in my life but for the past few weeks I’ve been discussing this with friends, going over it in my head, and I’ve processed it to the point where it’s okay to write it all down.
I’m terrified of seeing my dad, and even my sisters again. There are several reasons why. It all goes back to the family “communication” style. For whatever reason people in my family, including myself, start out with screams and profanities when we’re angry and end up on a murderous rampage that sometimes leaves burned bars, or rifles pointed at old ladies.
I’ve grown out of that way of being, but when I’m stressed I can “Worley” it out like the best of them. I figure I will be extremely stressed during this visit, and I don’t want to either light my own fuse, light someone else’s, or just step on toes, because for the Worleys, there’s no light and airy ending. It’s pretty gruesome. Hence why I have coping problems ten years after leaving my home.
But that’s not even my main fear. I have a very “go fuck yourself” attitude about how the general public views me. I get judged for being an atheist. I get judged for my Southern accent. I get judged for not being a feminist, for disliking “best friend” parenting, for saying fuck a lot on my personal blog. That doesn’t bother me…I like who I am and most of the bad stuff people would think about me is rarely true.
Over the years I’ve gotten the distinct impression (and have even heard such) from both my sisters as well as my parents, that I’m a “snob.” That I’m a “city slicker.” That I think I’m better than them, that I see them as hicks or hillbillies. My mom had a major problem with this since her family was a kind of old world old money family and very conservative, rich, and ‘mannered.’ My parents worked hard to show us and teach us how to be like them; they were both proud of their rough and hard-edged lifestyle. Skin of the teeth, dirty fingernails, blood on the knuckles.
I feel that when I go home I will be scrutinized and judged over every little thing. The last time I was home I did stick out like a sore thumb, like a ‘dumb city person.’ The reason I’m worried about this is I guess because unlike all the other bullshit people in the modern world think about people like me, my family may be right in their judgement of me. I don’t like cutting and hauling wood. I never wanted to be a farmer or a hunter. I dreamed of a life where I could cozy up next to a cat and read a book for hours without worrying about if the weather will allow me to plant crops, or who to trade meat with for dinner, or which bills to not pay and what odd manual labor job would supplement me.
I’m kind of the pansy of my family I guess. In addition to not being “country”, I’m also not one for violence or shouting or being around volatile people. I had a fight with my sister in 2011 and it took me months to recover from the trauma of it. Total pansy, right? But I’ve accepted this is how I am. I just don’t know if my family accepts it. They don’t know me very well….at least, they don’t know the person I’ve become over the years.
Advise has been very two-sided. Either I hear, “all family fights like that! It’s normal! You’ll be fine!” or I hear, “Don’t be around those toxic people.” Well isn’t there some in-between?
I refuse to believe family fights like that, and I refuse to believe it’s normal, and even if it is I cannot be around that stress. I just can’t handle fighting every few months over what someone said at whose wedding. I see friends go through that a lot and I feel for them. I just can’t do it.
But I can’t just abandon my family either. I love them. My mother dying has only one slight redeeming light around it–it’s brought us all the will to be closer together, like we haven’t been before. I can’t just not try. So I’ve been riding the fence on this one a lot. I just don’t understand what I’m supposed to do. No one has any answers, either. Not all problems are so black and white.
I just know I’m going to visit my family, and it might be amazing and it might be a catastrophe, but I’m a goddamn tryer and I’m going to try.