I’m going back. To Nashville. I’m going HOME. Yes, because that IS what Nashville is to me, it’s HOME. Not here. Not anymore. A home is a place where you feel loved and protected and safe and wanted. And I don’t feel any of those things here. I should. My family is here. And therein lies the whole of the matter. There’s this saying that goes “…sometimes it’s funny that the people you’d take a bullet for, are the ones pulling the trigger.” It’s true. With my family, it is SO true. My “family”.
You know, there was a time when I would have gone to bat for any one of them, no questions asked. A time when I actually believed they were good, loving people. When I would have said that while “sure, they’re a bit dysfunctional, but what family isn’t” and defended them to others…to myself. Growing up, I didn’t really think much of the dysfunction, you know? It was just the norm. The fighting, the secrets, the cops being called on nearly every holiday or family get-together. I ignored it, hid it. On some level, I think I was probably ashamed of it. I mean, our house wasn’t the place for birthday parties where you invited your friends from school or sleepovers. There was just too much yelling and drama for that. The older I got and the more skeletons that came out of the woodwork—the more I realized just how selfish and callous and oblivious they could be. I finally started to see these people for who and what they really were. My grandmother—the woman I’d pretty much looked up to and idolized my whole life—I saw her for the controlling narcissist that she is. She’s the matriarch of the family, through and through. Right down to who holds the reins and what is and/or isn’t. She’s spent her whole life raising kids. She loves kids. It’s the ones out of pull-ups and grade school that have opinions of their own that she despises. Oh, how she loathes anyone and everyone who dares to even breathe a word in opposition to her. Heaven forbid she’s ever wrong about anything. And my mother—well, she wasn’t much of an enigma. I’d figured her out long before the training bras came off, so to speak. I guess that happens when you’re five-years-old and you wake up in the middle of the night from a bad dream and Mommy’s nowhere to be found…so you go to the window and watch her getting in the car and leave with whatever guy she happened to be seeing at the time. And while you’d like to say that it only happened once, you can’t. Because time and time again, she put you and your siblings in the 2nd priority slot and never the first. It’s hard when you’re little, you know? You’re five. You don’t understand why your Mommy would rather be with some man and not you. You don’t know why you aren’t good enough, or what you didn’t do for her to love you enough. You blame yourself. As you get older, the clouds lift and everything starts to look a hell of a lot clearer. You start to blame yourself less. You realize that it’s not—that it’s her. And part of you feels sorry for her—because she must be sick or at the very least have something wrong with her to be so cold and disinterested in her own child. But the other part of you—that’s the part that gets angry because you’re not a kid anymore. You know that the decisions she’s making are exactly those…decisions. Choices. A deliberate and conscious effort and action. That what she’s doing is wrong and unfair. You know it and you want her to know it…but you know it’s pointless because in the end, it’s not going to change who she is. That that is who she is. And all you can do is accept it and move on and hope like hell that you didn’t inherit that motherless gene from her that makes you love—for all intents and purposes—but not actually care about your child if and when you decide to become a parent yourself.
I’ve made so many excuses for them over the years and I’m done. I’m just done. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t defend them when my heart’s not in it anymore. And my heart’s not in it. It may be a horrible thing to say, but they aren’t worth it. I came so close tonight to giving in and giving up and cashing in all these chips I’ve collected over the years…because of them. And the fact that they could push me that far and that close to the edge—well, it scares the hell out of me. And I’ve come too far and worked too damn hard to get to where I am right now to throw it all away for them. They’re my family. They’re supposed to have my back. They aren’t supposed to be the ones to stab the knife in it. They’re supposed to be loyal, but they don’t have a loyal bone in their bodies. I honestly don’t think they even know the meaning of the word.
It’s a long story, but there’s been a war launched between my brother and I this week. He’s had his skank of the moment and her kid nearly moved in here. Neither my mother or grandmother want her here and he’s been told, but of course as he always does, he does as he pleases. Because they don’t have the nerve to confront her directly, I did. Well…he didn’t take too kindly to that, or my calling the bitch for what she is: a whore. And I don’t use that word lightly, but she is one. Hell, that’s pretty much his type—blonde, white trash whore. Of course, you can’t dare insult any of his skanks because then he turns the tables onto you—in this case, me. So it was back to the whole “I’m a whore, I’ve slept with half the county, traded sex for coke…blah, blah…” spiel that’s so worn I’m surprised he doesn’t have dry mouth when he says the words. He also tried to punch me in the face—would’ve if my mother hadn’t stepped in the middle—and threatened to kill me. Wait, what were the words… oh yeah… “I’ll bury you.” Yep. And yet, I get told to shut up and just ignore him. No calling the cops or going to family court and getting an order of protection against the bastard because of course, that wouldn’t look well for them. After all, they have the kids to consider. Funny. They’re so concerned about these kids when it’s convenient for them and never when they actually should be concerned. And the kids aside—what about me? Where the hell is their concern over me? Their flesh and blood. Someone they claim to love. Someone they constantly say they don’t want to go back to Nashville. Where the hell is their concern when he’s spouting his bullshit at me? Holding the worst things to ever happen to me over my head? The bastard has held that damn party 9 years ago and my secret over my head for years. But you know what? I’m done caring, of shutting up and letting things go just so he’ll keep his mouth shut about that night—things he read in my journal that he stole—the words and secrets of a scared 16-year-old who had literally just had her entire world turned inside out, who had to cover up and lie because she didn’t want them to think less of her for having made the mistake of going to a stupid party and getting raped. Even so, I’ve come to terms with what happened and the things I’ve done. I’m not a saint, nor have I ever claimed to be. I’ve made mistakes. I made one that night. I’ve made a hundred more in the time since. I won’t deny that. But I won’t stand there and shut up as he calls me a whore and accuses me of sleeping with scores of men and trading sex for drugs when I have never and would never do such a thing. I may not be lily white, but unlike the trash that he whores around with, I can sleep at night knowing my sexual exploits.
Rather than cause a scene or hell—make her leave–what really pisses me off though is that they continue to let her come over—despite both still saying that don’t want her here—ESPECIALLY after all the shit he’s done and said to me over the past few days. And the fact that his smug fucking bastard self is winning is what pisses me off the most. He gets what he wants and nothing changes. Nothing. Ever. Changes. It’s the story of my entire fucking life. And they don’t see a thing wrong with it. They don’t see how their silence is, in essence, condoning everything that he’s doing. Everything that he’s saying to me. I told them to make a choice. Either get rid of her—and stand up to him for me, for once—or I’m done. And they chose to let it be. To “keep the peace” by not making her leave—as in, not get him pissed off by kicking her out. So…they made their choice. And their beds. I’m done. I can’t do it anymore. They aren’t my family anymore. They’ve shown it time and time again that they have no regard whatsoever for how I feel. So I’m going HOME. To Nashville. To the place where I don’t feel like yelling and screaming at the injustice of the people and situation I’m surrounded by every five minutes. The place where I don’t feel like I constantly in a backslide into the past, being dragged under and drowning by memories. The place where I feel like I actually have a chance. A future. Where there are people who actually care—good friends that I might not have known for very long, but that I trust a hell of a lot more than these people I share the same blood with. Those people—they’re my family now. And maybe that’s a horrible and hurtful thing to say, but until you’ve met my family, until you’ve lived with them, been dragged down into their hell where there’s no air and you can barely breathe and you’re alive but you’re just waiting for someone to do the humane thing and let you out of your misery…don’t judge me. Don’t you dare.
As soon as I can make the arrangements, I’m gone. As badly as I want to just pack it all in, get in the car and drive and not look back right this second—hell, at this point I don’t think I care what the destination is so long as it’s a hell of a lot of miles between there and here—I can’t. I’m stuck here, thanks to these damn headaches and the doctors—half of which don’t have a clue and the other half who seem to be getting off on treating me like a guinea pig the majority of the time. Thanks to the lovely state of Tennessee and the even lovelier medical specialists it employs, whom for some godforsaken reason won’t treat a patient with out-of-state insurance, nor someone who doesn’t have full-resident status in the state—despite the treatment being for injuries sustained in an accident that occurred in that lovely state. Oh, the irony! So thus the dilemma I find myself in. I am stuck. I can’t stop treatment—I need it. And I’m hoping like hell that it works. Then there’s the legal aspect—the lawyers and this damn court case. So no, I can’t just stop. So instead, I’m spending my time trying to find a loophole—something—that could fix this little dilemma of mine somehow. Once I figure that out—figure something out—I’m out. Once and for all.
I’m going back.
I’m going HOME.