Thursday, January 19, 2017

Daddy's Narcissistic Denial

Eighteen days into the new year and I'm on blog post three. Jesus Christ, I hope this isn't a sign of what's to come in 2017. I had a moment today that I really want to vent about, but I can't take this one to Facebook, so here I am. I was set to meet with my dad today. My father, who received his masters and his doctoral degrees from Clark Atlanta University has expressed interest in joining the faculty in a few open positions in my department. My plan was to meet with him to show him the places online to submit his resume.

Before I move further, I should talk a bit about the old man. To get to the punch, he's a narcissist. A tried and true, died in the wool NARCISSIST. Social work has lead to me acquiring a greater understanding of people and how the brain's development at various stages of social learning determine or explain how people think. Essentially with narcissists, at some point in their lives (childhood) they deal with a trauma or several traumas, and the brain's way of protecting itself is to not accept responsibility for anything. So rather than feel guilt, they'll find a way to deflect responsibility. Donald trump (I did that purposely) is a classic narcissist. When you have a great understanding of narcissism and narcissists (especially when one is a parent) it gives you a greater understanding of people overall. My Buddhists leanings have also given me a greater understanding of meeting and accepting people where and how they are.

I've seen my father throughout the years walk dead smack into some bullshit and pull people in with his charm (narcissists are also exceptionally charming, which explains why people that meet with trump tend to walk away from him and claim that he's a really nice guy). That's the thing, narcissists have a tendency to pull you in, by making you feel like the center of the world, but subsequently dropping you once you no longer serve their purpose of ego building and self-fulfillment. I had a child with a narcissist and my ex David was also one. So was Ted. A big part of personal healing for me has been accepting who and what narcissists are and learning not to blame myself for being taken in by them. They prey on the weak, but the moment you expose their weaknesses, they dismiss you. Narcissists love you as long as you idolize them, but the moment they no longer get the attention and admiration they crave, they belittle and reject you as invalid, stupid and below their standards. For someone that has grown to accept and believe in the charisma and magic of a narcissistic individual, rejection can be brutal. Its a real head fuck to get sucked into.

Anyway, while trying to match our schedules, Pops casually mentioned that my elder sibling, Trisha, moved to South Carolina and asked if I'd known that. I don't have a relationship with Trisha and I have every intention of keeping it that way. She's been exceptionally abusive throughout my lifetime and I have no desire to reenter that. So she can do well in life, but do it far away from me. I told him that I don't know where or how she is although people do sometime update me on her whereabouts (even though I don't really care).

So anyway, Pops mentions that she's there and said that she wants to see him as evidenced by her continuing to call him. Then he says to me "well, I just don't want to deal with her arguing and carrying on." Pause. To give a bit of history here, Trisha and I have different biological fathers, but my father adopted and raised her up until my parents' separation. So once my parents split, so did my dad, on her. Now with me and my younger sibling, he continued to come through. He took us out, went shopping, we spent weekends with him. For the younger sib and I, he was the patron saint of the "fun weekend dad." And only once I got older, did I realize how much it must have stung for Trish to watch her younger siblings go out and enjoy a relationship with the only father she'd ever known. The same father that no longer acknowledged her.

Trish ended up with lots of anger issues and also got pregnant at the age of 16. Not only did her "dad" abandon her, she also had to watch him be a loving and doting father to her own siblings. It must be hard not to internalize and personalize why your dad doesn't want you. So in her mind, her biological daddy didn't stick around, nor did the motherfucker that later adopted her. Heavy shit right? The fact is that most of the negative relationship issues I have with my mother and both siblings I grew up with, in many ways stem directly from my father's tendency to favor me.

Many people try to play stupid about being a favorite child, but yeah, I'm honest. I'm my dad's favorite. I'm his first born, I look like him, he named me, plus I'm getting my master's degree in the same thing he got it in (social work) from the same school. I'd read somewhere years ago that parents tend to pick their favorite child based on narcissistic tendencies of the child reminding them of themselves. Definitely my case here. Again, I'm a realist.

So back to my dad and Trisha. As he balked about not wanting to see her for fear that she'd show her ass, I reminded him that the fact is that he and she have never had an actual falling out. Despite her penchant for violence and cursing at people, she's never been that to him. So my response was along the lines of "Look man, the issue here isn't her, its you. You feel guilty. She hasn't done shit to you and you feel guilty for being a shitty father because you abandoned her." So he follows that with "I've always treated all of my kids the same." Yeah, I wasn't going to give him that. Truthfully, I've made peace with the fact that I'll probably never see Trisha again. Like real talk, one of us is going to bury the other, with no reconnection. Dead ass. But I wasn't going to let Pops put his faulty behavior off on her. "Nah dude, you left her. You continued to have a great relationship with me and my younger sister. I've even heard you say you had 2 kids and not 3. That's not on her, that's on you." I honestly think he came at me with this topic because he expected that due to my horrible relationship with Trisha, I'd immediately agree with him. Nope, in this moment, one has nothing to do with the other.

Pops was clearly uncomfortable with this conversation. He responded with "that's not my fault. Where is her bio father?! That's not on me!" Yeah, like I said, I wasn't letting his ass skate. "Bullshit dude. Her dad may be a dick, but that's got nothing to do with you and your actions. He chose not to be around, but that has nothing to do with what you and I are talking about. In this moment in time, we are discussing YOU and YOUR ACTIONS. Stop putting this off on other people." Real shit, my father, Mr. Professional Social Worker Therapist Guy, genuinely could not wrap his mind around being the idea of being a fucked up person. Like his brain could not compute and refused to accept anything I said. he lied about having a client to immediately get off the phone with me. Narcissism is fascinating to watch, once you know what it is you're looking at. Its also painful to be victimized by. Pops ain't changing. I wish Trisha knew that.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The 24 Hour Existential Crisis

The last 24 hours have been a total mind fuck. It started yesterday, when I was feeling kind of right, so I headed on out to Little 5 Points, an artsy little area of Atlanta. Like always with me, I ran into plenty of people I knew and I enjoyed the scene. While there, I ran into "Martin" a beautiful spirit I'd gone to high school with. Martin and I were previously extremely tight, and I was kind of sad that we'd lost touch. Then, a few years back, in the middle of Little 5, we'd reconnected.

But seeing him this time was different. He looked tired. His hair was bushy. His hands were beyond worked, they looked haggard. They were thick and calloused and filled with sores. He smiled at me as we chatted and his teeth were rotting. He made me a beautiful necklace that I'm still wearing as I write this. While I was happy to see him, I was sad for him. I kept looking at his hard and calloused hands. What happened to my friend? What happened in his life? I offered to buy him food because I thought he was homeless. He wasn't. He'd just looked it. I thought back on that one night in the car with him. He confided to me that one night when he was 5-years-old, some monster broke into his home and raped his mother as he watched. He was so small and had to watch his mother be violated in front of him. I could see him falling back into that moment and I had to shout his name to remind him that he was safe with me and to leave that mental space.

As we chatted, I thought back on that. I knew it was that. I didn't want to bring it up, but I knew that was it. It altered his path. Who knows what and how he'd be if he hadn't seen that? But who am I to judge? Maybe he'd have been in this place anyway. I dunno.

Later that night, I goofed off on Facebook and discovered something weird. I did a bit of digging and discovered that my old friend from Georgia Perimeter College, Nivia had died of cancer a few weeks prior. Mind blown. I couldn't believe it. I saw her a few years back and she seemed to be doing well. She was married and smiled. She'd put on some weight since our GPC days. Nivia went through some real struggles in her childhood, but she was always so strong, you'd never know what her battles were. We'd exchanged numbers and promised to stay in touch, but we never did. I hated myself. I cried for what happened to her. It didn't help to see her pictures. She'd had a shape similar to that of Jill Scott, but her last pics were so bony and fragile. I couldn't stand it. I couldn't believe that in about 6 ,months, a woman my age got stage 4 pancreatic cancer and died.

I took to Google for answers. What caused this mess? I knew the answer. Cancer just happens. And it took her from the world. And I never stayed in touch. I even looked in my phone and discovered that her number was there. And I hadn't seen her in years. I ached. A part of me still does. At that moment, I promised myself that I'd dedicate myself to being as healthy and active as I could and living my life to the fullest, just that much more. Just as Nivia did.

I'd been having these thoughts a lot, but it really started to hit hard then. What the hell are we doing here? People are so wrapped up in Trump and other futile shit, that we're completely missing the mark. People worship Facebook and Instagram, but can't hold a fucking conversation with the person sitting across from them. Why aren't we doing more to address inequity in society? I felt the room spinning. What is and was happening? I called the person that I need to talk to the most, my bestie, Daisy. She let me talk, which was all I needed. She admitted that while she understood some of what I was saying, some of it was honestly quite over her head. It reminded me of the Matrix movie where there was the pill that kept you blind to reality (the blue pill), versus the pill that showed you reality (red pill). I felt like somehow that red pill was slipped to me. And everyone was asleep to what was really happening. I felt trapped. I wanted so much to just leave. Just flee. And if I didn't have a child, I probably would have at that time.

Moving forward this morning, I woke up to the news that Eddie Long died. As a resident of Decatur growing up, Eddie Long had a huge impact on my neighborhood and high school. But still, anyone that knows me knows how I feel about people that abuse children, especially a cat that abused the faith of his followers to do it. So I'm trying to remain respectful in how I address his passing, but I'll say it like this- I won't lose a wink of sleep over his passing.

So yeah, that summed up that 24-hour period for me. So much to take in in such a short period. Existential. So much. Rest in peace, Nivia. Thank you for the friendship and I look forward to seeing you on the other side. Thank you for the lessons and thank you for being a beacon of light for people like me.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Easy Love

I met him at a party a year ago. I just sat down near a guy and we started talking about our lives. I talked about this huge push to start a food pantry on campus and a few other passions about life. He looked at me and said "you're incredible." Despite my frequent discussions and thoughts about my refusal to have more children, I literally imagined him holding a Baby Bjorn carrier, with our beautiful brown baby with a head full of curly dark hair, while pushing our other lovely brown child in a stroller. How could I get more of him? I went to the host and asked about him. She told me that not only was he taken, he was also taken by a woman I'd happen to know from around the way. I knew to abort mission immediately.

Days passed and he stayed in my mind. The connection was real. I called my friend again to inquire about him. The song "Prototype" played in my mind whenever I thought of him. He was that. My prototype for my perfect mate. My friend told me that truthfully, he was going through a lot of problems in the relationship, but it remained that he was spoken for. She then told me that he really is an incredible catch and although he was unavailable, the fact that I'd picked a guy like him suggested that I was closer to finding the man I'm destined to be with. I licked my wounds and moved on.

I saw him a year later at the annual party. Just as it was time for us to leave (I was the driver for myself and some friends) he walked in. My heart leaped. I hadn't seen him since we first met. He gave me a huge hug and wrapped his long arms around me. I melted. It felt so right to be with him. I left him briefly to tell my friends to shut the hell up and that although it was 2 in the morning, we were leaving when I was damned well ready. (Okay, it didn't quite go like that, I begged them for more time cuz this was a once in a lifetime opportunity). I sat down on a couch next to him and confessed that I'd never stopped thinking about him, even though he was spoken for, and while I had no intentions of getting with him while he was spoken for, I wished him well. He admitted that our conversation a year ago was heavy and that he'd been smitten as well. I sat next to his tall frame and felt the most at peace that I'd been in ages. My friends, being the loving assholes they are, took a pic of us on that couch. I've looked at it almost daily since then.

My friends sat across from us, loudly counting down the minutes. I knew I had to be to work at 9 am. I didn't give a shit, I needed my time with him. He confessed that his situation was different this time around and suggested we stay in touch. I was hesitant. But I gave him my number, expecting to never hear from him again. He texted me at 4 am and told me to lock his number in. He didn't have to tell me twice.

That was a month ago. We've hung twice since then. He gives the best hugs. I love how it feels when he holds me. He kisses me like its the last time we'll see one another. I feel like a giddy little girl when I'm with him. Those are the things that tell me that I could love him for a thousand years and then a thousand more. He holds open doors and calls me dear and darling. We've shared our innermost thoughts and fears. I told him that no matter what, we have to remain at the very least, friends. He agreed.

Then there's the other stuff. Can't put out too much info without identifying him. But I'll say this. He's a few years younger than me and I can definitely see and feel it. I'm finishing up school, thinking heavily of my next career move. I've got a child and as much as I try not to, I mention him a lot because naturally my child is a major part of my inspiration. He's focused on other career moves, which aren't quite as stable as mine, but still very lucrative. And yes, its legal. He also has no child so he has no real reason to be as stable and grounded as I am. I can't fault him for that, I guess. But as things remain where they are, and while he makes me flutter, I think back on my last conversation with my cousin Jarronn. How when I'd asked about how he knew his wife, Jessica, was "The One," he said that being with her was "easy." And those words have guided me in many ways since then.

My time with Party Guy (just figured that new name for him) is fun and whimsical but isn't always what I'd call easy. Loving him as a person definitely is. He's so smart, strong and childlike. I feel like he gets me. And I could see us growing and building together. But at this moment, I damned sure wouldn't describe us as "easy." I need it to be. My life is busy and complex enough without being irritated at circumstantial shit that happens. Its not even another woman. Its just who he is. Maybe he's still just growing. Maybe we need another year apart. My heart wants him in the bed next to me, as I type this on my laptop on this cold Sunday morning. My brain is showing me a large, flashing stop sign. This isn't easy. And it should be. Shouldn't it?