Now things get sticky…

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I mean that literally… It’s starting to get hot outside very quickly, meaning it’s humid and sticky and we need to have one of those big, awesome thunderstorms that knock out the electricity and help me sleep at night. It doesn’t appear that will happen though. I even attempted to plow up the garden tonight, but the ground was so dry I only got about 1/4 inch down before I had to resort to a shovel rather than a rake or hoe. 

Though the garden isn’t done and it’s already May, many other things in my life have come to an end. My college career, my relationship with my grandfather, and the fact that I don’t say I love you to people outside of my family. (Yes, the last one sounds silly, but it’s true!)

I haven’t written in a while, so this might just seem like a huge update, but it’s important for me to get these things out of my head, at least for a while. 

I graduated from college on May. I have a Masters Degree now. And I’m not even going to use that knowledge next year at work… I was so excited, for no apparent reason. I keep trying to tell myself that a second degree is a huge accomplishment and that I didn’t necessarily want to teach Physics next year anyway, but when I compare that to my other options (Calculus or Statistics), playing around with labs and teaching kids about the real-world doesn’t seem quite so difficult. 

I’m skipping the second topic… I just realized that I’m not sure I’m ready to really talk about it. No one understands, so why bother trying to let that emotional mess out? 

As for the I love you statement, I have officially said it to my boyfriend. Which seems crazy since we’ve only been dating for about 4 months now, but this has been one of the best times of my life! And, as usual, when things are in my head, they just slip out. So one day, weeks ago, I accidentally said I love you as I was getting ready to leave my boyfriend’s place. I played it off like it was an accident, a misstep in my words, but I was starting to actually feel it. The only reason I didn’t admit it right off was because I didn’t want to scare him away. This man… he and I are so alike that it’s crazy. But we’re also just different enough that we learn new things from each other without driving ourselves crazy hanging out. It’s weird. All I know is that he has taught me what the difference is between abusive relationships and really cooperative and cohesive relationships. I never knew it before, that my ex mistreated me so badly, but I know it now. It’s funny; looking back, I don’t know how I could have missed all the ways he put me down and all of the mean things he said to me. I guess sometimes you don’t learn your life lesson until it’s basically too late to learn it in an easier way. 

My students have been amazing recently. While most teachers call their students their “kids”, mine are like brothers and sisters to me. I’m too young and it just seems creepy to call them my children! But I love them like children or younger siblings just the same. It’s come to the point where some of the kids can tell when I am having a bad day (not because I’m mean, but because I get quiet and withdraw from things) and they know when I need my space and when to ask me if I need to talk. They are truly one of the most amazing groups of children on this planet… (no, I haven’t met all kids in the world, but I’m telling you these kids are amazing!) 

The reason I bring them up is because they helped me get through a really hard time recently. I don’t remember which day it was exactly… probably sometime in April. I had come home from this awful day at work. My boss was moving on to a new job, my coworkers were starting to follow the boss out the door… it was just bad. I thought things honestly couldn’t get any worse (because they are practically my family and we are super close), but as soon as I stepped into the door of my house, I knew I was completely wrong.

What is that saying… when it rains it pours? Yeah, it definitely poured that day. I’m actually surprised that I don’t remember the date since it has had such a huge impact on my thoughts and feelings lately. Anyway, I sat down at the kitchen table to talk to my family about my day and to find support and love from them in any way that I could. Sure, I was being selfish. But when Dad said we needed to talk, I knew something was wrong. My nerves went on even higher alert than they already had been, and he started to talk.

My grandfather died the week before. A full week before. And no one ever told us. We found out through my dad’s family rather than my mom’s. It’s kind of pitiful really… how one group of people can hold so much hatred towards others. The decency that they have is… zero. Who puts my name in some guy’s obituary because I am a close relative but then never lets me know that he is dead in the first place? It’s nothing like walking into your workplace to have people approach you with condolences only to have no idea what they are talking about or how they know about any of this really messed up situation. But that’s what happened the next day.

Back to the kitchen for the moment though… you know what my reaction was? I just started bawling. I freaked my parents out, that’s for sure. They didn’t expect me to care. They thought I would just shrug my shoulders and move on with my life. But I can’t. I couldn’t… no, maybe I still can’t. Otherwise I wouldn’t be typing about this right now, right? 

The thing is, my grandfather wasn’t old. He wasn’t sick. He didn’t have an accident. Nope. He killed himself. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, and I don’t know who found him. All I know is that he died by his own hands. And, unfortunately for those who think I should be really empathetic and considerate of him right now, it scared me more to know how he died than to simply know that he had died. 

One thing my family never really talks about to anyone is the past. We don’t discuss how we ended up this way, how it became the four of us against the world. And maybe that’s for a good reason. No one else really seems to understand. But here is the thing… I didn’t just up and decide to hate my grandparents one day. I didn’t choose to spread rumors or tell people that my cousins called me names to my classmates and put me down in any way they could. I choose to say so now simply because I know this is anonymous and I need to get it off my chest. I have kept my past inside for way too long, and this whole death thing has brought it right back to the surface after I have worked for so many years and so hard to bury it beneath everything else in my life. 

There’s one thing I know and it is this: I know I’m not being much of a Christian when I say this, but I am okay with the fact that my grandfather is dead. That is the selfish me thinking about the man who abused my family members, the one who broke into my house, and the one who made me scared to leave my house alone even when I was of an age where I could drive myself places. The non-selfish me is thinking that I am glad he is in a better place and maybe now all of his sins have gone away and he can find some sort of peace. 

Seriously though, I am the luckiest girl in the world to know that the abusive relationships which had started generations ago in that family were not carried on by my mother or my sibling. My mother is the strongest woman I know for being able to handle all of those things. And though many people think she is crazy or really in-tune with God, I can’t fault her for even the most annoying of her habits. The amount of work and determination she put in to make a new life for herself and her family is astonishing. Sometimes I wonder what she feels about the entire situation, if she still thinks about her family like I do sometimes. Especially at times like these, I wonder how she doesn’t break down and cry or jump for joy.

How would you handle it if the man who beat you for years of your life died? Would you feel joy or remorse or simply nothing at all? I cannot tell what my mom feels since she is so good at separating that part of her life from her actual life in today’s world with her family, but I sometimes wonder how she doesn’t feel like this great boulder of burden has been taken off of her back at this death.

Rereading this now, I think I am the most awful person on the face of the planet. I cannot believe that I wrote I have this selfish feeling of relief. While that is not the dominant feeling that I am having about this entire situation, even just an inkling of good vibes feels so wrong when they are about someone else’s death. But how would you feel if you knew someone you loved dearly and someone who put in so much effort to make you have the best life ever was hurt by someone so much, so constantly for so many years? Am I a really bad person or am I just having a moment? 

I really don’t know the answer… 

And now, as I think back on the time that I spent crying, I really am starting to realize that part of me was relieved because I didn’t have to worry about him coming up behind me in some store and grabbing me like he has done before. Maybe my relief isn’t for the fact that he is dead but that I am now safe and protected no matter where I go. Does that still make the feeling bad? But even more than that, I wonder if I wasn’t crying out of confusion and an overwhelming amount of differing emotions and stress that day. To be honest, I cannot even recall if I was crying about him specifically or if I was just so overwhelmed that I couldn’t stop myself from crying.

In any case, I’m trying to get over this hurdle and am hoping that things go better from here on out. At least for a little while. Life cannot always be daisies and roses, but since it’s Spring, can we just pretend for a little while?

~Me

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