Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fussin' Cousins

Dear Bloggers,

What do you typically do to toxic people in your life? If you’re like me, you cut them off. I don’t know about you, but I can make myself feel bad without anyone else’s help, I’m just saying… But what do you do when these people are related to you? When you feel that no matter how many things you accomplish in your life, it’s never good enough? When the whole world applauds you, your family seems to boo you, or at least wish that you’d trip on your way to receive your reward?

I love my immediate family, and no matter what they do, I could never cut them out of my life (seeing that my family would never do anything with the purposeful intent on hurting me), but Lord have I tried to cut out those toxic aunts, uncles and cousins. But, no matter how I try to get away from them, they come back, just like that stray cat in that creepy song (“The cat came back, he wouldn’t go away. The cat came back, the very next day!!” That song always scared me for some reason…)

I have aunts and uncles that would act elitist and condescending to me and my sisters. (“What do you have to be so snobby about?! Your expensive liquor?!”) There were aunts that would always try to downgrade our accomplishments and one up them with their own children’s or grandchildren’s (“Well, you just graduated from college? Well, ______ just bought a new car AND discovered the cure for AIDS!!” “You want to be a writer? Well, ______ just penned the great American Novel and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize AND a Grammy!!” “You’re sick? Well, _____ just got bit by a vampire, and every night she transforms into a bat and flies away. Last night she bit a cow, and now has mad cow disease!!”) WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!

But if you think their parents are bad…

I had a cousin who moved to Champaign, to get out of East St. Louis. I was happy, and offered to do anything to help him get his life on the right track. However, he was content on bringing his foolishness from southern Illinois to MY college campus, and drug my name through the mud along with him.

He regaled people on his tales of drug totting, grenade tossing, gun shooting LIES, and within the same breath constantly claimed me as his cousin and accomplice!! I would walk into a library, and have a group of people call me over to ask if the stories were true. They looked disappointed when I told the truth about a man that caused so much fear in people’s heart who used to be afraid of my ventriloquist dummy (“WHERE would he buy grenades from? An Army surplus store? And you say you’re a Ph. D Candidate? …I’m just asking…”)

After he purposely ruined my reputation with lies to a weak minded aunt, I finally had enough. Taking him to dinner, and talking to him, I explained that he had to stop the foolishness. Or at least stop telling people I supplied him machine guns and machetes (“A machete? What’s that? Some type of taco??”).

I would hear my friends tell stories of toxic people in their lives, and the horrendous things they would do, and I would feel a little sad that I could put a family member’s face on each of the stories. It gets to a point in time that you have to accept your family for how they are. A psychology study I learned in one of my old classes has shown that by the age of four, the personality that people have is basically how they’ll behave for the rest of their lives. There’s nothing you can do, except accept it. Well, I accepted my ignorant aunts, my condescending uncles, and my delusions-of-grandeur having cousins. When can they finally accept me?


No comments:

Post a Comment