I’m sure most of you have heard the parable of the cave before. I often feel like this very simple story is what inspired me to go to graduate school in philosophy – that I had seen a glimpse of what many other “thinkers” before me had and was then shoved back into the cave, so I needed to search for the truth outside, whatever that may be. Possibly that was a pie in the sky dream that I had: to study philosophy, teach political philosophy, write books, and hide behind my ivory towers forever. Or maybe it was a realistic goal that I was going about the right way and no one had the right to tell me that it was wrong to want to do that, or to be so unsupportive – especially after I worked so hard to get to the point that I did. Whatever the case may be, I had yet to figure out until recently just what happened when I left graduate school. It wasn’t until I got out of the mire for a little bit and went on vacation to my sweet, home Chicago that I realized what I had done was constructed and allowed myself to be chained in my own cave again. Since returning, I feel like I have been stuck again in the B(itch)’s Cave.
I identify my ultimate unhappiness so much with my geographic location in California because for years I have been stuck here inside the B(itch)’s Cave. It seems to have been a cave built especially for me – possibly I was the one who built it. In it are all the people around me: my Trailer Trash Mom, her trailer trash family, Hello Kitty Toaster, and my husband’s family. My friends out here are not a part of the cave, though, which is probably why I rarely get to see them. In any event, I always say to my husband that all these petty annoyances in life would be manageable if only it weren’t for that B(itch)’s Cave we seem to be stuck in.
Despite the fact that we were all ultimately cheated out of a grand finale to the Jerry Springer-esque Mother’s Day brawl that my Trailer Trash Mom was organizing, that whole ordeal was just another one of my mother’s typical dramatics. In many ways, my husband’s family is similarly as dramatic and dysfunctional as my mother and hers. I am sure I chose my husband because subconsciously I could tell these people were all alike – and while the drama is always at a fever pitch, I do know how to handle it. For those of you unaware, Hello Kitty Toaster is my sister in law, and the woman whose pseudo-Italian food I need three doses of Pepto Bismol to stomach is my mother-in-law. (No, Hello Kitty Toaster does not read, and while my mother-in-law is an email subscriber, I’m fairly certain she stopped reading these a long time ago … if not, oh well.) So I am sure all of you faithful blog followers can imagine that the real chains keeping this B(itch) down are the ongoing dramatics of these factions. As my mother’s drama phases out, the in-law’s drama phases in.
Anyone surprised that this has now occurred?
Yesterday my husband came home from work, acting particularly depressed. There are usually about three reasons why this would be, the first two of which I ran through as he ate dinner. “Did something happen at work?” No. “You’re mad I bought a new set of sheets, aren’t you?” No. There was only one other possibility: “you heard from one of your parents, didn’t you?” Yeppers.
Without going into all of the unnecessary and pathetic details of it all, my husband has not communicated with his family for a few months now – since sometime before Christmas. He did this of his own accord because he was tired of the ups and downs, and the dramatic roller coaster ride that is a relationship with his family. Before I met him, he kept his family at an emotional distance for the reason of avoiding their dramatics. One time very early on I asked why he was so cold around his parents and he said that if he showed any emotion he would get sucked into his mother’s emotional tirades – that is what we are dealing with here. Flashing back to now, I never told him to stop calling them. I never implied that he should do anything except for stop standing by while his mother verbally thrashed us over email because we didn’t do something she wanted. While I was willing to go head first into the hillbilly brawl my mother was working her way up to over Mother’s Day, my husband is quite the opposite by wanting to just run away from it all with regards to his family. So run is exactly what he did.
He didn’t call his mother on Mother’s Day, though, which was apparently the final straw for them. I’m not sure why they thought he was going to – he hasn’t called on any other significant day in the last few months, they emailed him and said he was “cruel and mean” for not contacting them about a month ago, and they sent him cards for his birthday and to invite us to his grandparent’s anniversary as if nothing was going on, while ignoring the kid’s birthday as well as my 30th.
What my husband then admitted to me, though, is that his father had called him and left a message last week demanding that he call his mother. In it, his dad blamed me for all of their family problems. His dad made it clear that they all believe I don’t let my husband go to their home to visit. He had saved the voicemail and played it for me last night; every time his dad said my name it made me cringe more and more. In the meanest and most malicious point, his father said that my husband needed to call his mother “to let her know you are still her son, regardless of what Heather has to do or say about it.”
This morning when I woke up, I felt as though I had been publicly flogged.
There is absolutely no reason for the people in my mother’s or my husband’s family to act towards me the way that they do. I am a good person. I have worked very hard for what I have. I know what is right in many instances, and when I don’t I am not afraid to admit it. I try very hard to take care of the people that I love most and that are most important to me. I do not gossip (except for on this blog, which is done in more of an hilarious way than anything) and I refuse to let injustice go on just for the sake of keeping the peace. My husband last night asked me if I had proof now that the world hates me, since he seems to think I believe that. I don’t believe the world hates me at all, though, with the exception of course of this world within my cave. I’m not sure why and quite frankly I no longer care.
When I got up this morning and felt as though I had been emotionally beaten to a bloody pulp, I decided that this nonsense will not be tolerated anymore. Much in the way I went into my Trailer Trash Mom’s Mother’s Day Mayhem expecting a battle, I fully expect this new chapter in the saga of the B(itch)’s Cave to be just as ugly. The bottom line is that I know I am a good person who deserves a lot more than what I have right now. All of us should stand firm in knowing that about ourselves. Letting others make us question ourselves such as my mother’s and my husband’s families have in recent years since I left graduate school is one of the worst things I could have ever done for myself. I can only hope you faithful blog followers do not let others do this to you.
I am sure that we will have another dramatic, hillbilly-esque saga for you faithful blog followers to roll around on the floor laughing over soon enough. I, myself, laughed harder during the episodic stories of my Trailer Trash Mom than I think I have ever laughed before. For those of you that came today looking for a laugh, I apologize sincerely for the seriousness of my cave story. Life is way too short to be so serious and living in the doldrums of a dark and dismal cave. We are all good people of our own right, unless we blame our problems on those that have done nothing wrong. I know I let myself be chained into this cave, which I probably built of my own accord without even realizing it. For today, we are less than happy and silly, but tomorrow we move out into the open, out of this cave of nonsense.