Blood On The Dance Floor

Don’t know about the dance floor, but you can be damn sure I’m bleeding like a motherfucker.

Shit don’t stop soon, Imma need a transfusion or five.

But then, maybe that’s what should happen. Bleed out. Bleed until there’s nothing left.

Yep, I’m talking about family shit again. The pain of my relationship with them–if you can call it that–has been seriously hard to get through. The pain of not-quite-belonging. Being an afterthought. It’s like I’m related to them by blood, but that’s it. There’s a deep, emotional connection that’s not there, and hasn’t been since I was a kid.

I’m trying to figure out how to put this into words. The only word I can think of is “approval,” but that’s really too strong of a characterization. It’s not “acceptance” because that’s too weak. It’s somewhere in between. I’ve been studying the thesaurus, but I haven’t found my meaning. At least not yet. So, for purposes of this exercise, let’s go with approval.

I’ve felt since I was about six or seven years old that my family doesn’t approve of me. They certainly approve of the things I’ve done, of what I’ve accomplished. My thirst for reading. My love of learning, whatever my obsession happened to be at the time. Well, most of those obsessions, anyway. That my favorite place to hang out when I was 10 was the museums of the Smithsonian Institution (I grew up in Washington, D.C.), and did so whenever I could, which was fairly often. Winning a prize at the science fair when I was 12. Being a pianist who played with an expertise that was far beyond my years when a teen. Being a musician who played multiple instruments. My education, especially my legal education, and what it has brought me–the trappings of the good life. That the articles I write for the day job are regularly reprinted in Forbes magazine. That I’ve been quoted as an expert in major news publications, like The Wall Street Journal. That I’m damned smart, and have even been called a genius by some. And more.

Yet for all of that, I always had the feeling that, deep down, they never approved of ME. The things I’ve done, the things I have, yes. But not me. The weird little kid who grew up to be a weird adult who writes weird books. The shy one, who learned to prefer being alone than to be in the company of others. Who learned to prefer being alone because other kids and even adults found me…unsettling. That’s a good word, I guess.

What it means though, is that I’ve spent my life trying to gain their approval. I did whatever they wanted me to do. The fancy, top ranked college I attended–I didn’t want to go there. True, I enjoyed my college experience immensely, but I didn’t want to go. I wanted to go somewhere else, but they wouldn’t have approved. I went to law school because my father was on my ass to “get a career” (at 23!), I didn’t know what else to do, and I knew they would approve. They certainly approved of my getting into a fancy, highly ranked law school, “the Harvard of the South,” as it’s called.

The one time I defied them and did what I wanted ended up being an unmitigated disaster. Honestly, I have to admit I had no fucking business getting married at 29, and especially not to him. Yes, he was an asshole and my family didn’t like him. Part of their disapproval though, was that they believed I was marrying below my station. And to be honest again, I admit it was true. But when I came home asking for shelter because I had nowhere else to go, I experienced the price of their disapproval. My father lit into me, basically saying I had done nothing in my life but make a long series of “bad choices.” I burst into tears. He was so harsh my mother, even though I knew she thought the same, had to rein him in. After that, well, you can imagine. I’ve never done anything without their “approval” since.

But they still don’t approve of ME.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.