Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
I have tried so hard and so desperately to maintain contact with my paternal cousins. And except for the few that I was able to reconnect with in August, the majority of them don’t seem to want to have anything to do with me.
It’s tough because I’m an only child and since my father passed away in 2001, I’ve desperately wanted to connect with my cousins on an adult level and build a friendship with them. But they are in a totally different place than I am. And being around them feels like being back in high school with the popular cliques.
(Did I mention I hated high school so much I passed up getting a yearbook?)
Unfortunately, the cousins I feel shut out by are the cousins I’m most likely to encounter. I feel like nothing I ever do is right. Nothing I do is ever good enough and by all accounts, I’m a completely loser in their eyes.
I don’t know why I need their approval so much. That’s a lie; I do.
Because if I let the connection with my paternal cousins die, it will force me to accept that the family member who bonded us together is gone.
Because I have this Daddy Complex and I just can’t let my father die. I keep trying to find ways to keep him alive even though December will have been 10 years since he passed away. I’m hoping to reconnect with my last living paternal uncle this summer who was nicknamed after my father. He seems really nice.
Everyone who talks to me knows how miserable I feel around my paternal family. I can’t enjoy weddings. I could go on and on about how my wedding was a hot disaster to my family because I was a strict fundamentalist and wouldn’t pay for other people to have alcohol. I had a DJ and I didn’t even want that. I didn’t get to eat the dinner I paid for that night. The appetizer I did have triggered an allergic reaction that almost made me throw up. I got sick with a bad cold the next morning. My wedding, in my eyes, was a failure and a terrible mess. I barely remember the highlights. (In retrospect, I wished I had hired a videographer because I remember almost nothing from the reception.)
Although I thank GOD that my marriage has turned out to be better than I could have ever dreamed.
I’m caught in this odd place because I want to know how to love my cousins as God would want me to. Does it mean shutting them out of my life by not going to the events they invite me to? I’m not sure. I’ve invited people to visit me but they haven’t. I’ve been to their homes and they’ve never been to mine. I keep wanting to make one last attempt to reach out to them for my 30th birthday party but I probably won’t pay for people to have alcohol there either. (I’m not averse to it anymore, but I’m poor and not well stocked.) And of course, if they’re there, I’ll have more anxiety about impressing them rather than just simply having a good time with people I’m mostly comfortable with. It’s my birthday and for the past several years, I’ve had lousy birthdays. I want this one to be fun and fabulous.
As I look forward to my 30th birthday coming up in February, I want to work on two things:
- Obsessing less about what people (who don’t care about me) think
- Eliminating energy-sucking people and their negative attitudes from my life
For me, my cousins are energy suckers and they don’t even know they’re doing this to me. I’m not sure I can broach the subject with them without sounding like a whiny child. The fault doesn’t lie entirely with them though, of course; I let them do this to me.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. —Eleanor Roosevelt
My maternal female cousin (and Maid of Honor) challenged me to cut them out of my life as much as I could. And after giving it some thought, I agree with her. I get such agita when I think of being at a function with all of them. (Except for the one that’s coming up in the summer since it involves the paternal cousins I like.) It’s time for me to stop waiting for an excuse to land in my lap and start learning to say no right now.
It’s also probably worth mentioning that these particular cousins and I have next to nothing in common other than being related. As far as I know, they’re not practicing Christians; they’re single; frown upon brothas and sistas dating Caucasians; love to go to bars and clubs; drink tons of alcohol; and are into entertainment, fashion, and pop culture trends.
I’m an evangelical (mostly orthodox) Christian; married to a white guy; feel out of place at bars and clubs; drink beer or wine once a week; and is lucky to even know who Snooki is. I’m boring: I read books, write blog posts, revise a novel, listen to music, like board games, and have an occasional beer or wine. I don’t watch TV (or have cable anymore) and watch movies rarely (although this action-packed blockbuster summer might throw me for a few migraine doozies).