Thursday, July 10, 2008

DW: Nuclear Family Weapons

The last few months have been very turbulent vis-a-vis my extended family. All kinds of stuff has come up around loyalty, honesty, and most of all, authenticity.

A cousin of mine is going through a divorce, and it has triggered all sorts of things for me, primarily the "original" triangulation of my parents and me. The current stand ins are my cousin and his wife, who I've been very close to for a long time. There is a strain of Jewish histrionics with a touch of Sicilian justice embedded in my family's world view. Blood is blood, family is family, and there's . never a question of who you support when it"s family vs the "other." Except, there IS a question, at least for me. Why do I have to choose? My cousin's wife is someone I truly adore--and I cannot shun her. I realize that my affection for her might feel offensive (at this moment) to her soon to be ex-husband, but I can't "cancel" a friendship of 20 years because my cousin has decided that he needs a new life.

God, there's so much to say that it exhausts me just thinking about it. This is a very big topic and I need to think about it some more. My cousin's sister (who is like a sister to me) summed it up best: being authentic means revealing the in-authenticity of it all.

And when that happens it feels like everything can blow-up and dissolve. 40+ years of shared birthdays, holidays, weddings, and funerals can go up in smoke. What is the fear residing inside of all of this? Abandonment, the loss of love, the icky-ness of feeling disloyal. I find my lack of being able to be direct and open with my cousin (regarding my feelings) utterly unbearable. Ironically, I was on a conference call the other day, and one of the parties called me up immediately following the call. He said, "I'm in awe of how direct you are--you just put it right out there. I could never do that." How funny is THAT? A former friend used to talk about my "miserable introductions"-- the excessive prologue I tend to give before delivering the punch. I feel like I'm never direct when it counts. Ram Dass once said "if you think you're so evolved--go live with your parents for a week." That's kind of how I feel about this relentless emotional stammering that comes up when I'm speaking with my cousin.

There's a hefty co-pay here no matter what side of the street I'm standing on, and it makes me both angry and sad.

I'm leaving for Vienna tomorrow and all I can think about is siting in a cafe, drinking a great cup of coffee, and having some distance from all of this, at least for the next few days. I'll try to file some reports from the field.

3 comments:

The Write Bunch said...

AV: Here's hoping that coffee is good and sweet and strong. Aida has a funny thing she says whenever we talk about Paris (which she adores): "You know what they say about the French ... too bad about their coffee." (and yeah, I know you're in Vienna and not France ... :> )

I hope that you are able to find clarity in the distance and that with clarity, the words to open your heart.

The Write Bunch said...

HC: Wait, AV. I sorta don't get this about Paris coffee. What am I missing? I adored the coffee in Paris!!

sezhoo said...

after some clarification, Aida tells me it's what the Italians say. ;)
makes more sense now, huh.
AV