“saying yes and meaning no.”
Well, Day #3 of camping out at the ‘rents and my fears, which and I have nursed since over three years ago when I quit my job and we briefly considered staying here, fears I most recently mentioned about three weeks ago, are starting to come true.
I’m not sure how I could have possibly been clearer, more circumspect, and more open-minded in requesting use of half my parents’ upstairs *IF* we ended up “camping” here (God forbid, and apparently He did not). This request of mine involves, primarily, a cleanout of many of my brother’s things (in a space he isn’t renting, but is using) and a few items of my ‘rents. I am the nervous, hyper-organized type so I asked three weeks ago very specifically and got the OK from my parents. On Friday when the shit hit the fan on the new place I offered my parents rent and expressly said it was to secure the space – to make it a formality. They refused rent but agreed, again (my FOO is not big on formalities or keeping agreements, as you will see). I told my brother on Friday that it looked like our staying here might be necessary, for a bit. I told him I was sorry it was even going this way, but we were trying to make the best of it. I also told him I wouldn’t bother him a bit about moving his stuff until after his girlfriend (visiting) left – today. And, finally, that Ralph and I were happy to help relocate his things when the time came.
So here I am, chomping at the bit that I have none of my things around me, I don’t have my husband, I don’t have a nest to entertain my children with their toys and their space, and I don’t have a retreat for privacy other than a barely-furnished guest room with a few of my clothes. Until I can set up camp, I am stuck either infrigning my children on my family, downstairs, or confining them to a guest room, upstairs, with little or nothing for them to do besides watch movies. I hate these two options.
So I am looking forward to cleaning my corner and setting up a space. I have decided I “need” that to happen. It is the ONE THING I am looking forward to (besides Ralph’s job, which I am anticipating he will love). My “job”, which is my home and the running thereof, was taken from me. I have this shaky ground: a place, a temporary one. So tonight, after dinner (which I cooked) I asked my brother about the move-out of his stuff. He said he could get it out. He was reticent. I asked when. He said, “after next weekend”, with a tone that implied if I was lucky.
I have everything we own in a big moving truck outside. That moving truck is due back tomorrow and everything has to go somewhere. After everything else, after the house falling through and not another place yet, after worrying over my husband doing the work packing and moving and driving (he got here tonight; he’s fine), after feeling strongly I didn’t want to be in the position of living here and having my kids for several days while house-hunting and trying my best not to worry too much, after the shit-sandwich knowing we’d have to now move our stuff twice, and rent storage besides – it was too much. “Stunned and dismayed” about covers it. But all I said to my brother was, “I thought we discussed this eventuality three weeks ago, and over the last couple days.” He was like grunt, grunt – the typical response from he or my father.
I had to leave, come upstairs, and cry.
This story is not about my brother. It’s not about my parents. It’s not about moving going horridly wrong (still). It’s not about my FOO’s tendency to pack-rat, which I live in total fear of and reaction to by having a rather sparse home and feeling inexplicable terror at having it inch into my life, here and now. It’s not even a story regarding my intense desire for space and occasional privacy. And it’s only partially a story about my FOO’s method of communication – non-communication.
This story is about being heard.
Do they think I’m a hinter? That I don’t say exactly what I mean? A passive-aggressive type? What do they know of me? In what way do I not ask for what I want? What happens when people say “No” to me? Do I retreat, hate them, emotionally distance myself? Or do I move on and find another plan?
Do they think I’m the type to make idle, half-assed plans? How do they think I live out my life as a stay-at-home Mom? By floating with the tide and hoping for the best?
Who am I? Do I matter? Does the fact that I’m here, sharing space, mean I don’t get the courtesy of being listened to? How much more straight-forward and direct-dealing do I have to be?
Why can’t they say what they mean, and do what they say?
My friend charitably points out “this is about them”, and not me, or their vision of me. But the exact scenario I’d hoped to avoid – the scenario where I would be vulnerable and need direct, honest communication, mean that in whatever way it is about “them”, it is also now, necessarily, about “me”. Not to mention my family, who I am responsible for.
My only explanation for what is happening, with my FOO’s distinctive brand of non-communication and “yes means no” and not saying what they mean – for what may very well continue to happen as long as I’m here – is that their idea of me, or their idea of what they want (which they aren’t willing to tell me straight-out, apparently), is more important than who I actually am and what I actually want. It is OK to inconvenience or hurt me because I am some cartoon caricature and I don’t really care about the things that I’m telling you I care about.
Diary, dear sweet blog, I only write this because there’s nowhere else for it to go. I write here because I want to move on and just live out my time here however long, with as much mental and emotional peace as I can find. I don’t want to be angry at them, to hold up hurts and bite them down. I have found those hurts don’t go away. But in this case, we can see where directness got me. Now all I can be is direct to you, dear blog, and move my scope to coping as best I can, and take care of my children as best I can.