Something always brings me back to you...it never takes too long.
No matter what I say or do I'll still feel you here 'til the moment I'm gone.
You hold me without touch...you keep me without chains.
I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love and not feel your rain.
Set me free, leave me be...
I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity.
Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I'm supposed to be.
But you're onto me and all over me.
You loved me 'cause I'm fragile, when I thought that I was strong.
But you touch me for a little while and all my fragile strength is gone.
I live here on my knees as I try to make you see that you're everything I think I need here on the ground.
But you're neither friend nor foe, though I can't seem to let you go.
The one thing that I still know is that you're keeping me down...
Something always brings me back to you...it never takes too long...
-Gravity, Sara Bareilles
When I first heard this song, I thought it would relate to an ex-boyfriend of mine. He knows who he is; I don't know if he knows about this blog or not. (And if you're out there, and can read this...shoot me a line, okay?)
After a more careful listen, and some introspection, I realize this song, for me, is about my family of origin.
My friends used to call me "lucky" growing up, because my parents were still married. It seemed to be an anomaly; I was one of the few who grew up with both biological parents, still married, living under one roof. One friend even called my family the "Donna Reed" family. I knew that wasn't the case - we had our share of drama. I used to think I was lucky too.
At our wedding, the priest counted the boy and I lucky, because both of our parents' marriages had lasted over 25 years, and I still had a set of grandparents married close to 55 years at that point. The fact that my parents are getting a divorce rocks me to my very core, and I can't help but wonder how much of my idealization of marriage, and family, and love, will suffer because of it.
I know it doesn't have to be that way for the boy and I. He (fortunately) seems to come from a much healthier nuclear family. I have the world's greatest in-laws, though I know they are probably just as flawed and imperfect as my own parents. I just haven't seen it yet, and call me idealistic, but I don't think I want to see their ugly side just now - but the main difference is that they've never conditioned their approval of me. I was the girl their son brought home, he loved me, and that was enough for them. If it wasn't, they've never let on otherwise.
I get so caught up sometimes...as much as I want to shun the drama of my parents' divorce, and choosing sides, and their history, and the impact their relationship has on my psyche, I feel so damaged and broken, and betrayed, at this moment, sitting in my own house, a seemingly grown woman with a life and talents and family of my own.
It's scary to come to the realization that I've lived my entire life in the shadow of their expectations...it's horrible to think I could possibly have that kind of power and effect on my own child.
I am at sea when it comes to my parents.
My mother and sister are so close, both in emotional bond and personality, that I feel like a complete outsider when all three of us are in the same room. In a way, I relate totally to them, and with them; we share so many idiosyncracies that it's impossible to deny the genetics. After about three days, it gets annoying for all of us. On the other hand, the two of them are bonded in a way I will never share with either of them. This makes me both jealous and relieved - I would love a closer relationship with my mother but I can't get past some of her passive-aggressive tendencies, and I don't know that she's ever been truly happy for me.
I want to believe she is proud of me, I want to think that she just had her own way of showing it. The only times I can recall when her gut reaction has been unadulterated happiness for me has been when my life follows her mental timeline for me. In a way, I don't have the burden of keeping Mom happy; because I've never felt that I could get her that way in the first place. At the same time, I see how my sister relates to her, and I wish it could be that uncomplicated for me.
My dad...well...a more complicated and damaged man you will never meet. My main fear in life is that I'll end up like him - and I have so many of his proclivities, it's unreal. My mother often compares me to him, and in my mind, that's a bad comparison. By telling me I've "pulled a Dad" in a word or action means I've fucked up. I had a hero complex for my father, for a very, very long time. It wasn't until around five years ago that I truly began to see him for the person he is...and as hard as this is to admit, I'll do it. He's not a person I like very much. I doubt I'd want much to do with him if he weren't my father.
What's worse, is that I've been compared to him so much that I tend not to like myself very much - I try so hard to identify the parts of me that are like him, and supress them or change course when I find myself "pulling a Dad."
I think one of the sad realizations of my adulthood is this: the family I once thought I had...the one my friends were patently envious of growing up, the one I always thought would be there, is gone. Not just because of the divorce, though that's certainly fuel for the fire, but also because I find both my parents to be equally flawed. I can't take sides in their divorce because I...I don't want what either of them have to offer. Neither of them is better or worse than the other. I "pull a Mom" as much as I "pull a Dad" and as tough as it might be to think about, I am finding myself without a close parent.
And that's a tough thing to think about.
I can't ever live up to their expectations - I have to live up to my own.
I can't worry about what they think or want for me - I have my own worries.
I really, really wish I could want what they can give me. I hate the fact that I feel like I'm putting up with them instead of embracing them.
My own little family, well...I have a trusty boat for the voyage - it's been shored up a few times and certainly overhauled more than once. I couldn't ask for a better anchor than the girl, and the boy is my safe harbor.
But how do you stay on course when your compass is broken?