Earlier today, I lamented on GitP that my upcoming move to TN was turning into a greater burden. My brother expects me to pay $350 a month for rent, plus start paying off a bed he'll have to buy for me, plus pay for a cell phone, plus the possibility of putting a satellite TV extension into my room, pay for any specialty foods I might want/need, and, on top of all this, play the role of "manny" (a male nanny) to my nephew when he and his wife have to work. Up until today, I have been very accommodating. My brother and his wife want this, that, or the other thing, and I have been placidly nodding my head.
Today, however, I did a little more thinking than usual, and it seems like a lot is being expected of me, when this move was supposed to be made under the concept of me being closer to family that cares. When I complained months ago about how it seemed I was only wanted for the rent I'd pay, my brother threw a fit and shouted into the phone, "We want you to come out here!"
Here's why I don't lie anymore. You see, when you have to maintain a lie for a long time, it starts to come apart, and the truth is slowly revealed for what it is. That truth is often rather ugly, which is why it started as a lie to begin with. But to be caught in the lie...it's upsetting to all, from the victim, who feels that loss of trust, to the liar, who is angry that the truth dared to rear its ugly head.
Stu called this evening to inform me of more money I'd have to shell out, specifically for the cell phone I never wanted. The thing is that I needed a phone, and this was the phone he'd be able to set up. At $15, it wasn't so bad...but now he apparently needs to upgrade his family plan to get another phone, and so an additional $18 was going to have to come from me for said plan.
With my post on GitP and a discussion with Arguskos as to whether I would continue to let my brother walk all over me, taking advantage of the nice guy that I tend to be, I was already on the cusp of having issues with this move to TN. The closer moving day came, the less I wanted to do it. And so I decided to test the waters to see how things would be once I got there. I tried to broach the topic carefully, knowing my brother's ability to throw a fit when he isn't getting his way, and asked if my income could be reduced to a third of my income. The approximate total would be $275. The threats immediately started flying. "No! Nikki already said that if you're going to start complaining, then forget it." His words, verbatim.
"Well, Stu," I said, "It just seems like a lot is being put on me as my responsibility, and it seems unfair that I should shoulder so much without getting anything out of it."
He counted with, "You'd be paying over $100 less than what you're paying now, so I don't understand what you're complaining about."
My reply: "Well, this is supposed to be mutually beneficial to both of us, but it's starting to -"
That's where he cut me off. "THEN JUST FORGET IT!" And he hung up.
Okay...Not panicking just yet. However, what has been made clear from this conversation is that *I* was NEVER welcome there. What WAS welcome was my money. Sure, it was only fair that I pay rent, because I'd be around much of the time, and I'd be burning through the electricity and food...but if it was just me that was welcome there, my rent would be $0. That would be unreasonable to the point of me insisting they take rent from me. This is from a guy living BENEATH poverty level.
I called Stu back, and got his voice mail. I happen to have his wife's phone number, so I called and got her voice mail. I didn't leave any messages. This was too important to just leave a message and hope someone calls back. So, after waiting a bit, I called Stu again and he picked up. Now I was on him with the truth of the matter, and that was the fact that no part of me was wanted in TN. No...The truth is that my rent was wanted in his house, and that's about it. "If you're ready to talk like a grown-up, you would realize that I'm the one who, finally, isn't having the mental breakdown. I'm the one being an adult this time, and it's you who is acting childish in hanging up." I then, quite calmly, started pointing out that it was being made startlingly clear to me that only my money was welcome there, and that I, myself, was not.
This earned me another hangup.
But I wasn't done. Nooooo. If I couldn't talk to Stu, then I would try to get through to his wife. So I called her again, and this time I did leave a voice message. "It would seem that there are no adults currently in your house with whom I can speak. I have no idea what you and your husband are thinking, but apparently I don't really have a place in your house. That's okay. You're more than welcome to try and take on a stranger to pay rent...a stranger who will do G-d knows what to your house and family. But if I really am welcome there, my number is..." Well, I'm not posting that last part here.
Immediately, I called Arguskos. Why? Because it was his intent to take off tomorrow night to come get Nike and watch over her until I was in TN. If I'm no longer moving, then his trip would be a complete waste of time. He apologized a great deal for the circumstances, and I insisted he not apologize; none of this was his doing - it was my brother's.
Then came what should be, once again, an embarrassment to any and all who have known me for decades. Arguskos IMMEDIATELY offered to help me move into his apartment complex, and to help me in any way he could to get me there.
This is...sad. It's very, very sad. That is, it's wonderful that a friend would leap to my aid in such a way, but that's also the problem. My family would never, ever, under ANY circumstances, do that. They look upon me like I'm a major issue to be dealt with. I am little more than a burden to my blood relations, and it has reached the point where they don't try to hide it anymore. When my name is mentioned, they sigh heavily and dread the next time I'll call, because they know I'll want something...like love.
I've said it to Stu. I've said it to my father. "I love you." They are the last two relatives I'm still speaking to, and they don't know what to do with those three words. It's as though I've spoken complete gibberish, and they mutter it back to me without knowing what the words mean. I don't know if I've somehow become emotionally advanced, or if there's something wrong with me. What's clear is that they don't see me for the person I've become; I'm "that disabled guy that happens to be related to them, and they would love for me to 'snap out of it' and get a job."
So would I. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.
Now for the problems. Arguskos and I have chatted for hours at a time about things, and one fact he's learned is that when Rob gets pissed off, it's "duck and cover" for the person at whom I'm pissed. He was supposed to come get Nike tomorrow, but if Stu doesn't come to his senses by then, Argus won't be able to do me this monumental favor, and I may well lose Nike altogether. If that happens, Stu will pay. I certainly care more about my cat than I do most people, and to lose her will be a hefty emotional blow. Should Stu change his mind once it's too late to transport Nike, I will remain a man of my word...in that, when told to watch my nephew, I will watch as the kid destroys one room after another, and do nothing to stop it (short of the kid hurting himself). Put the kid to bed? Sure thing...though what the child chooses to do after that will not be my problem. Cook any meals? Okay...but they will purposely not be fit for an animal to eat. Use headphones for my computer to keep the noise down? "Sorry, but I'm prone to ear infections, so that's not happening." (A matter of truth, if not for me making a conscious effort to keep my inner ears dry.)
The list goes on and on, and it will be totally vindictive on my part...But he separated me from my beloved pet, and for that there is a price to pay.
And does he really want me out there? Well, he AND his wife will have to make the offer for me to move to TN, and I'm fairly set on insisting they offer me a place in their home for nothing. (I'm upset right now, so this is the anger showing; I'm a bit smarter than that.) Mind you, this is just the offer I want. The reality is that I'm still willing to pay rent...exactly $275 of it, and no more than that.
(How did I come to that number? Well, there's a program across the United States called "Section 8." This program allows someone in my position to pay a third of my income, and then the government steps up and pays the rest. Why should I pay more to family when there are programs out there that will allow me to pay less.)
I love that my friends treat me like family. It's a joy to have them in my life. But it's distressing that my family treats me like a stranger. I am just about done with the lot of them. I mean, it's very late where Stu is...and where my father is...and yet I am fighting the temptation to call them this minute and tell them that I'm done. They should hang their heads with shame when my ONLINE FRIENDS offer more love and caring than my family does. And this is the breaking point. To gear me up for a move under the pretense that it's for the good of all, especially me, only to find out it's only for the good of my brother and his wife's bank accounts...? No...I'm about done with them. I don't need the emotional beatings from thousands of miles away; I can handle that all by myself. I need love. I need caring. I need what strangers give more readily than family.
What I also need to do is drive the suicidal thoughts from my head. While my family may not care one way or the other, I have friends that would probably kill themselves to chase me into the afterlife to beat the crap out of me. Besides...My friends are more like family than my actually family is. And I don't want to upset them at all.