Wednesday, August 31, 2005

More Family Stories


cute little tourist family, originally uploaded by camille94019.

I am still single

Now that this manhunt is winding down, I am taking a moment to look around, to assess. I am having fun, I have met some interesting people, eaten some good food. Suddenly I am wondering if being in a relationship is such a good idea. (I know, BLASPHEMY!). A relationship would ultimately rearrange my life (well, that probably would be a good thing). It involves heavy things, holding the germ of a family, for one (family! is anything heavier! argh! that involves third parties! RUN!). I am trying to be chill-- enjoying the singlehood yet being open to a relationship. I am trying to find a healthy balance. I don't have any more blind dates in the foreseeable future. I am okay with that.

Dr Contessa

Spent yesterevening with the Contessa, eating her fabulous stir fry and finding trouble on CL. Its amazing how she makes her box-filled pad very homey with a little beer, The Girl (iBook) and good girl-chat. We caught up and talked about family stuff (I am jealous-- she has a big, Italian famiglia who isn't afraid of a little drama and big meals). As always, healing was balanced by good fun and yum food. Thank you!

Yesterday with El Tio

Spent the day with one of my "normal" uncles. "Normal" is entirely relative when discussing the Es. Yes he lives in his parents' house, and yes he spends nearly all his extra cash on toys (which has been curbed by the budget my mother helped him write). But he works! He can look you in the eye and carry a real dialogue! He functions! He is a damn fine baker! (the man makes the most decadent whole wheat chocolate chip cookies) and, finally, at the tender age of 43 is tasting the freedom of being an adult that most of us discovered in our early 20's. He also became a christian a few years ago, and Christ is becoming a visible force in his life ("I got rid of all my porno anime!"). All of that adds up to the giddy fact that he is, indeed, a normal uncle.

We hoofed it all over Flip Flop, stopping at the bargain barn (where he bought me a green velvet dress for 55 cents), Mr Goodies and Streetlight. He shared more hair-curling stories family stories ("first my father beat up your mother for, like an hour! and then I tried to stop him, but I was only seven at the time, and he threw me across the room when I tried to pull him off her." or "Did I tell you about the biker gang that beat up my brother when he short-changed them on a dope deal? Really traumatized him." or "Aunt M nearly killed herself when she found out that Uncle J cheated on her." or "La Tia Loca had a miscarriage right before her Big Breakdown") We munched on factory outlet cookies, chillout cafe breakfast burritoes and jamba smoothies as we had a little family shopping therapy and soaked up the sun.

NB-- Why do I share really awful family stories with you, dear reader? That question touches the breathing, throbbing core of this journal-- stories. Big stories, little stories, funny stories, sad stories, continuing stories, old stories-- all unified by their relevance to Camilleland. I understand that every family has secrets, and as far as dysfunction, the E's are probably average. But the E's are my people, and as much as I'd like to grab my parents and disown the rest of the lot, I realize that isn't possible or healthy.

Telling stories is alien to the E's-- whose overarching tragedy is that they seem nearly incapable of talking about impoartant things (only after years of therapy or a life-changing encounter with Christ do they start spilling). To normal families, this might seem acutely elementary. Of course, that is what families do, they sit around the hearth and regale. But my memory of the E's carries no such warmth. We might find ourselves sitting in a stiffling silence in hospital waiting rooms (why is Grandpa trying to cut the restraints? Don't ask), and listening to painfully irrelevant prayers over the Christmas dinner table. Or distant grandparent's names might be brought up, only to be followed by an ackward silence and an abrupt subject change. I am taking this opportunity to share the E-stories with compassionate readers, as an antidote to 80 years of uncomfortable silences, unnamed tragedy and unacknowledged heartbreak.

Thank you for reading, and God Bless.

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