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Sunday, April 12, 2009

It needs to be said

Dear Mr. So-and-so,

You are inflammatory, inciteful (as opposed to insightful, which I am
convinced you are not), argumentative, and apparently always right.
You know best. You are an expert on everything. You love arguing and
teasing for the sake of getting a rise out of people. It is all very
juvenile, I want you to know, and at your age and apparent wisdom, you
really ought to know better.

You have a skewed world view. You live in a secluded and dying little
town. You are connected to the outside world by means of television,
Fox News in particular. (I can see where you get your arguing style
from. Yell people down, cater to emotion instead of reason, when all
else fails, stoop to petty insults and personal attacks. Bravo.) You
think the world today functions the same way it did when you were our
age.

Obviously your political and social ideals differ starkly from ours.
But why does this mean we have to put these differences between us?
Can't we behave civilly and respectfully toward one another for the
sake of keeping the peace? Is it not more important for family to
harbor good relationships instead of pouncing on the reasons we
wouldn't associate if not for family ties? Is it not more important to
accept those you are supposed to love for how they are instead of
trying to change them to how you think they should be? We do not have
the luxury of choosing our families like our friendships. We have to
make do with what we have.

But even in friendship there is room for differences. For instance, I
am atheist. Many of my friends are believers. We accept this about one
another and do not try to change each other. We treat each other with
respect. The easiest way to do this is to not broach the subject of
religion, or to do so only respectfully if it does come up.

You know politics is supposed to be off limits between us. But even if
it did come up naturally (which, let's face it, it never does, you
just like bringing it up), why could we not engage in that discourse
like civil adults and not temper-tantrum-throwing two-year-olds?
Seriously.

You have alienated your son. He thinks you care more about being right
than you care about him. From what you have exhibited I can see why he
feels that way. You tell us to get our heads out of our asses and use
our brains. I advise you to do the same. Think about what you are
doing. Think about the type of relationship you want to have with your
family. Think.


Dear Ms. So-and-so,

You are passive-aggressive, subtlely manipulative through guilt-
tripping, and unable to think for yourself aside from plotting to get
what you want. Nothing we do is ever good enough for you. You want us
to get married, have children, not move to Portland, apportion more
time to you than to my side of the family.

We are not getting married. We do not think our relationship is the
business of the government. We do not think rings on our fingers makes
us any more committed than our love and respect for one another does.
We do not take each other for granted. I do not want to wear a stupid
wedding gown and throw an expensive party for people we barely know.

We are not having children. At least that is not what we plan at this
point in time. We both kind of think babies are evil little trolls. We
are the center of our lives for the foreseeable future, and that is
not how you can be when you have a child. I am about to start a career
that would benefit from undivided focus that would not be conducive to
raising a family.

We are moving to Portland. I am not taking your son from you. He is
coming of his own free will. He is not leaving behind a career that he
could retire from. We want to follow our dreams, and our youth is the
best time to seize the reins and go. Portland will suit us much better
than Utah. We are not happy here, even though there are things about
Utah we will always love.

I need to go back to school. I am a thinker. I need intellectual
stimulation. The law is a field that will continue to challenge me for
the rest of my life. It doesn't take a thinker to do the types of jobs
I can do now. I am bored. Guess what? Your son is too. This move is
good for us. Be happy for us, please.

My family is split. Holidays are a logistical pain in the ass. We are
pulled not only in your direction, but in the directions of my mother
and my father. That makes three directions. So you get one third the
time. That is fair. Besides, let's face it, there is not much more we
can do with each other in more than a day's visit. We don't really
know each other personally, and I'm not sure we could. We have little
to say to one another, and little to do other than watch tv and think
about what we should eat for our next meal. It only takes a day to do
all that.

I'm sorry that we are not good enough to make you happy or proud. But
you cannot guilt us into not moving forward with our lives. This is
happening. Accept it.

7 comments:

sov said...

I suppose I don't need to ask how your weekend went.

Know why I love and respect my parents more than just about anyone? It's not because I'm "supposed to" because I'm related to them. It's not because I "owe" them for giving me life and a good childhood. It's because they gave me the freedom to become whatever I wanted to be, without reservation, without guilt, and without pressure. They let me make my own decisions, for good or for bad, and supported me even when they knew I was wrong. Sure, they had aspirations for themselves that they wanted to achieve though me, but some of those things will never come to pass, and they accept that without "guilting" me about it. They raised me as best as they could, and then let me go. I will never lose respect for them for that very reason. I have the best parents in the world. I know they love me unconditionally, and that's not the FAKE love that comes through religion or obligation, it's the REAL love that comes from respect and understanding.

You're doing the right thing. You are only accountable for you and those who willingly share your life with you. If others want to be a part of your life, they need to accept and understand.

Dena said...

Wow.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

So, the real question is whether you have shared your feelings with Mr & Mrs So-and-So. Writing this definitely gets it off your chest, but until they know how you feel, the ill-will they present won't soon go away. Sorry you have to deal with this during a time when you should be so very excited about what the future holds.

tennessee mike said...

where is this secluded/dying little town?

Sra said...

The town is in Wyoming (surprise, surprise). I have not shared my feelings with the So-and-sos. For one thing, I really don't think they will change. For another, they are not my parents, so it's not really my place. It might even be inappropriate that I wrote about it here, but I felt like I had to. I am too fed up. E has shared some of his thoughts with them, so maybe that will do something, but I don't count on it. I'm just glad we are moving away.

Scottrbarnes said...

Awesome.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

So, the real question is whether you have shared your feelings with Mr & Mrs So-and-So. Writing this definitely gets it off your chest, but until they know how you feel, the ill-will they present won't soon go away. Sorry you have to deal with this during a time when you should be so very excited about what the future holds.

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