Thursday, June 23, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Into Words 

Tomorrow I'm supposed to go to dinner with Jim and my parents to talk about the last two years. It's not really a sit-down and air our your issues session. In fact, we're having dinner at Las Margaritas which is one of Jim and I's favourite places to dine. My dad's even picking us up at our place (through their network of well placed informants they figured out where we were living long before I was telling people we moved) so that we can have a few drinks at dinner. I have a few qualms about going to dinner in one car, seeing as that limits my ability to walk out of dinner, but I still find it very difficult to say no to my dad.

Since I agreed to attending my Grandad's birthday party a while back, I've been invited for dinners and weekend parties. What I find disturbing about all of this is that I'm not cool with my parents. When I show up at their house, it has nothing to do with them. It's about my Grandad's birthday. My brother's birthday/graduation. Events that are around the people I love. They don't seem to get that. It seems like they think I'm cool with them, evidenced by their casual invitations to weeknight dinners that are not centred around anything in particular. The message I feel is being sent here (by me, if I accept these invitations and start hanging out at their house once or twice a week) is that I don't matter. That I can be treated any which way without anybody suffering any consequences. I don't want that to be the message. I want the message to be that I will no longer stand for any of that bullshit that made me move out and stop talking in the first place. Furthermore I want acknowledgement of said bullshit and ownership. We're not cool, we're not buddies. I want that clear.

With that in mind, I drafted a mini-speech that I was going to deliver over Friday's dinner. I've reproduced it here.

To my mother: I don't like the kind of person you are. You are not a genuine person. In fact, as I am saying these things, I can guarantee that you are marking choice phrases in your mind that you can repeat to your friends for sympathy and attention. I also don't like being near you because you like to deliver backhanded comments thinly veiled as jokes that are undermining. I value my free time very much and as such, I am not willing to spend my free time with you.

To my dad: You're cool. Right now. That's just the thing. Whether you're cool or not fluctuates dramatically and unpredictably. Not to mention, you're not around that much, so much of what I know about you comes from what mom tells me about you. What she tells me about you is completely dependent on what mood she's in. As we all know, her moods aren't exactly very stable. So I don't trust you because I still don't know who you are. Like I said, I value my free time, and I don't see any value in using any of that time to get to know you.

Note how the speeches are short and straightforward. Las Magaritas serves excellent alcoholic beverages so the speeches were crafted with the fact that we would all be slightly inebriated in mind. After my delivery, I was going to throw my napkin down on my plate and walk out. Short, simple, gets my point across. The only problem with this is that now our dinner plans include us not having our own car anyway. Plus, after I ran these speeches past Jim, he shut me down pretty quickly.

Don't get me wrong. Jim's really supportive of the fact that I want to establish my not coolness with my parents. He just doesn't think I should burn bridges in the process. Jim's also a huge advocate for postivity in resolution. He never thinks it's a good idea to make people suffer a little, regardless of whether they've made you suffer. He's a good guy, that kid, can be a little self-righteous, but alright.

So I'm not going to get to deliver my mini-speeches. Shame. I think they're quite well-crafted. All the same, Friday night's dinner isn't going to be all flowers and wine. I'm still going to let my not coolness be known and I'm currently working on a gentler angle with Jim. Alone, I doubt I can come up with anything nicer that the stuff I had already planned on saying. I just don't understand why there would be any benefit to cushioning the words I had planned on. The feelings that I have are still strong, I haven't forgottten and I'm not so sure I believe in acceptance. I think making my words less cutting will decrease their impact. Despite that, I also have to take into consideration respect for Jim, in that he didn't approve the speech and that he will be in a nasty position if I do deliver it over dinner.

posted by Joie! at 11:07 a.m.


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