Family I

by zenquaker

So today was my step-father’s birthday. I went down mainly to see my sister. We had a deep, heart-to-heart talk when I was down there in July, and I wanted to make sure she was okay. She didn’t seem to want to talk today, so I let her have her space.

I drove down with my step-nephew Andrew and step-niece Liz. Having divorced parents who remarried a total of three times can make for a confusing family. Andrew and Liz are good people, and we had a disorganized but interesting conversation on the way back about immigration, parenting, race, and class.

What struck me the most about the day was how horrible I felt on the train after Andrew dropped me off at the Metro station. I let myself get sucked into one of my depressive fantasies where I get shot by a woman I don’t even know. At the end of it I wanted to disappear, but I couldn’t abandon my cat. I want to be clear at this point that there is nothing my family did that could conceivably have made me feel this way. No one was mean to me. No one slighted me. It was actually one of the better family gatherings in recent times. And this is not the first time I have felt this way. There was at least one other social situation where everything within the social situation was fine, but I felt horrible and depressed afterwards (my spell checker says that’s not a word, but I disagree). I’m not even sure if it’s the social situations that leave me feeling that way, or the end to the social situations that does it. I’m leaning towards the former, because today I had the feeling during the birthday lunch that I was somehow outside the situation, observing it from somewhere else.