Tuesday, March 18, 2008

family... it's relative

Family.

There's nothing quite like it is there?

You get your good, your bad, your ugly.

And your embarrassing.

Oh boy is there some embarrassment...

There's more than one kind really:

You've got your silly embarrassing... like that one girl who dyes her hair all black and covers herself in tattoos then walks down the street in big huge boots with little black dresses while singing made up songs to her child...

I mean really, I wouldn't find that embarrassing... I might find it creepy that someone acted so much like me... but embarrassed? no. I'm pretty sure someone in my family might find that a little embarrassing though... humiliating even.

But like I said not to me.

There are some things I find embarrassing though... Some qualities I find unacceptable.

Maybe embarrassing isn't a strong enough word...

Humiliating. Demobilizing. Disturbing.

and yes. Embarrassing.

I have this grandparent you see...

you know... the parent of your parent... one of those.

Well this particular grand parent... she is...

embarrassing.

Not in that fun way I mentioned earlier. And not in the can't match your socks way either.

In the racist sexist homophobic hateful way.

As children I... and her other grandchildren... were bothered by her stories. bothered by her rants. bothered by the fact that we got our mouths washed out with soap for saying "damn" while she uttered every racial homophobic slur in the book and some she made up on her own and all in "polite" conversation.

It wasn't just soapy resentment though. We were offended by what she said in private and embarrassed and appalled by what she said in public.

I was angry that someone who brought my wonderful parent into this world could be so hateful while thinking that she was the embodiment of love and acceptance.

Telling her she was racist sexist homophobic hateful... nope... not a dent... not a ping... not a crack in her ideas... She's a "good Christian" and that... is that.

I haven't seen her in 16 years.

I realized that my genetics didn't have to influence who I spent my time with and while I couldn't stop her spewing filth from her mouth... I could choose not to hear it.

Do I have an embarrassing relative? Yes... but it wasn't really my decision.

***

This post was written in response to David's question on Weekend Wandering; Do you have an embarrassing relative?

If you'd like to answer this in a post on your own blog just pop on by his place and let him know...

15 comments:

Lilacspecs said...

I have a grandfather who still uses the word "coloreds" and thinks that it's pc cause he's not saying the n word. But he's been getting much softer in his old age. Plus he doesn't try to say he's a God fearing Christian as an excuse. Could be cause he's Jewish, but still, he doesn't try to ignore it by saying he loves Jesus at least.

Mr. Fabulous said...

Ugh. That has got to drive you crazy.

I wish I was the embarrassing relative you had. I could be Fabby Kaos.

That would be sweeeeet.

denise said...

before he died my grandfather accused me of stealing turned out it was his new wife's large biker son I was twelve, he took a swing at a nurse because she was man sized and not sweet and pretty, the last thing he said to me was while I was pregnant with my now eight year old and it was "Wow, your the size of two people now aren't ya?" prior to that was the stealing thing.

julie said...

I have an uncle like that... ridiculously racist. He used to talk all the time about how Mexicans are ruining our country. He did it in front of my cousin once -- my cousin who married a man who is half Mexican and has three kids with him. She looked him square in the eye and asked, "So, are you saying my children are ruining this country?"

He never mentioned it again.

Kimberly said...

Wow. Way to make my Granny with her skin tight leopard print dresses, wild make up, and flashy jewellry look good. Thanks!

mielikki said...

but think of all the other *cool* relatives you happen to have....

sybil law said...

Oh Granny -
Why don't you just STFU?!
Too bad we feel like we can't just say that stuff, huh?!
Well, I would, but that's because I am a bitch. Relative or no, my mouth doesn't discriminate!
Good post! :)

david mcmahon said...

There's no memory stronger than having your mouth washed out with soap - and there's no justice when a relative spouts things that would have you hung, drawn and quartered by your parents!

Having said that, though, our parents' and grandparents' generation used terms (and saw nothing wrong with them) that we would never use today.

PS: Say hello to DaddyKaos for me, as always.

Bubblewench said...

ha ha ha ha ha ha - Fabby Kaos! LOVE IT!

We all have one of these - at least in our generation...

flutter said...

Um that would be my Dad...

holly said...

yup. my jesus-hearting dad, too.

i don't get how the jesus-hearting often times goes hand in hand with the stranger-non-hearting.

Sandi McBride said...

It's just to embarrassing to talk about embarrassing relatives...they might read about it and be ashamed...and start coming to be with you more...
David sent me...or did you guess already?
Sandi

Neva said...

hmmm I just hope I am not the embarrassing relative due to my bluntness! good post....

Jo Beaufoix said...

Blimey Cami, and you all turned out so gorgeous. You can't choose your family can you?

CrazyCath said...

Hi - popped over from your comment at David's.
This is a good, brave post. Brave because you have your principles and you stand by them. I admire that.
Too often we put up with stuff we don't agree with to be "polite" or to keep the peace.
Well done. And well recounted.