Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hi, Lily: An Essay on Why Being Offended Isn't Worth It

I have two goals for keeping a blog.  One is to maintain a record as my evolution as a person.  I moved to Los Angeles and began my true adult life, and I like watching the environment shape me.  By having a hard record I can go back and see how I've improved, how far I've come, and areas where I still need growth.  But my other goal is to be sincerely honest about my perceptions, experiences, and feelings.  I won't censor myself and I will present an accurate picture of myself to the world, for better or for worse.  In the process I hope to be continuously improving myself.  In a sense, this blog is an exercise in introspection.

Winston Churchill once said that if you're making enemies, you're doing something right, because it means you've stood up for something in your life.

Well, I certainly seem to have made an enemy.  Hi, Lily.  Yes, I know you read my blog, since you've taken such terrible offense to it.

To my readers who are not Lily, let me back up and explain.

I've made posts in the past about some drama between myself and Andrew's family.  His family has never especially liked me, which isn't really a problem, because I myself don't especially like chocolate, and yet I've never considered chocolate my enemy.  The problem with Andrew's family is that they have a tendency to gossip about me and bar me from family functions, which is pretty hurtful.  You can dislike something without being mean to it.  For example, I've never kicked chocolate out of my house, except for that one Mars bar.  (It knows what it did.)

So Andrew and I were planning a trip to his childhood home in Pittsburgh for Hannukah, and he called his mother and his sister to find out whether or not they were planning to make it awful.  His mom, who has chilled out considerably, expressed general neutrality toward my existence, although she admitted that she'd overheard my saying some less-than-flattering things about her on the phone when Andrew accidentally dialed her back in the spring.  (It's almost as if eavesdropping is something you oughtn't do!)

 There's no possible way this could ever backfire!

Nonetheless, Gail and I have one thing in common, which is that we love Andrew and can put aside our differences to try to make him happy, even though neither of us really like each other.  This is largely because of a difference in personalities, which at the end of the day isn't such a big deal.  There's certainly things I can find in Gail that I like, and hopefully there are things she can find in me that she likes, as well.

His sister, though.  (Hi, Lily.)  His sister had a pre-meltdown and said she thinks I'm a manipulative, bad influence.  (On one hand, I do ride a motorcycle, but on the other, I have no idea what I'm influencing or manipulating Andrew, a grown-ass man, to do, exactly.  Or why it's any of her business, for that matter.)

She said she was very offended by the things I said about her mother in my blog.  I think it's creepy that she's stalking me via my blog.  Also, I haven't said anything bad about the twins' mother since April, when I believe she attacked my personally held dietary beliefs.  Before that, it was November 2014.  That's... a long way back.  And the things I said were that she was paranoid and cruel, which she was, because she accused me of faking pneumonia while I was in the hospital hooked up to oxygen tanks.  I mean, definitionally, I think that's pretty cruel.

As for Lily (Hi, Lily), I've only ever mentioned her once, back in September:  "The twins' older sister got married Saturday, and the twins had planned to leave Wednesday. But with me in the hospital, Andrew decided to take a later flight (Thursday night). He called to let his sister know first, and she said, “Don't even bother coming.” But she's pretty emotional and it's her wedding so I can sort of understand where she's coming from."

Yeah, that was real shitty of me to say. I sure am causing a lot of drama, aren't I?

I will also take this opportunity to say that it is common knowledge that Lily has said some absolutely dreadful things to her mother herself, which I won't repeat but were attacks on her character that I did not feel were at all deserved.  My complaints have largely revolved around being treated like human garbage, which I don't feel I deserve. His family is welcome to their opinion but I don't believe they need to constantly provoke me (or throw me out of their houses with lots of yelling, or call my dogs "dirty," or accuse me of faking sick while I'm in the goddamn hospital.)

But back to my blog and attitudes.  It's true that I have decided in the last two years not to take any more bullying and that I won't tolerate actions from either Gail or anyone else in Andrew's cripplingly judgmental family that hurt my peace of mind.  But I had hoped, really and truly hoped, that we could put aside our wariness toward each other for the holidays.  To me, the winter holidays are a sacred time of coming togetherness and love and forgiveness, and people should get their emotional shit together for that.

It is very important to Andrew to visit his family and he wants me to come, and I told him I would.  I don't want to take back my word because that's not the kind of person I am, and I recognize that this visit means a lot to him.  So I'm disappointed that his sister (Hi, Lily) would rather make this whole thing a total shitstorm than just fake nice for a couple of lousy days. If not for me, than for her brother.

Also, good job, Lily.  You combed through my whole blog and you found a couple of passages made over a year ago that bothered you.  You ignored the charity work, the animal adoptions, the work ethic, the love between Andrew and I, and the persistent push to improvement myself.  Ultimately, if you want to find a reason to hate a person, you almost always can.  But why live your life that way?  That sounds very lonely and stressful.  In the last year, I've quit drinking, I've gotten an incredible new job, and I've worked harder than ever to solidify my life into an admirable one.  I have nothing to apologize for; if I had never talked about Andrew's mother and how mean she's been to me, then Lily would have found something else to focus on.  Why?  Because haters gonna hate.

But what am I talking about her for, anyway?  My life has lots of great stuff going on it in right now.  You can't control other people's actions, only your own; you also can't control what people think about you, only how you present yourself.  So enough about that nonsense, and onto the highlights of this month of November!

Last week I went to the AALAS national convention in Phoenix.

And the truth is, I was completely overwhelmed and had a bit of a breakdown, but I came back from it and managed to get a fair bit of work done.

(Also, I stayed at the Hotel San Carlos, the third most haunted hotel in America.  I don't know how you measure how haunted something is, since I don't believe in ghosts, but I certainly found the weakness of the WiFi spooky, and the tepid shower water eerie.)


Naw, seriously, I found some creepy stuff in the basement.

And at work, earlier this week, I cultured some bacteria on plates, and I made the media for those plates myself.  Yesterday, I ran my first ever PCR and gel electrophoresis.  I'm feeling less and less lost, professionally.  And I recently got on antidepressants and I'm feeling hopeful that the worst of the bad parts of my life are behind me.  

Also, I adopted a kitten.

So, long story short, I've decided that I'm not going to let one or two people ruin Andrew's trip.  My goal is to live a sincere, transparent, and charitable life, and I have always felt I was working closer and closer to that goal.  Andrew's been looking forward to this trip for ages and I can't control other people who want to sabotage it, but I'm going to make a commitment here and now to be as accommodating as possible because of my respect for Andrew, which far outweighs any irritation I feel about yet more bullshit from his family.

As Anne Sullivan said, "Duty bids us go forth into active life. Let us go cheerfully, hopefully, and earnestly, and set ourselves to find our especial part. When we have found it, willingly and faithfully perform it; for every obstacle we overcome, every success we achieve tends to bring man closer to God."



  1. "I have no idea what I'm influencing or manipulating Andrew, a grown-ass man, to do, exactly. Or why it's any of her business, for that matter."

    I heard Julie experiments with stuff. And now Andrew is experimenting with stuff too. Is it drugs? it's probably drugs. Or rodents.