This week I'm visiting my biofamily: parents M and P, sibling Ace, grandparent V, pibling (parents' sibling) L and cousin E. I don't have a laptop with me so I probably won't be able to read anything until September 2nd-ish, but I'm going to try to keep up with posting anyway.
Yesterday was the drive to meet my parents. Topaz brought me to my pibling's house and took me and Ace to coffee while we waited for everyone else to get ready. Parting with Topaz was difficult because we're both going to miss each other a lot, not least because we cuddle a LOT and they don't really cuddle with others and I am really particular about how I'm touched so negotiating cuddles with biofamily seems stressful and I fear I will just avoid touch (though, good job me, I asked for hugs this morning and got them). Wow run-on.
Before we left I was trying to convince Ace to consolidate their stuff into one bag to make space, and they got frustrated and told me that they were upset that I was bossing them around. I took that in and it took me like 30 seconds to respond, apologizing for being domineering. Usually when I see that my behavior is not ethical I immediately apologize without effort, but for some reason I had to really push myself to do it this time. I found that really weird. I know my biofamily tends to see that as 'losing' so maybe that made it harder. But once I did, Ace forgave me right away and it was done (and they were fine with consolidating stuff).
It took us forever to make the drive because we had to stop for a lot of different things. What we expected to take 4 hours took 8 and by the end my legs ached from being cramped up. But we had some good conversations while we were on the ride, about how to have a good partnership and lots of bits and pieces about memories.
I realized I get defensive when asked if I am hungry around my family, because I expect that they are asking because they think I eat a lot, as a fat person. (Actually part of the reason that I am fat is that I don't eat often enough and my body tries to store everything) But I think maybe they might be asking me for permission to eat. Especially my gparent, who is tinier than most 12 year olds and probably has the metabolism of a hummingbird. So I need to try to practice eating small snacks while I'm here, since I don't have to worry about running out of food.
Later P gave Ace a Canon DSLR. Ace was incredibly excited and I felt happy for them but at the same time I felt broken-hearted because it reminded me of being a kid, asking for a particular present, and being given a knock-off that did not even serve the same purpose, while my siblings got things that were more expensive and exactly what they asked for. I didn't handle it well, partly because I was already exhausted, and I went into my bedroom and cried. Ace came in and asked what was wrong and I explained, with a deliberate effort to be open. Then P came in and asked what was wrong and I explained that and that it reminded me of never being asked about my life as a child. P doesn't have the same memory, and I'm questioning my perceptions because I just don't remember shit. P told me that I won a science award for highest grade in my honors physics class which blew my mind. Like, the way they told the story it sounded exactly like me (I didn't care about the award but wanted to win) and felt true, but I have literally no memory of it. I want to know who it was I was so invested in beating.
I also talked about how M spends money on stuff that isn't necessary while knowing that I am suffering and barely getting by. M just bought a new car, while telling me that they don't have the money to help me with stuff I need. If they're going to put their wants above my needs, they could at least do that across the board and not be more generous to my siblings than to me. I found out that I get half of what my siblings do at christmas (each) and I just don't ask about birthdays. Mostly I put this stuff out of my mind. But when I can't, it really hurts. And it's why it is so fucking hard to even ask for the respect of being called by my name much less pronouns. If I ask and they refuse, they're not just being inconsiderate like now, they're telling me I don't matter every time they talk to or about me.
P was really defensive and I wish I knew if I was wrong. I can't trust their perceptions any more than I can trust mine, because they cannot handle making mistakes and they do not admit when they did something they're ashamed of, or failed to do something they feel they should have. Somehow the conversation turned, I stopped crying, and P left the room (in a neutral way). Shortly after, L and E came in and asked me what was wrong, then P came in. I pushed myself and told them, as briefly as I could with as little blame to P as I could. I didn't want P to feel bad about giving Ace a camera because I am genuinely happy that they made such a huge sacrifice for Ace. (P is poor - they make minimum wage and M doesn't share their giant salary) I also wanted to be frank about my sadness and I think I did okay because P didn't get angry with me. E said they could feel my sadness from the other room and we made eye contact and I felt their sincerity and L gave me pats and empathy. I felt like they all (Ace, P, E, L) cared about my feelings and that was a new experience with my biofamily (except for Ace).
Later P said that they were going to get me a camera too, when they could, and I said that I appreciate the thought but before making such a huge purchase, talk with me because if I can't fix the bug that is breaking my renders, then tools for that would be a much better gift to me than a DSLR. I have wanted one for a long time, but I can take photos that I am proud of on my little camera, and not being able to render my fractals is eating my soul. I want to be seen as a photographer, but I am at least as much a fractal artist as photographer, and I feel like my fractal art gives more to the world. There are many people who can take good photos of nature but not many who can make fractals and almost none who make them in my style.
When everyone went to bed I started reading a book I got as a review copy from BloggingForBooks, and I couldn't put it down until I finished. Partly because I desperately needed brain rest, partly because I missed my second ADD-PI meds and therefore had less control over my focus, and partly because it was a really good read. I'm gonna try to do a review for it soon. But I didn't go to sleep until like 5am and slept badly because the bed was awful and then people started being loud at like 11am. E and L came in and tickled my arms and I grumbled at them. Ace came in and rubbed my feet which was a pretty great way to wake up, after they gentled up (I have extremely sensitive feet). I got up and ready, slowly and tiredly.
I'm nervous about going swimming because walking around in a wet bathing suit gives me thigh chafing most of the time, and I super don't wanna deal with that. But I do really wanna go be in the ocean! So I'm gonna try it and hope for the best.
Ace uses my real name most of the time and E and L are trying. But that's because they asked me if I wanted them to call me by my chosen name and I said yes. I still haven't confronted anyone about my name. Yesterday I had a strange moment when Ace was introducing me to their girlfriend on skype and the girlfriend called me by my name and P said something like "they got your name right!" which felt really confusing because P usually gets it wrong. Maybe they aren't aware when they deadname me. M hasn't ever tried. Last time I talked to M about it was years ago and they didn't listen to me at all. I dunno how they'll react now but if the rest of the family is doing it they are more likely to be respectful.