Family Isn’t A Free Pass

in me

The past month has been a bit mad for me. I ran in three races over three weekend at the same time I completed a cross-country house move.

So, move! It’s no secret that I haven’t been at all happy in Dublin over the past two years. It reached the point that the only thing which kept me in the city was work. The amenities and coffee and eateries, while all great, aren’t the stuff of a life built. I’m not social, there’s nobody to keep me here. Amenities are too far away and too crowded as a rule. Dublin has been work, high rent and lack of living security.

New home office in Galway

The move was a fantastic move! A space that’s my own and comes with the security of a signed lease has taken so much weight off my shoulder. It never mattered how well I got on with my housemate when the stark fact was that I was a sublet licenses not on the lease. By all rights under Irish law they could evict me without recourse with 24 hours notice.

Galway is great, and Galway is home. If I ever have to leave here again for work, I’ll go to the continent over Dublin. Ik spreek een beetje Nederlands dankzij mijn vrienden (en Duolingo).

And getting to the title, Galway means my family. Back in January I decided to put up a high wall between my mum and I. I tried for years to get some-any!-recognition from her about so much that matters in my life. It’s the classic child’s need for approval that became a toxic cycle that I drove. I needed approval, I tried to pressure her/get acknowledgement, she failed to give it, rinse and repeat. After five tough therapy sessions I decided that my focus wasn’t healthy. It was wrong of me to try to drive change, and that I’d be happier on my own recognition, so I stuck up the wall. Believe it or not, life’s gotten better without the woman who will roll their eyes at me and call me stupid to my face.

Right after the move I’ve had to confront that again. On Tuesday mum wound up in hospital with pneumonia after my sister found her ill at home. The hard truth is that I didn’t feel anything when I saw my mum in hospital on a bed. There have been too many negative emotions, for too long, for that. Yes, I could be there for my sister, but Irish society holds it a pretty fucked then when one has zero desire to look after their ailing parent. Parents are such an important component in the lives of so many people I know. Families rally to answer the question of who’ll look after parents when they get old.

To my sister it’s straight up common sense that you look after you parent despite whatever. It’s the Done Thing. That’s not acceptable to me any more than her emotionally-negative arguments. My family runs on guilt trips like “well what would you think if your children didn’t come and visit when you’re old?” (Answer: I’d do my best to be a good parent so my children love me and would want to come visit). Families should be love, not obligation. I’m dammed if I reject my family, and I get to live feeling like shit if I don’t. So that sucks.

Six Months in the Mountain Kingdom

in me

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