no-go

going back to my stream of thoughts that began late last month allow me to give a timeline. during the month of july, there was a family reunion in georgia which came on the heels of my attempt to go away to school at "mission college". the liberal arts school that "mission" represents is in georgia.

that experience was cool but academically and financially it didn't do me a whole lot of good. had more freedom but little experience in dealing with it. even met a young lady – nicole – whom i wanted to meet again even if there was uncertainty if she actually did like me like that. though that story came to a very hostile end much later.

before going back home in a state of uncertainty about whether or not i'd be able to return i went to a family reunion meeting picked up by an aunt from campus. then was sent back to campus via cousin natalie and her husband who attempted to talk my head off the whole way back. then on to the reunion where i still had uncertainty about my eventual return.

not long after the reunion my mother went on a cruise so i was at home for a whole week as she sailed around the Caribbean with her sisters. even still have a t-shirt from that period of time. then eventually my mother came back and not long after that one quick question, "are you going to register for classes at the community college?" well my answer was negative basically and she mumbled under her breath that i needed to finish those last few credit. before saying very clearly "it's your life".

little did i know, this was a warning sign. she was setting her expectation without just coming out and saying that this is what she wanted. she already hinted at it before i left for "mission" i was a few credit shy of an associate's degree and had little interest essentially in attaining it. perhaps this was me being 21-22 years old and trying to have it my way.

then because i hadn't yet found a job right away she started sitting me down convinced that i needed help strategizing. she starts putting on the pressure, though sadly finding a job takes time. bottom line this would ultimately help me return to "mission" although it was decided at this point it wasn't going to happen that particular year.

one thing that came up during those "strategizing" sessions was i needed to have this sense of completion and finish the associate's degree. my inclination was to reject that to my mother's disappointment. and i came up with excuses to not go back and clearly this is something that was just on her mind no matter what i said. it really bothered her that i could get a degree just like that and i wouldn't do it! unfortunately trying to convince me didn't work.

when it came closer to registration it was less of a discussion than simply a command – "go and get registered". ultimately i did, however, it was only for just enough classes where i'd still be short of the degree. when it was time to pay for the classes i went to the college that afternoon just to wander because i hope that at the end of the deadline it would be too late to pay. so i came home and not long after arriving my mother shows up from work unannounced. she wants the phone number and when they close which i complied quickly, however, she expected more from me and in a huff told me that "i wasn't even trying". she went back to work to get those two classes paid for.

during my time at community college, she was never in a huge rush to pay for me classes. she was giving me everything and i offered very little in return, taking it for granted. however, i showed little enthusiasm and she wanted this more than anything.

sometimes i wonder if her family put a "bug" in her ear. two of her sisters called the house and outright asked me if i was getting my associate's, and for the most part i only offered a bullsh*t answer. put without proving it my first thought was she was telling them that i would return to finish my associate's and they decided to make it part of the conversation.

as my mother just made it clear i needed to finish the associate's degree she advertised this as a way to really help me find a job. she also used her future demise as an argument. and of course as my reticence to really have this as part of any job application – perhaps in light of my naive belief that an undergrad degree would solve everything it didn't – she merely suggested just leaving it off my resume which was a direct contradiction to this would help me find a job.

all the same at least i never had to answer for my response to this attempt at parental coercion. i was very tempted to tear up this degree in her face to show how i'm not proud of it at all. she probably wouldn't have been entirely moved by it as she got what she paid for. it was what she wanted and for my young mind that wasn't enough for me. thankfully this never happened.

to continue my stream of thoughts what happened when i returned to my community college in spite of myself. what was the difference between spending one term at "mission college" vs. starting my undergrad career and a community college.

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masks

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natalie has been a feature of this blog off & on since roughly the beginning. natalie is my first cousin whose first post was regarding nicole – a young lady I met at “mission college” who attended the all-girls “hillman” – though that post was more about her asking about this fabled young woman i had told some family about. but nat making a whole deal about it made that situation ultimately uncomfortable.

the main reason i’m writing this post was to talk about a story my mother told me about natalie as a child. thanks to my rather cold and distant relationship to her – and believe me my reason for that is quite petty to be honest – i feel shitty for learning about this episode. i blow her off for my own reasons and now i recognize once upon a time she needed someone to reach out to her.

well not to disappoint you guys, but even though for the most part this blog isn’t known to my immediate family it would be in bad taste to tell the story relayed to me. there is a reason natalie told my mother whenever that was and not me. who knows who else knows this about her other than the other individuals involved. regardless i have little idea who else she told as my mother clearly hadn’t known.

what i can say is that in that initial post i noted that nat had a rough childhood and developed nicely as a wife and mother working in health care. that rough childhood involved a mother suffering from mental illness and natalie herself was raised by her grandmother in the family’s southern hometown. nat has a sister named tasha – with whom i had been far more close – found herself in the same situation except she ultimately remained in chicago to be raised by one of our aunts.

natalie developed to work in health care, get a college degree in nursing – from a southern college, and married with husband & children. my mother told me she had been at one point introverted and considering her background this makes sense. the nat i know and has been illustrated on this blog overtime is often extroverted or gregarious.

so i note that often in the moments where she can come on too strong trying to relate to me she may force herself to laugh. she may even force herself to get excited to see me and often i’m not feeling the same way. at some point she learns to back off – the story about nicole from “hillman” is one case. now i can see this gregariousness as a mask, she’s probably still suffering some pain from her childhood.

my general relationship to her will likely not change, but my view of her will be significantly different. it won’t be pity, but with the realization that her mom wasn’t in a stable mental condition to raise her daughters i know for sure she had a rough childhood. furthermore, now i somewhat understand her better now than i had ever. often she’s just a happy family member who seems to seek attention, now she has a truly sympathetic background. which now helps me feel quite sh*tty for our relationship.

when i learned this story i wanted to publish it immediately and then i realized it’s bad karma but my decision was to let some time elapse. now it won’t see the light of day and the post i wanted to write was overwritten by the post you see now. it’s good karma to keep this to myself.

BTW, let me clarify something. this blog isn’t known to my immediate family although names have been changed on this blog, the stories seen here are base on true stories. it important for me to take some pains to not allow anyone who knows me to connect the dots as to my identity however i do what to fudge the distinction as far as what character written on this blog represents as far as a real life person.

family reunion

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the reunion was something of an awkward affair actually there have been quite a few awkward ones over time. i briefly told about how my aunt laura was trying to talk to me early one morning – and while i was still half-sleep – she just decided she had to go in on me quickly. it turned into more of an ordeal than she really and a bit before she finally recognized i didn’t really want to talk.

in fact on two occasions she had little problem asking me for a mint or a piece of candy. she just had the need to ask just to get something out of me, i complied silently just to keep it moving. otherwise she finally recognized that i wasn’t feeling it.

incidentally there are other situations with her i had where her awkwardness is just apparent. for example in her interest in trying to talk to me she has little problem getting close to my personal space, especially since i’m trying not to show any interest in talking to her. some people have the need to force the issue especially if someone doesn’t want to be bothered.

since i had attended “mission college” there were some people bragging and without many details i let on that i didn’t do that well. to which one of my uncles just outright blurted out to other family and they start saying we got to fix that. of course upon hearing the action almost always never happens.

my uncle richard i have a bit more of a close relationship with and i express interest in joining his frat. though often he seems busy so perhaps he’s not that accessible and also i had to remember that he has his own family too. he definitely is big on we got to make sure you do better in college.

for the most part i wasn’t particularly sociable during this reunion other than with those i’m most comfortable. you still have natalie and her husband nathan – who was very quick to force a handshake and a quick “thank you for stopping by” after we found ourselves at their mcmansion in the suburbs.

then soon it was time to return home to chicago and then figure out how i’ll go back to “mission”. first my mother soon will go on a cruise and after that sets her expectations somewhat randomly and that means she expects me to go back to school to finally attain my associate’s degree. soon i will tell that story.

spoiler

by september i hope to talk a little bit about my senior year of high school. i’ve grown to realize it was a period of great disappointment in a variety of ways. at the same time it sets the tone for how life has been at this point. it’s hard to believe it’s close to 20 years since graduating from high school.

before i talk about senior year how did i get there. well the story really starts when i leave the 8th grade. perhaps this is where i could’ve started to peak but found myself intimidated by a number of things.

to start, i will admit i didn’t go to a good high school in a large urban district as we have here in chicago. my mother was more concerned about safety going to and from school than the caliber of school. she figured there was no big difference whether a magnet school or a neighborhood school. me on the other hand i didn’t work very hard to assure a different result.

my dad was around but he wasn’t that engaged in the process. he might have had the same mind as my mother as far as these city schools there is no huge difference between them. now he had been an employee of the school system but it’s not like he did much interactions with school teachers and administrators.

also i never concerned myself with how the system worked at that point. for example could i have gone around my 8th grade teacher? was there a possibility that i could have gone over his head to the school counselor or perhaps the school’s assistant principal who was formerly my third grade teacher. my mind only runs about that, but no idea as this was a course never pursued.

my 8th grade teacher i’ve concluded was a man who at least towards me never had anything nice to say to me. the last time i ever saw him he essentially ignored me and i never tried to keep his attention and remind him who i am. he showed attention to another former student who he got along with much better. it’s safe to say he didn’t care for me that much and didn’t mind threatening me with holding me back a grade.

only reason he gave to not go to the neighborhood high school where my parents wanted me to attend was – i’m going to get messed with and they’ll take my lunch money. i was standing right there and he told my parents this. it was never he could do much better than this high school. just absolutely negative to the core, then again what did i show him?

so either way whatever he tried to convince my parents of it didn’t matter. to the neighborhood school i go instead of anywhere more safer much better academically. no concern about commute between home and school and any weird thing that was going to happen in between.

to set this up by my freshman year of high school my mother would be laid off from her job at a bank in downtown chicago. she didn’t know this was going to happen in the 8th grade so therefore if she was working downtown and i was on my way to school or on my way home she had little piece of mind. it was just the overriding concern for her more than i could’ve gone to a better school.

she also thought my dad could eventually find a job close to what he had around the time i was born. he had worked in manufacturing before becoming a grave-yard shift worker for the public schools. she hoped he could find such a job again although by the time i came around those jobs were disappearing. with no high school diploma and his inability to stay focused to get a GED the clock was ticking on doing better than he had been.

the lesson here that i should’ve learned back then is that sometimes while your parents should have your best interests at heart they sometimes don’t. sometimes it’s all up to you as far as what you want to do. as with a lot of things – and possibly not knowing – i left my future up to others. at least as a grown man now i can at least determine my future.

in the meanwhile soon it’ll be time to start talking about my senior year in high school. perhaps in general my time in high school.

happy father’s day

you know on this day i have to mark this year as 20 years since my dad passed away. actually he had passed away in march of 1997 as a result of a stroke. severe high blood pressure took him out of this existence.

the last night he left home no one had any idea he wasn’t coming back. he worked the night shift for the public schools and it was surely a lonely job. hell i spent the night with him at work once. doing rounds in an often big empty building is surely very lonely.

at the same time he chose the job, not much different than how i chose some of my jobs. they hired you and nothing much going on so go ahead and take it so that money can be earned. however on this fateful night it turned out to be a bad thing.

why is because he’s working in a big building and was found on the floor. probably was making his rounds and collapsed, whenever that incident happened there was no one around to help him. whoever came to the school in the morning had to find him.

now this may have nothing to do with my virginity however i had a basic understanding of relationships thanks to my parents. my dad as described was often an angry man and at times took it out on his family. sometimes he wasn’t drunk when he did it.

so either way he didn’t really get along that well with my mother – yet she wouldn’t leave him fearing he couldn’t handle that. my dad ballooned in weight the years i knew him in part due to his alcoholism and appetite. if anything my dad was unappealing increasingly to my mother. something even he noted himself in a drunken rage one night.

unfortunately he seemed unwilling to really deal with it. attempting to quit drinking cold turkey didn’t seem to work for him. he already had issues with high blood pressure and had a ­­­Rx for it. sadly i’m of the understanding that if it was a choice between medicine and alcohol he’d often choose alcohol.

the appetite part came in this way. for example my mother noted that when they were out driving my mother suggested they stop somewhere to eat. my dad might  stop to eat but barely touch his food or he’d just say he’s not hungry. either way later on he gets his nip….

this was a man who needed help and wasn’t seeking it. if nothing else he had the benefits for it or perhaps the connections but i know nothing about whether or not he sought help for his addiction and his emotional issues. all i know today is that he never got the help he needed and he’s no longer with us.

to be honest i wanted to write this post since march which is the month he passed. never found the time or inclination. so apologies if this is just simply a downer father’s day post for you all.

friend request

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remember cousin natalie? someone referred to her as fake in a fairly recent comment to a post where i discuss one episode years ago about her. well she sent me a fb friend request.

huh???

i didn’t think that would happen i noted one of our last interactions. point the finger at me for both of them, but i already knew i wasn’t feeling it. however, due to her rather gregarious personality she thrives on trying to reach out to me.

what probably doesn’t help is that my mother is now retired and also a year ago had her hip fracture which put her out of action a bit last year. regardless no message no warning just send request, although i didn’t always give warning when i sent a friend request. 😛

all the same because i’ve essentially decided i need not connect with her online her request will remain on the backburner. if i did accept i will take great pains to block her from seeing my timeline – not that there’s much to see. also she won’t see what i’m really into.

that’s what i have done for my brother and his two sons for example.

sorority-sisters

anyway another tidbit cousin natalie and aunt laura are sorority sisters and have been very close. however as natalie is considered far more gregarious while laura’s personality is much different. as a result laura’s attempt at closeness with me is even more awkward.

 

june 2009

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as a counterpoint to how i started the month of may, i will start june with a triumph. may 2009 i finally graduated from “mission college”. not a very high performing GPA but in spite of myself i made it. the next task paying off my student loans.

it almost felt like a repeat of summer 2002 as it took time to finally find a job – although a temp job around the holidays of that year. now i had more time on my hands than i did while at school. though i was going to experience the pressure again that my mother wanted to place on me. she wanted me to get out there and go to work, however, finding a job takes time. no matter how often i pound the pavement.

when you think about it, at that point in time i had no anthony figure to guide me on a path towards finding a good job. he often imagined me going the posh law school route or perhaps banking. law school fine and go into law banking took more than what i thought i had during the course of summer 2009.

regardless, i received countless e-mail congrats from my mother’s coworkers and family. though i never responded to any of them. while i basked in my triumph, honestly i never wanted to be bothered with the communiques. many of those same people (i.e. family) were wondering how long was it going to take for me to finish.

one of those emails came from cousin natalie who called the house looking for mom. of course when that happened she had been at work and the next subject involved congratulating me. i was like “ok” not even trying to say thank you and then she turned around and asked “did you get my e-mail?”

wanting to cut this attempt at reaching out off quick i simply said that i got a lot of emails. that killed this right there and she didn’t know what else to do or say other than “ok, bye”. even worse she and her husband visited the house the next month after graduation to visit my mother i didn’t bother coming upstairs. my mother suggested i was scared of my family had an opinion and went with it.mcg

either way reality was beginning to set in. no more admiration of the women at “hillman college”. yeah there was always fb, but i won’t be able to check out the new batch. it’ll also be harder to connect with them if i no longer go to school down there. besides it took me a while to learn women like connections if you’re in no way connected to them even second had you have no chance at all.

in the meanwhile by the end of the year i would be employed. my mother had her opinion that i would’ve been better off finding a job through the alumni network whom i had little interest in joining. besides alumni organizations costs money and i had little. sadly i had to depend on my own experience at the time.

i didn’t start getting interviews until that fall – especially an early one with “fresh foods”. that was a bad one that i’ll admit today but thankfully it wasn’t the only one.

also found out about a theater about to open near downtown chicago that became “the show”. sent an e-mail to corporate and eventually got info on a job fair they held. also relied on the old temp college bookstore standby job at a community college on the west side. that kept me employed until “the show” was ready to open.

other than that i had some optimism regarding my college degree. hopefully this could open some doors as far as jobs. well i never realized i’d have some far more trying times…