this weekend i’ve traded the stress of life at home for the stress of life in a large family.
it’s my step-grandmother’s 80th birthday, and i’m in north vancouver: chitchatting about the weather and my lack of academic future while compiling a pile of photos into a scrapbook and doing countless other tasks in preparation for the festivities. the big event is this afternoon: from 2 pm onwards, about 70 people are expected to descend upon this western split-level house. sunday afternoon is going to be smaller, with only family.
i am the queer and tattooed step-relative with the loud laugh.
all in all, it’s a useful distraction from my emotional issues… especially as my dad, stepmom, and kid sister are all here from toronto and they are each in their own way very special to me. my dad and i are on bar duty for the afternoon, and i *know* that’s going to be amusing.
i was in crisis mode when i was in my home city and barely prepared for this trip: packed a bag on friday morning before work, and certainly did not do much thinking about it beyond worrying that it would make me feel worse about myself. so i’d forgotten a few things about hanging out with my family: such as the copious amounts of alcohol that are consumed when we socialize, as well as the vast amounts of food that are carefully prepared and then eaten.
the booze is a good thing: yes, i will drown my sorrows, thanks very much.
the food is a bit harder to deal with: my dietary issues are in full swing when i’m feeling anxious due to being surrounded by a large group of people, and already the unhappiness of this past week as done a number on my digestive tract.
this house makes me want to play hide and seek. or at least just hide. i already checked out the crawlspace, and am considering stashing a cushion in there so that i can comfortably listen to my ipod in the dark if i need to escape this afternoon.
i need to go back upstairs and roll out puff pastry now.
thank gawd for wifi.
**** LATER ****
we are cooking together: my dad, my stepmom, my 18-year-old sister, myself. my stepgrandmother, stepuncle, and stepaunt are floating in and out of the room, helping or distracting or running to the store.
the two songs in my head since i woke up this morning:
“plea from a cat named virtute” by the weakerthans
“heartbeats” by the knife (www.youtube.com/watch
not bad songs, all things considered.
i *am* licking the sorrow from my skin, scratching terror and beginning to believe i’m strong… and as for not wanting to lean on hands from above, well… yeah. i guess that works too.
also, a tiff between my parents on the topic of silver trays (ie. did my stepmom want a silver-coloured metal tray, a plastic tray covered in tinfoil, or a tray made of actual silver?) prompted me to start singing the xmas song “silver bells” but with trays replacing bells throughout. my dad and sister joined in, singing completely off-key and with intermittent wolf howls from dad. it was a good moment.
now that song is in my head as well as the other two.