An ugly picture in a beautiful world

I think when you come down to it, truth is, everyone wants to be loved.

Though at some time, with some people, we must face the facts that attempts for being loved, let alone being accepted, are futile.

Oh sure, I’d love to be like those that claim they do not care.  Seemingly untroubled by who calls them what, the stories that have been told, or the judgments made.  Maybe such people really do exist.  I am not one of them.

So it was with that hope in mind, that of simply being loved, and then reduced to liked, and then reduced to accepted… by my in-laws, that I write today.

Oh, not all of them.  In fact, only a few.  There are a lot of them around here in the summer.  Some have been fine.  Some have been great. But that very unpleasant, difficult few have made a big impression.  Not a pretty one, either.

Why?  Go figure.  We’ve learned we’ll never really know. I’ve heard all kinds of theories.  The typical, “She must be a hussy.”  Or thinking I was no more than the hired help.  Or that I married Bob for his money (no offense, sweetheart, but I can hear the chuckles).  Or fear.  Fear of me taking their little boy away.  Fear of losing control.  Fear of change.

For their world was perfect before I came.  Right.  Wrong.  Frighteningly so.  But I don’t know if anyone every spoke about it, you know, as in “admitted it” before I was here to open up the closet and let the skeletons spill out.  Hush-hush, brush it under the carpet, don’t tell a sole, and just pretend we get along.  Good lord, but you HATE each other!  Who are you fooling?

An ugly picture in a beautiful world.

When you put the pieces of the puzzle together, there before you is one ugly picture.  But it’s just one, spread out on my kitchen table, a twisted mix of facts and lies, and I know I have the ability to brush it off, toss it away, clean the slate and begin my day, my life, in a beautiful way. Even here.

Pieces of the puzzle.  It’s a long story.  I’ll probably only get to a part of it today.  Bear with me as this might not be the lovely lighter side of life you like to listen to.  But it’s real and raw and revealing.  And I suppose there is something to be said for that.  Like letting it all hang out so you can lighten your load and learn to laugh again.

And I’m gonna have the last laugh after all.  Because although legend has it when we were married my husband’s brother and mother vowed to chase me off in five years, I’ve spent the last four chuckling, just knowing my presence alone causes them misery.  And now, with our return, with our commitment to the land, it’s easy to see how  we’ll still be here, enjoying a new group of neighbors, long after they leave.  And yes, I confess, I do I take pleasure in that.

So where do I begin?

An ugly picture.

Most of the details I chose to forget.  There were many.  Ugly, ugly images.  Memories more like nightmares.  I learned to say this family is not mine.  No family is perfect, I know, but this was a bit much.

So why am I rehashing all this crap?  Because I can, the brother used to say.  He never gave us a better reason for treating us as he did. So maybe just this time, I’ll say the same.  Because I can.  And because part of healing is forgiving.  Letting go. And I’m still holding on.  I’m still hurt.  Having people hate you, hate everything you do or did or built or made, finding fault in you and your life and your dreams and your hard work hurts.  Period.  The scars are deep.  But they are healing.

This story will help clarify the picture for me, ugly as it may be.  Only then can I brush it aside… and laugh.

I might add that this post is not endorsed by my husband, and may be the first one which he will read and won’t say, “It’s nice.”  I guarantee.  This will make him cringe.  Why stir the waters, he will ask me?  I will tell him that the mud is thick and deep, and taints the clear waters that calmly lies on top.  It doesn’t go away on its own.  At some point we must drain the pond and begin anew. Let sleeping dogs lie, he’ll tell me.  But my dog sleeps restlessly, and wakes up barking.

Life isn’t always peaches and cream.   Maybe it’s because of the bitter apple and sour milk that fine wine seems so sweet.  It’s a package deal.  The good and bad.  An ugly picture in a beautiful world.  So, I’ll tell my story finally.  Forget the silence of the lambs.  It due time I climb to the top of the mountain and let loose my feral wail.

It isn’t going to make me any friends.  But truth is, it’s already cost me plenty.  That was their intention. Stories from my mother- and brother-in-law. I’m better off not knowing the half of them.

I would like to claim innocence but that would not be fair.  I could have/should have seen the signs, and probably did, but love is blind.  The sweet little old lady who had already had about twenty five years perfecting the act.   Oh, she could tell a story so well!  A historian, she called herself.  Though I cringe to think of how many stories were told for the sheer impact and effect on intrigued tourists.  I too was enamored by her once, and so looked forward to having her… love me.

Silly me.

Why she couldn’t run me off like she succeeded in doing for others before me, I do not know.  But for that I am grateful.  Though the battle to win and keep her son left deep scars within me.  They are worth it.  He is worth it.

An ugly picture.  You built your own hell.  Alas, it’s fading.  It’s lost its control.  The rein of critiques and criticism from the plastic throne is withering away.  The powers she appointed to replace her are not even worthy of mention.

There is more, so much more.  I need not remember it all.  I need to learn to let go.  For myself, my son, my husband.  For them, I push open the shutters and pull up the shade and let go of the past and let new light flood into the room.

As one friend writes, “The old me would have…”  But the new one won’t put up with crap.  OK, well, so maybe I never did.

So what is the solution?  Learning to let go.  Learning not to care.  Learning not to be affected by the words and actions and stories spread by others.  Well, one thing is for sure. I’ll never run for public office.  I’ll never be a politician.  For I never will care enough about what others think of me to act falsely or to put up with injustice and sit around silently. And still, I find I care too much.

So, where does that leave me?  I guess exactly where I am.

We have not spoken in years.  A big fence divides us, and I have learned no fence is big enough to hold back hatred.  I’ve stopped listening to them, to their stories, though I still hear them from time to time.  I think only a few still listen, though only a few ever did. They still spend their idle time here, coming and going in the summer.  Just more fair weather tourists who like to think about how many years they have been coming here, as if that enables one a greater hierarchical ranking.

And I will watch them leave, and breathe again.

And in the meanwhile, I will learn to accept that not everyone is going to love you. Some, in fact, will hate you.  Not because of who you are or what you’ve done, but because of themselves.  Let them keep their misery.  They build it well.  Some people choose to paint their own ugly pictures, then spend a lifetime looking at that, rather than the beautiful view before them.

I don’t want to be that person.  I want to see that beautiful view, be out in it, be a part of it, and should I lift my paintbrush to add to the picture before me, may I only craft it to be a more beautiful one.

If ever that were possible in such a picture perfect world.

25 thoughts on “An ugly picture in a beautiful world

  1. Gin,
    In my simple view of the world, life is all about attitude, and attitude is something you choose. If you are in a bad mood, YOU have choosen to be in a bad mood. If you are mad at someone, YOU have choosen to be mad. Ugly emotions, but we choose them. Can someone else affect our emotions? Sure, if YOU let them. I like that you are choosing a different way.

    My wife and mother never got along too well, but it sounds like you have it much worse, and for that I feel for you. Keep choosing your own path of feelings, and make them good, happy, satisfied feelings.

    • Hi Monte,

      I’ve heard all my life that YOU decide to be mad or in a bad mood and that YOU choose how to react in a situation and I agree with that for the most part but with pain and hurt, the type inflicted on us by others, there is no choice…fact is, it hurts like hell and cuts deep into our being and we cannot just decide to make it go away. (Maybe it’s a girl thing, I don’t know)…I guess in the end we just work through the hurt and move on best we can.

      • You might be right Karen: maybe it’s a girl thing. I hate to simplify matters by gender, but… For example, Bob is not nearly as affected by his mother and brother’s hurtful actions. He has accepted it as “their problem” and been able to move on with his own life, without them. His sister, also hurt from both as Bob was, seems far more affected. Takes it personally, I would guess, as you and I would, Karen. Hard not to take it personally when your own mother turns on you. But Monte is right too. It is to our own benefit and in our own best interest to rise above, and choose who we allow to affect us. Easier said than done… but still possible… even for us girls. Here’s to learning that lesson, sister!

  2. Let it all out girl…in my experience you may need to do it again and again but just let it out and don’t hold it in and dream! Dream of the days when the comfort of the snow returns.

  3. “Some people choose to paint their own ugly pictures, then spend a lifetime looking at that, rather than the beautiful view before them.”

    May this speak to us all and remind us to look forward and find the beauty ahead of us!

    • You might note, Karen, the friend I quoted… “The old me would have…?” Does that person sound familiar? :) May we learn to be as strong as we choose to be, and still as soft as we are. A lifetime to find the balance.

  4. I know the feeling you have for it has been with me for over 30 years .My first wife when we parted we had 3 children .I do not know all that was told to them but they would not see or talk to me even when they were young . Next the storys were pasted on to my grand children most I have never met .I have tried to make contact to all for years with no reply .Even though you try to just put it behind you it hurts and will forever .Having a loving and understanding partner in life helps you get through it .The puzzle is what did you do to get it started .I dont know about you but I will never know .Just be strong and close to your family and Bobs that want you to be part of thears .It is the best you can do .Forget the ugly pictures just look forward to thet pretty pictures of the future .So much for my ramblings .You have so many friends you cant count all of them .They will always be behind you ,Bob and Forrest

    • I always appreciate your ramblings, Don, just as I am grateful you put up with mine! And I can’t help but smile as I see a new light of happiness and love shining on your life now. The lack of acceptane, not to mention love, of your first wife’s family is inexplicable. No good reason one can see, like here, except fear of change and losing control. May Fely and her family bring you all the love you deserve, which is great. And lucky them, I might add, for having you in their lives as well! See, it’s supposed to be a win/win situation, isn’t it? How come too often it’s not? I guess to make the good times/good situations/good families seem that much sweeter?

  5. You are one of the very few people that can bring tears to my eyes. You have a beautiful mind, hungry spirit, a life essence that can’t be destroyed and most of all you have a strong and vibrant heart that rules your day and not the stories of hatred spread by others. Much respect to you and your family. I’m proud to know you. Now I know why Destiny has such a beautiful spirit….he was born surrounded by beautiful spirits. Love and many hugs! Julia

    • Julia, your words mean more to me than I can say. If I could share a warm smile, brush away a good tear, and give a sincere deep hug, I think that would be my best response.

      There is much more I would like to say about the raising of the colts and how we treat our horses, and the love and respect shared between us and them, and how lucky we are to know Destiny found you, and how much we are still learning and have to learn… I should save all that for another morning… guaranteed that will be long winded… “rambling”, as Don would call it!

      So, love and many hugs happily received, shared and sending more to you!

      • I would love to hear about your horse family and how you are together. Peaceful coexistence brings a mutual feeling of love, loyalty and trust. A happy horse is such a pleasure to be around. Destiny lives with his girls in close proximity and he’s never ill mannered when we take them in and out. He is content. The way he is with people is a direct reflection on how he was raised. He will lay with people, let kids hang on him(with supervision of course) and he will eat from your hand and not put a tooth on your skin. He came to us that way. His personality is priceless. He has a favorite human, a 16 year old boy and when he goes in with Destiny and grooms him he doesn’t move a muscle. When Patrick starts towards the gate to leave Destiny backs up to it and blocks his way. Lol Destiny knows exactly what he is doing. He’s going to be a very tractable stallion and trustworthy to be around. Oh my gosh I’m rambling!! I wish you a beautiful day full of happiness and hopes of a beautiful future. If anyone can get there it’s you. :)

  6. I know the feeling of being disliked by a mother-in-law; and on top of that, her son, my husband at the time always stuck up for her and let her treat me badly. The blessings of being out of a bad relationship :-)

    • Yes, Ann, the “blessings of being out of a bad relationship.” I have a dear friend in a similar situation as you describe – the woman put second by the boy that couldn’t leave the control of the mother – and my heart bleeds for her, but I see the blessings of her being treated “second” finally over. She deserves first. All marriages do, and I think, must! More power (and love!) to you!

  7. This is difficult to comment on, having not been in that sort of a situation. But I’ll venture to suggest that they need you as an opposite to them, a bogeyman to fear and hate, an embodiment of that which is not them and, by definition, threatens their cozy existance. A foil against which to define themselves. Just like the US needed the Soviet Union, and vice versa. Of course one side was more right than the other. If they really didn’t need you to give such passionate meaning to their lives (even a very negative meaning), your home would have been burned down whilst you were away, or years ago.

  8. You have every reason to be angry, Ginny. Just don’t let the hatred hurt YOU. Perhaps just writing this has helped a bit. Your last two paragraphs are brilliant. Don’t hesitate to “get personal”–part of what draws so many to your blog is the wisdom and poetry of your writing, where you express feelings many of us are unable to recognize or verbalize. Love you!

    • You’re right, Jean, and this is something I’ve had to really work on. Separating myself, learning to “rise above,” and figuring out how not to allow myself to be hurt. For as Bob says, that way they’ve won. And you know, letting someone else win isn’t something I’m very comfortable with.

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