A couple of years ago, I had to take a Myers Briggs test as part of a professional development class. I had gone years avoiding the whole four letter summary of my personality, and those years of avoidance had come to an end.
Without digging through all of my files to find my results, I cannot tell you what I am. All I recall is the first letter – I – that caused a flurry of discussions at home debating if I am really an I or an E. Family disagrees and claims I’m more E leaning, by the way. And their key argument in the debate hinged on one very important fact –
The only way I process anything is verbally.
Yet, I got news last week with more yesterday that I am having a bit of a hard time talking about aloud. I find myself wondering why. I cannot figure out why the words aren’t coming out.
My parents, after living out here for 10-11 years have decided to move back to the Midwest. I get their logic. I get their reasoning. The cost of living out here is incredibly high if you are retired and on a fixed income. If you are retired and have done a great job saving for retirement and /or are independently wealthy, this place is great. But that is not the case for them.
For them, they are not living – they are surviving. And they decided they are done – they need to live.
And I get all of that. I really do. They have toyed with the idea for years about moving back. They have sent around listings for houses they could buy. They have talked about how great it will be to go back to their old church – their old friends. They have, until this point, done all of the things but sold their house and moved.
Today they met with the real estate agent.
I’ve been trying to figure out why – why is this whole thing bugging me. Why is it something I’m not sure how to talk about?
There is a psychologist whose interview I heard that asks key questions – are you playing the documentary of how it was or the highlight reel? Like any documentary, you see the good, the bad, and the ugly. The highlight reel shows all of the good stuff. Putting in those terms – I worry – is the documentary as good as the highlight reel? And I fear it is not.
I fear they are going to go back and be able to live. But I fear their church has fallen victim to the same churches in the area they live today – consumed with politics rather than Jesus.
I fear they are going to go back assuming the friends are going to pick right up where they left off. But I fear they are not around or have moved on themselves.
I fear while everything is familiar – that they have changed enough that it isn’t home anymore.
I fear they forgot the documentary version of their time there.
Then there is the more practical side of things. Both have health issues. I fear they will not find good doctors. Rural areas have a hard time finding, and more importantly, retaining good doctors. They need specialists. Specialists are 2-4 hrs away – and the barrier to getting there is very real during the winter months. Today one is 3 hrs away – but rarely is it hard for them to get there. And even if they can’t get there, the local resources are there and good.
Today, my mom told me all of the reasons, in the last 11 years, they have never felt this was home. I knew on some level that she was attempting to justify, likely to herself, why she should leave. I reminded her that a) this was more home to me than back where I was born and b) I had always supported them. “Why do you speak to me as though it is me you have to convince?”
When she tried to bring Trump into the conversation, I changed it. I told her about the good news G had receive. Explained why it was good. She rambled on about this and that then bought up the foster kids. It was a complete non-sequitor. So I asked her that – what was her point about bringing them up?
She fumbled. So I pressed again having an inkling as to why she did it. Then she finally said it. “All you problems are caused, not by work, but by the fact you tried to help them.”
“Four months has passed, and you are still trying to pawn bigger issues off on that? Seriously? It has been four months. G had an anxiety attack while WE WERE ON VACATION. How do you explain that?”
Yeah, I was pissed.
Only later, did I realize why all of this bugs me. It bugs me because they preach to all that listen how helping thy neighbor is the Christian thing to do, yet I found out that only applies to people they feel aren’t hard to help – are worthy of their help. And that was not how I thought I had been raised. They preach it. They post shit all of the time on social media. Yet, I wonder – how far from those they hate are they really if they are going to not help anyone except those that are easy to help?
And on top of it, there is implied expectation that I’m going to keep an eye on my brothers and their families. I heard all about how my niece had been sick. I heard all about the ups and downs. And when I expressed how I would not have had their patience to “wait it out” given some of her symptoms, my parents felt happy I was in their camp. Yet, that brother whose daughter was sick? Six months. That is the last time I have heard from him. At least six month.
After the phone call today, I left. I drove listening to an audiobook I have been enjoying. I left to try to get away from my feelings – my frustrations – my disappointments. I left to keep it all from my kids. I only worked until I got home.
I heard an interview with a psychologist a few months back where he liked to ask people who would ask him if they should revisit their past. “Are you looking at the highlight reel or the documentary of your time? Because you need to be looking at the documentary which will tell you the truth vs only the good stuff.”
And that’s one of the things I feel. They only look at the highlight reel. They are not looking at the documentary. They are ignoring the things that brought them out here. And while I know it is their live – I also know how when the documentary starts playing, they look to me – not my brothers.
And in the end, that is my biggest fear. My fear that I won’t have a 3 hr drive to figure medical shit out – I will have a 5-8 hr flight. And in the winter – even that won’t be enough or a sure thing. It will be planes, trains, and automobiles and maybe sled dog.
I don’t know. It’s their life. I believe that. Yet, this isn’t sitting well with me for many reasons. And I am the one, for some reason, they want to call over and over again to share their news and all. I don’t want to hear it.
So that is where I’m at ……only G knows this until now. Only because I cannot figure out all that I feel.