I don't have anything about which to blog right now. One of my relatives will almost for certain respond in the "comments" section by asking something like, "Why did you blog if you had nothing to blog about?" but that doesn't bother me. Actually, I find their comments to be a motivating factor, because I know for certain that someone is reading, even if that someone is a relative by blood or by marriage who strongly dislikes me. I do not moderate or censor the comments they make, but I do reserve the right to make unkind comments in return if I am so moved. So far I haven't done much of that, partly because others have risen to my defense, though not unkindly (Thanks, Matt!), but I am putting relatives on notice that I have no fear of anything my parents will do if I respond in whatever manner I choose. For that matter, as I type, this blog is turning into a reponse to my relatives.
Readers who don't know me may have gotten either the idea that I am a contentious b!tch (the verdict is not yet in, but most people who know me in real life, except for the relatives who don't like me, find me not terribly hard to tolerate) or that my family is highly dysfunctional. Regarding the second possibility -- the one about my family being highly dysfunctional -- that is more or less half true. My mother's family gets along fine with one another. My father's family, on the other hand, is straight out of the Book of Mormon, with brothers aligning with brothers to battle another brother, then changing alliances for the next battle. I assume in the Book of Mormon that the sisters were in some way involved in the battles, too, but just weren't considered to have sufficient status to merit mention. The sisters in my father's family, along with their husbands and offspring, are certainly involved in most of the arguments bordering mortal combat in my extended family.
My grandparents usually take sides in the feuding, although they are getting old enough that I personally don't hold it against them. Even though they're not fond of me and probably never have been, I'm choosing to believe that their recent hostility toward me is at least party as a result of age-related dementia and the resulting reliance upon information from questionable sources. I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Really.
I won't go into all the details of the family feuds. Since we live in California while much of the family is in Utah, Idaho, or Nevada, we often don't even learn of the feuds unless they directly involve us. Often the feuds do involve either my parents or my Uncle Steve and Aunt Heather, so we eventually do learn of them. Why can't they just be angry with us from a distance and leave us blissfully ignorant of our status?
My father's youngest sister, Stephanie, is also sometimes lumped into the "evil" faction of the family along with us, even though we rarely see her, simply because she, along with my father and Uncle Steve, chose to not to continue with the family religion once she reached the age that she could make such decisions. She is an incredibly kind person who minds her own business and seldom utters a negative word about anyone, and certainly doesn't deserve the treatment that she receives from most of her family.
Because my grandparents refused to support her or finance most of her college education once she stopped believing as they did, which was their prerogative, my parents supported her finacially until she made in through college, which was, in turn, their prerogative. Simply by accepting money from my parents many years ago, my Aunt Stephanie became a bad person in the eyes of my grandparents. This is odd, as most of my father's siblings have asked for and received financial assistance from my parents.
Even though I said I wouldn't go into details about the frequent discord that makes my father's family what they so uniquely are, I will say at the risk of being shunned (I may as well face it: I'm already shunned. The only real risk here is that my parents may not like what I am writing) that most of the ill will aimed in our direction has come as a result of my parents' choosing not to financially sanction and support some of the relatives' activities or causes. The extended family has mostly followed their religion's practice of having very large families. This is perfectly fine for those who are able to support the number of offspring they actively choose to create or at least fail to prevent from being created. If, on the other hand, parents are unable to cover most monthly expenses with their families at status quo, it doesn't seem terribly responsible to have even more children. It would still be their own business if they didn't ask my parents for money, then become outrightly hostile when my parents decline the invitation to contribute financially to the intentional or neglectful overpopulation of the planet.
One feud that occurred in the late spring and early summer actively involved me. I wrote about it in early June, so I won't rehash the old news in great detail, but my parents paid relatives to care for me when I was sick and injured. The standard of care the relatives provided to me caused the child welfare department of the state in which this family lives to remove their own minor children from their care. These relatives have yet to regain custody of all of the children. Despite my weakened physical condition at the time, and that my actions were intended only to preserve my life in what was a dangerous situation, I have been blamed for breaking up this family. As much as I like to think of myself as being influential and powerful, such is obviously not the case. There was or is little I could do on my own to impact this family; anything unfortunate that happened to them was entirely of their own doing.
My grandparents are still so enraged by my role in the state becoming involved in this family's affairs that my grandparents have told my parents that if my parents visit the grandparents, my parents will need to find somewhere else for me to be, because I am not welcome in my grandparents' home. (This sentence is rather unwieldy, but there were too many antecedents to use personal pronouns without ambiguity.) Being unwelcome in their home is far from a new circumstance for me; I doubt I was truly welcome in their home even when I was a baby. The only difference now is that my unwelcomeness is explicit and official.
While first impressions might lead a person to believe otherwise, my father's half of my extended family is as dysfunctional as any family likely to appear on "Jerry Springer." It would be interesting to hear someone like Dr. Phil's or Dr. Drew's take on my dad's family. I would call one of the 800 numbers and apply for the family to go on some television intervention program except that I know the family is beyond help.
Mrs. Catherine, I'm sorry that this post has not been very positive. I promise that the next blog will have a more cheerful tone.