As the title reads, this is part two of three of how a widely negative experience led me to create DALANEL and made me a better person. We’ll pick up right we left off. Read the first part to catch up; although, oddly enough, the message will still get across if you decided to start here. You just won’t have all of the details.

Alright, so, the Nelson’s have been left to be homeless. We needed a new home, and fast. I didn’t go with my family to look at houses. I just couldn’t. Not yet. My younger sister didn’t go either. My baby sister did though. Maybe because she was the youngest; she didn’t have as much connection to the house. But, she is also one that tends to take change easier than I or my other sister.

Anyway, my family found a house. And, based on how they found it, I gotta give credit to God for saving our booties. See, my dad is an amazing artist. And, he would paint my room and my sisters’ room (back when they shared one) with various animated characters. One instance, in my sisters’ room, he took over one wall and painted all of the major Looney Tunes characters. Included was Tweety Bird. This is key because in the house my parents and sister settled for had a door-sized Tweety Bird painted on the door of a bedroom. Not impressed? This house just so happened to be the exact same layout as the current one and the painting was in the SAME ROOM AS THE CURRENT HOUSE. HA! That was it. This would be our new home.

Luckily for us, we were still in the same town so our social lives didn’t change. So, is that it? Of course not.

We went through and got the house. I remember this 99% clearly. I went on a camping trip with the Boy Scouts. I don’t remember if it was summer camp or just a regular weekend trip. That’s the 1% that’s not clear. When I got home, that’s when I was informed of something terrible.

The camping trip (I always lean towards it being summer camp) wore on me. When I got back, I had to immediately attend a party. My mom’s brother’s girlfriend was having a surprise party for her mom. Aw, how cute.

So, before we went there, I’m pretty sure we were getting a gift or something in relation to the party. It was me, my sisters, and my mom. During the drive, my sisters and mom told me what I had missed while I was gone.

See, we were still moving our stuff from old house to new house. No, we didn’t hire movers for the light stuff. They took couches and tables and beds and other things but we moved a lot on our own. It was only a five minute drive. Of course, we didn’t do things in one day. the plan was to take over for a series of weeks as we settled in as well as dealing with life.

Anyway, my family went over to the house to get a few more things. When they entered, there was new furniture and everything.

What?

When they went inside, there was new furniture in there. As in, someone else had already settled in.

I was actually in shock but it didn’t hit me. Trust me, I was worn. When I got to the party, it was clear I was not myself. My sense of humor was dead. I was quiet and tired. And what was worse, the mom never came. I stayed for at least an hour and a half. By the first hour, I started to question if the woman existed as I never met her before. It became clear that I wasn’t going to survive the party if/when it started. So, my mom took me home and I went into a coma.

To this day, I still don’t think she’s a real person. I figured it was a prank on me. I was and still am that paranoid. After I woke up from the coma and reflected on recent events, I re-realized what happened in my old home. When we drove by, my aunt’s car was in the driveway.

Now, we could’ve busted in and say “What in the heck is going on, here!?” But we figured she would tell us.

So we waited.

And waited.

And waited a little more.

Until it was clear that she had moved into the house. Without telling us. Now, before we resorted to moving, my mom asked my aunt if she wanted the house. My aunt said no; it wasn’t about the house. Hm, okay. Now, I’m going to explain how I know exactly that she’s living in the house.

My parents never confronted her on it. I wanted to; but, legally, it was none of my business. And the house still belongs to my dad as much as his siblings. If we wanted to, we could storm the castle and not be in trouble.

What hurt me was that she lied. She said get out so we could move on, only to have her move in. She didn’t care if we had a place to go. My parents tried their best to go along with whatever she asked for. I guess they didn’t confront her because it didn’t matter anymore. My parents were free. they owned a home. It was theirs and they no longer had to deal with the bull sh-uh crap.

What about my uncle? Well, I believe that my aunt talked him into this whole thing of getting us out. However, my uncle is not mentally stable. That’s another long story. Just trust me when I say, he’s simply not the bad guy, in my eyes.

Anyway, she also acted as if nothing happened. She still showed up at events like graduations and recitals and laughed like nobody was the wiser. That hurt me.

But what hurt me was, probably a year after that incident, I decided to go to lunch with her. It was my birthday. We went to one of my favorite restaurants. We’re sitting there, eating and talking. The whole time this is going on, I’m regretting it. It was so awkward. I felt like I was with a stranger. When we all lived together, we had some great times. Up until then, there was this hilarious moment where she actually had a battle with two bottles of soda. It was a “you had to be there” moment that was in the top ten funny family moments for me and my sisters. After the incident, we never really spoke of it again.

Towards the end of our meal, she said something that, for me, confirmed what I suspected was true about her living in the house.

To paraphrase:

Her: “You can always stop by if you want to talk”

Me: “…”

See, even though I figured she moved in, I didn’t think she knew that I knew.

Her: “You know where I live!”

Me: “…”

I’m still scared to show my hand and guess because, if I’m wrong, things get more awkward.

Her: “Stop playin; you know I’m at (names street we lived on)”

Me: “Oh…yeah.”

That’s all I said. That’s all I could say. This person. Man…this animal told me to get out of my house. Left me for freaking dead. Went in. Told NOBODY. And then acted as if this was all good.

I thought we were gonna sell it? WHAT ABOUT THAT?

To this day, I do not refer to her as my aunt. Please. Why? I wouldn’t take her kidney for saving my life. Screw that.

I went into another depression. Not as bad as the original depression. But, it was bad. Over the series of the next couple of years, more and more details emerged that made things even worse. And that’s why I struggled to move on; because it kept coming back with fresh points to deal with. I needed closure.

During my time at the bottom, I remembered some things. I guess God brought them to mind. For one thing, I’m pretty sure He scolded me for forgetting my assignment.

For most of my childhood and teen years, I was the suicidal, idgaf about life, guy. I was always funny, but I never applied it. I never tried to bring joy from my sense of humor. My humor was somehow negative but funny. It’s hard to explain.

And here I was, once again, mad. I hated people. I hated myself. I hated her. With passion. Sweet, hate. I actually embraced that hate.

I wish I could tell you I don’t hate her anymore. I guess I don’t. But, if I heard about her demise, it wouldn’t bother me. Like I said, she’s not my aunt. Not anymore. You don’t get to do that and still be my aunt. F that.

When I was a kid, my mom ran a cell group in my church (think book club). Normally, the members would talk about the message they heard at church or they would talk about other stuff like that. What my church used to do on each 5th Wednesday was do this “Cell Celebration” (think “show and tell”) where the cell groups would come and do something. One or two groups would lead praise and worship. Others might do a skit or sing or something. Then you had a sermon.

Well, while preparing for one celebration, my mom and the group decided to do something on the fruits of the spirit. The kids of the group would each be a fruit. I remember it well. All we kids had to do was say “Hi, my name is *fruit*!” and then the parents/adults of the group would take turns describing the fruit that was just mentioned.

I was Joy. My baby sister was Love. She was a youngster; maybe 3 or 4. She seemed really excited until it was time to actually say it. She had stage fright. Now, for those of you not familar with the order of the fruit in the Bible, first is Love and then is Joy. So, I was right after her as she cried and had to be taken off the stage.

During the preparations, I told myself that I was Joy. Between the time I was told I was Joy until the end of the skit, I was Joy and I did my best to bring Joy to others. After the skit, it sort of faded as time went on.

It was during my depression that God slapped me in the face with that skit. I was Joy. And, my house was hurting. We needed Joy and I had to supply it. So, I needed to suck it up.

My last part wraps all of this together. There’s still a two year gap of that moment of depression and just starting to write. It’ll be four years before DALANEL is even a thought.

Let me just say for the record, I am completely open to talking about all of this. Obviously or I wouldn’t be doing this post. But, any questions you have. I’ll most likely be open to answer. You’re not being nosy at all. Again, if I didn’t want questions, why bring this up at all?

-DALANEL

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