Not a short entry either, nor a particularly well-written one. And you may have heard a lot of this stuff before. It's nothing new. I'm just venting.
I really talk myself up, don't I?
So Karen is gone and the house is empty. It's odd to be on the other end of this situation-- I was the oldest and was always the one doing the leaving. Leaving is fun. Being left is not particularly pleasant.
I came back to NY from Los Angeles because Karen and my mother weren't getting along and for some reason I took it upon myself to remedy this situation. This is a problem I have always had-- even in my dreams I am always in charge of fixing everything and saving everyone and I always wake up tired because I never really get a break from it. Sometimes I'd just like a dream where I can be laid back and passive and just float around on a raft or get abducted by aliens or urinate in a public fountain, as long as I'm not responsible for the well-being of everyone else I've dreamt about.
But I came home because of my mother and Karen, each of whom began calling me 2 to 3 times a week, (which for our family is a lot-- we love each other but we're not big phone people) usually crying and hoping to either be consoled or have their problems addressed from several time zones away. Karen was new to the world of being gay and out and, like any normal teenager, extremely eager to test her limits. My mom comes from a conservative, poor, Puerto Rican family and feels that the road to society's acceptance (which she is dying to have) is paved with ceramic rabbits and other fairly useless, decorative items, and is certain that if her kids dress well enough and she has a nice enough coffee table and living room set, the rest of the world will accept her with open arms. And a daughter with a crew cut and wrist tattoo, wearing jeans that look like they've been marinated in urine, was somewhat of a setback to her plans.
But I love both of them so much. And they love each other so much-- which was what made it harder. I would repeat to Karen something my mother had said one night while the two of us had been talking; "I don't know what really happens when we die," she admitted, "I don't know where you go or if you get judged, but if for some reason all those Christian people are right and they do send gay people to hell, they'd have to send me too. I'd never go to a heaven that didn't accept my daughter."
But what killed me was that she tried really hard-- she went with me to the Gay Pride Rally to watch Karen speak and she went to the PFlag meetings and tried to give Karen as much freedom, if not more, than she had given Pam and I. But it was hard for her. She loved Karen and was proud of Karen and was impressed by Karen, but still had trouble with public displays of affection, Karen's armpit and leg hair, Karen's tattoo and piercing and dreams of more tattoos and more piercings, and the fact that you could always see Karen's boxer shorts because her pants were so low-- actually, she probably had a problem with the fact that Karen wore boxer shorts at all.
And Karen was just trying to be herself, or find out who herself was, as most people that age are trying to do. And I wanted to encourage her in whatever she did, with the exception of smoking cigarettes, which she's stopped doing (sigh of relief) and getting more tattoos. (She has a kidney disorder that, if she winds up with hepatitis, could put her on dialysis for life, if she survives it at all.)
But Karen's the friendliest, nicest, funniest, most understanding person on earth, and knows way better adjectives than the lackluster bunch I just used. She's smart and loves to talk and joke and think and (for whatever reason) play Trivial Pursuit for hours on end. The night before she left for college she crept into my bed next to me and even though she's a lot older, seeing her sleeping makes her seem like a 7 year old again.
So basically I've spent the last year at home, talking to her and my mother one on one-- more with my mother than Karen, because Karen can talk to her seventy thousand billion friends, but my mom is shy and doesn't have many people she can talk to. And I felt good because I felt like I was helping. And I know things aren't perfect, but right before she left for college, Karen and my mom went skydiving together, which I felt great about since, as my friend offered, "It's like they're literally taking a leap together." And I have a picture of the two of them, hugging in their blue jumpsuits and black harnesses-- my mother trailing a parachute and grinning.
So now that Karen's gone, there's really no need for me to be at home anymore, except that I've agreed to stay there until early next year unless I get offered some fabulous job that I can't possibly turn down. But I've served out the whole term of what I came home for, so if my life were a novel something big would happen right now that would allow me to leave and move on except that, unfortunately, my life is not a novel. But it isn't as if coming home didn't do anything for me. I started this fabulous livejournal, for one. I've started performing stand-up, which has been my dream since I was a little kid. I've started and maintained my very first relationship with someone of the opposite gender, and in general I've become more confident, more outgoing, and more willing to do the things that scare me.
I miss my sister, but early next year it'll be my turn for me to go out on my own (again) and hopefully this time nothing will call me back. I've done as much as I could with mom and Karen, and while their relationship still isn't perfect, there's only so much I can do.