“Weekly Writing Challenge: Mail It In” – DPchallenge
Use a subject from your inbox to write a story. It can be a line from a ridiculous Groupon offer that prompts your tale, or a sincere message from a blog follower. Use whichever email subject that strikes your family as a writing prompt and go from there.
My afternoon started out just as it did any other day of the week. the digital clock on the corner of my monitor turned from 11:59AM to 12:00PM, feeling a grumble in my stomach, that was my que to take a break and eat lunch. Lunch time is often the hour I use to catch up on emails and Facebook messages.. status updates.. posts, etc. I often look forward to this hour as I’m able to reconnect with friends whom I’ve kept in touch with my entire life. As I opened my Hotmail account, I noticed an email in my inbox from donotreply, subject heading stated: Subject: [ It’s A Charmed Life… ] Please moderate: “Ignorance Living In A Glass House“. Without hesitation, I opened the email and read a response (that caught me off guard) from my half-brother Patrick, someone who has not spoken to me in over three years, but to my dismay, is apparently following my blog. We all have our own reasons for starting a blog. Mine was simple, I wanted the chance to write about my life through poetry, short stories, and basically challenge my own mind with different writing styles. I love to write and seeing how I minored in creative writing, it was important to me to continue in writing, continue in my creativity.
I’ve read those irrational comments on Facebook .. left by friends.. and relatives .. posted with intent to hurt someone else. I’ve witnessed an entire breakup – posted for all to see. I’ve never been on the receiving end, until now. As I read his response, I could feel my heart beating faster, I considered not even reading it and deleting it out of my inbox. The “Delete Button”, an advantage to an electronic email versus a real written letter you receive in your mailbox at home.. just one click of the right button, and it’s gone. Or, even having such conversations in person, which requires you to walk away.. while still listening to them yell and scream at you. However, there is a disadvantage to emails such as this one .. if you are reading it while you’re at work, on your lunch break, you still have to maintain a professional demeanor, all the while, thinking about what someone has said to you.. and half of your day still remains.
“Say what you want about all of us. We disowned you because youre a selfish, fake, crumby excuse of a sister and honestly i probably speak for the other siblings when I say i really couldn’t care less if you lived or died. We have made our mistakes like everyone else. We have an amazing nephew because of certain “mistakes” and I’m happily married to a very beautiful extremely sweet and smart woman who is a true sister to robbie, christian, and jill. Also i have a very good job making a salary that I’m confident is greater than you and your husband combined. But I’m a “screwup” apparently because I have made mistakes through life. You’re far from perfect so you really don’t have any room to say a single thing about any of us. I think its best that you just stop wasting your breath on here with all of these worthless blogs and just live your own life. If you are trying to get attention consider this you being noticed for being a complete and total bitch. I’m sorry that you feel the need to constantly fill your days time with writing things about people who have forgot about you years ago. It’s sad really. Well, I better sign off for now. You’re probably pretty pissed and flustered right now and most likely want to write me back but let me give you some advice. Don’t. I won’t even waste a second of my valuable time to read a single thing from you. Oh and don’t bad mouth my mom anymore. She’s an amazing mother and I would literally die for her without thinking twice. Take care heather and I really do hope you can just live your life and move on. Maybe have some kids of your own one day and actually serve a purpose in life. Oh and don’t worry about my sister. She has become the most amazing girl and is doing perfectly fine and actually is beginning to live out her dreams. Trust me when i tell you that she doesn’t even think about you or know who you really are. Anyway enjoy your life.
I would love to say that most people (in person) would have more of a filter when it comes to communication and would not say such insincere words. But I do believe that if he were to see me in person, he would say the same things, without any hesitation, without any remorse, he would say these things to me. Our family has a history of attacking each other with words, and I plan on breaking that cycle. Words hurt, and I would like to think that my response would be the same in person just as it would be in an email. It is interesting to me, after re-reading this email, what non verbal communication says about someone. The quoted statement above indicates to me that my brother is insecure in his own life, and that is why he felt the need to point out to me of his salary, his happiness, and his relationships with my siblings. In the heat of the moment, there was so much I wanted to say, but I thought about what I would say if he was to say these things to my face, instead of over something as impersonal as an email.
That day, as I re-read his email, staring at each word, each word that was filled with hate, I’m pretty sure I went through all seven stages of grief:
Shock and Denial:Even after he continued in lashing out at my husband and personally attacking me, I still hoped and prayed that this relationship could be mended how else could I have been a better sister to him..
Pain & Guilt: When our mother was not playing us against each other, I was the best sister I could be. Had he forgotten about all those times my mom and his dad yelled and screamed at each other.. to the point of bringing him to tears, and I was the one there to console him?
Anger: I’m not much of an angry person, but it did and still does anger me that a mother would cause such division amongst her own children.. and take pride in it all at the same time.
Depression: I was depressed when I realized how much less complicated and chaotic my life is without people (my mother) who cause chaos and drama for themselves and others on a daily basis.
The Upward Turn: My realization that I have friends and relatives in my life who want to be in it and are optimistic individuals, always lifting me up..these are the people I need in my life.
Reconstruction and Working Through: This loss helped me focus on myself and become more independent, living my own life and making my own decisions..finishing college, getting married, having a career in which I love and I’m good at!
Acceptance and Hope: This is a “work in progress” for me, but from the time I’ve been cut off from my mother and siblings, I’ve realized that you can’t control others, you can only control your own actions and how you react to situations. I do wish circumstances could be different, but I’ve accepted it, and I am moving forward.
That being said, I looked at his response once more and wrote my own response:
“Wow. You definitely are your mother’s son and that is all I have to say about that.. you both have a “way” with words – and you both have hurt each other with your words (I know that for a fact). But, I am glad you are happy with your life and I’m also glad you are happily married – I would never wish anything less for you Patrick – the “favorite” child. I do live my own life, and part of it is writing.. and say what you will – people DO read what I write. I’m not trying to get attention – I’m writing because (while in college) I realized that writing is one of my talents that I enjoy. I’m sorry I was not a better sister to you and I’m sorry you feel the way you do. I am sorry that you feel the need to speak of a salary that you believe is far greater than mine or Nate’s combined. We are happy with the salaries we make and living quite nicely and happily (on our own without the help of anyone else) – regardless of salary – we are happy and that is all that matters to us. Anyone with any kind of class already knows how unclassy it is to bring up salary anyway. I never said I was perfect, nor did I call you a screw up – I just wondered why Mom held me and Jill to higher expectations.. and she did… I was scared to death of the consequences if I did something against her wishes. I’m not pissed or flustered – and.. since nobody reads my blog (according to you) I have nothing to be upset about, right? I’m sorry you view this as bad mouthing – sometimes the truth hurts. We all have a past, and I have the right (like anyone else) to write about my life – which includes my past.. and the people in it. If you knew anything about me – you would know I’m serving a purpose – but YOU haven’t actually spoken to me since the day you decided to join the military… another argument I got caught in the middle of .. defending YOUR MOM because she was so upset with your decision(s). I’m not surprised that Jill has become an amazing girl – I hope she continues down that path as I’m sure she probably will, and I won’t ever believe a word you say about what she thinks of me .. that game has been “played” before. Don’t worry – I’m enjoying my life completely.. it has been SOOOO nice to have a drama-free life for the last 3 years, so really – thank you!!!!! All the best to you & your lovely wife! -Heather
PS – to anyone who may read this .. this would be a post from my (half) brother Patrick.”
As I contemplated his response and my own response, wondering if this was something I really wanted to post for all the public to view.. I decided that his words can’t hurt me, and quite honestly, it is just a true reflection of who he is and how I decided to react to his response. Since this experience, I’ve made a deal with myself, if I do receive any emails in my inbox from wordpress, I’ll wait until I get home, because like I said earlier, sometimes checking your email can act as a disadvantage, depending on your surroundings and the content of that email.