I called my dad this morning because I just felt moved to talk with him. He and I are not especially close, but he’s done a better job of reaching out to talk than I have. It’s not that I don’t enjoy talking to my dad, it’s just that our conversations are so truncated. He tells me what’s going on with him and then asks about the weather and then hurries to get off the phone. These talks generally last about 7 minutes and it feels like he ticks it off his to do list.
Well, during today’s call I was hell bent and determined to have an actual full length conversation. And I did. It lasted 45 minutes and 37 seconds. That’s a record for us. And he actually sounded like he enjoyed it. We talked about a range of subjects and in-depth as well. We talked about race and racism. We talked about family and relationships. We talked about his health. Real talk.
I also shared with him that I had co-written and published a book. The book was released in late June and this was the first I was telling him of it. How do you not share something you’re so incredibly proud of with your remaining parent? Because I knew it wouldn’t be received and celebrated the way my mom would have. So I waited until I felt like I could handle the lack of fanfare. Until today. And sadly, I was right.
He was more impressed with my traveling to Toronto over the weekend. I published a book, a real book, sold on Amazon. Wasn’t that a big deal? He didn’t seem to think so. He seemed to gloss right over it. Thinking that he hadn’t heard it, I mentioned it again. He said, “Oh, that’s good.” He didn’t ask me what the title was, where he could buy it. Nothing. I felt invisible, disappointed and a little heartbroken. And honestly, I felt unsupported.
I didn’t need him to jump up and down and scream into the phone, but I wanted it to at least be acknowledged. I also shared this with my brother last week and he more or less had the same reaction. “I’ll check it out,” which is code for I’ll get around to it, but if it doesn’t have anything to do with my life, it’ll probably get shelved till way later. But he wanted to get my advice on what equipment to buy for his upcoming video series and I sent him links and suggestions for YouTubers and personalities who might give him video editing tips and podcasts that might offer inspiration. He didn’t even ask me about any of my business ventures. Sigh.
Is it me? Have I been hiding so long that now my family doesn’t even notice me or even care? I just feel like I don’t matter to them. That I’m just there to support them. Isn’t there supposed to be some reciprocity here? Like they don’t even really care about what I’m doing or what’s happening in my life. This is such a stark contrast to my mother, who could always tell when I was down even when I called with a smile in my voice and she celebrated my wins. Every last one of them. I miss that. I don’t need it necessarily because I can celebrate my own wins myself. And that’s enough. It would just be nice if my family cared. It makes me feel less inclined to share anything with them because they don’t really care anyway.
It’s important in these moments for me to take a step back though and really assess what’s going on. I don’t want to play the victim here and just whine about how my family is not supporting me. So let me adjust the story and change the narrative.
I just need to be grateful for the people in my life who openly support me. That counts. A lot. I don’t want to always be chasing after the thing that’s elusive. I need to focus on what’s right here in front of me, going along for the ride. It also means I don’t have to be okay with not feeling supported by my family. But I do need to start speaking up about how it makes me feel. People aren’t mind readers, even if they’re family. So from here on out, I’m going to do better about letting them know how I feel.