Disconnected

I want to emphasize I am not perfect, I never claimed to be, and I know I never will be.

However, I find the older I get and the more I learn about my family, the more disconnected I feel from them. This is especially true of my father. It amazes me how I had the best relationship with him as a kid, but as an adult, it’s the polar opposite. I suppose that’s the curse of losing one’s innocence.

The biggest barrier is my attempts to learn financial responsibility. It really astounds me no one – absolutely no one – in my (immediate) family has any clue about finances, and at this point, it’s now a case of being unable to teach an old dog new tricks. My biggest mistakes – attending college when I wasn’t ready and financing my first car with a co-signer – came out of pressure, but the upside is those mistakes made it abundantly clear my family, no matter how much I love them, are not the people to go to for life advice. Regarding cars particularly, knowing about them does not correlate with having any financial sense.

For the record, I am aware financing a car can be a good decision. However, my father makes barely more money than me (I bring in roughly $2K a month), but his car payment plus insurance nearly equals my household’s rent. And in all the years he had to save money with his late girlfriend paying most of their household expenses (including rent), he never did. Simultaneously, my dad complains constantly he hates living with his dad. Find the problem.

I taught myself planning, budgeting, and saving, and as of late, I’m learning about investing, which a good friend got me started on. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. But I reached the point I’m able to plan out a month’s worth of expenses, and move them around as needed. Though I have a bad habit of frivolous spending I’m trying to kick, I stick to my budget, including savings, and I don’t sacrifice bills for pleasure. The bit of money I spend frivolously is the remainder after all my week’s expenses are paid.

It’s indeed strange to be berated for trying to be responsible, and I feel the more I try to pull myself together and recover from my mistakes, the more distant I grow from my family. It’s truly not something I like, but have no clue how to fix. How do you re-connect with people you can’t talk to, you can’t look up to, you can’t trust with advice? I don’t mean my personal goals. I can’t talk to them about the future, about finance, about feelings, about anything. How do I re-connect without feeling like I’m making myself small?

If you know, please teach me.

I Am A Terrible Friend

Friends are supposed to be happy for each other, not jealous for what the other has.

I am always happy for my friends when good things happen to them. But I can’t lie. I’m jealous of them too.

My friends, who have wonderful spouses who stick by them, who make them part of their family (married or not), who keep their spirits high, who smile for them.

And I will never have that.

Once upon a time, we had “too much history”. Now, the reaction to anything is to break up. While I blame myself for being naive, I couldn’t have imagined every supposedly loving thing he ever said was a lie.

I made the mistake of mentioning I was invited to an NYE party and wanted to go. The party was never a certain thing, and it ultimately seems it’s not happening, so I’m not going. But the mere possibility had me banned from his home for an unspecified amount of time because – as he always says – he and they “aren’t taking any chances”.

Despite he took a chance when we to an airBNB in April, and he smoked with the hosts.

Despite I went to the beach twice and attended a neighborhood fireworks party for July 4th.

Despite I stayed four days a week ago.

Despite I’ve been exposed all year due to my job, though he believes my job requiring masks negates the numerous (over a thousand) employees kept in the building at any given time… and that multiple locations, mine included, have had multiple outbreaks. My job is also not clean and I touch countless filthy surfaces and items. And there was a four hundred employee outbreak I was never aware of.

But masks mean that outbreak, and me having no idea who or what I’ve been exposed to, doesn’t terrify him (despite it still happened?).

It’s extremely interesting to me I care only about myself in his eyes after I spent money to travel to be with him, and for food, and for a few gifts (one of which was expensive). I wouldn’t have done that if I could’ve foreseen this.

I vented to a friend, who agreed about the party, but disagreed the freaking out was justified.

I tested negative twice, I never intended to visit him if the party happened anyway (something I had to yell multiple times, and he still didn’t hear until I spelled it out for him), and I planned to get tested after the party if I went. Although, he’s made it clear a negative test means nothing to him. My being is still to be feared.

Unless I’m spending money on him, it seems.

His only response is “everyone is struggling”. This seems to be the equivalent of “crabs in a bucket”. He and everyone he knows is miserable, so no one is else is supposed to try to do anything to stave off depression?

Ironically, this is the person who tries to convince me I shouldn’t take my life and it’s worth living. Seems he finally shut up about that.

He also once complained I make him out to be “the bad guy” to my friends when I vent to them. Interestingly, my friends have never ostracized him like he had his family do to me for something that hasn’t happened. Oh, and one of his siblings stole money from me.

I thought he came to the hospital after the bus collision because I was wrong about him not caring. No, he came only because the hospital mandates masks.

I’m now, in his eyes, the same as his worst ex.

His worst ex assaulted him, and caused him a nervous breakdown that resulted in him staying in a mental ward.

I wonder if I was the same as his worst ex when I came for Thanksgiving after testing negative twice.

Note the date: December 23rd. A week ago. How quickly things change.

But maybe the following image is less surprising. Things can change in years.

Text messages I kept in an email draft to remember. The headline of one is “he loves me”.

I think this year took the love with it.

To my friends, though they don’t read my blog, I do apologize for my feelings of envy. I wish them nothing but long and happy lives with their spouses. They absolutely deserve their spouses, and their spouses, for being the amazing partners they are, deserve them.

Please never stop caring for each other. I am always happy for you.

As your friend, always.

I Lost Myself

A warning for this post being extremely personal. I’m wary of posting such things on my blog, but there are times I cannot say what’s on my mind to someone who will listen because the words won’t come out the way I want them to. I am fine with this post being read – I wouldn’t post it publicly otherwise – but if my deepest thoughts are uninteresting, I heavily advise skipping this post because it is depressing and very long.

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The Real Loser

There’s an expression that hard times help you discover your true friends. I agree.

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Toy Story No More

One of my favorite trilogies is Pixar’s Toy Story. I love the first three movies, the third being my most favorite, and I like the shorts they had. I was never interested in Toy Story 4 because, to me, they ended the trilogy perfectly. On top of that, Toy Story is one of those rare series where the sequels are better than the original. You cannot beat that! But they tried.

And in my opinion, they flopped.

The only reason I watched this film is my boyfriend likes it and wanted to watch it with me. I figure maybe I’ll be surprised, so I said yes and we watched it during a sleepover. I was surprised, but not pleasantly.

The only parts of this move I enjoy are the flashback montage at the beginning, and Bo Peep. I love her character, and I didn’t expect to because, while I have always liked Bo Peep, I never liked her more than any of the other toys (Jessie is my favorite, and Buzz before her). However, in my opinion, Bo Peep is the sole reason this movie is worth watching. She’s still not my favorite overall, but she’s my favorite in this film.

I can’t decide which is more annoying in this film: Woody, or the romantic plot. I never enjoyed romantic plots, even as a teenager, and ironically, they are more annoying now that I have my own steady relationship. But depending on how they’re done, they can be enjoyable. This one, however, was only a nuisance. And no, I don’t believe romance weakens an action girl (I just said I have my own!). My issue is when it takes over everything. Which it did here.

And that brings me to Woody. I like Woody in every film except this one because he is an utter idiot! I was glad Bo Peep called him out on his actions, but really, after the first scene with the antique shop, I could not stand Woody anymore. The entire movie after that scene happens because Woody is a blundering fool!

I am not trying to knock down those who love this movie, but you can’t say everything after the first scene with the antique shop isn’t Woody’s fault because the rest of the movie wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t go in there. He got Forky back, and finally convinced Forky he was valuable as a toy, so Forky is willing to stay. But after going through all the hell of bringing Forky back, Woody suddenly decides a tiny chance of seeing Bo Peep is more important than Bonnie, despite how much he preached that importance just a scene ago, and that we saw he still misses Andy.

This is what makes me hate romance plots. Yes, real people make stupid decisions in the name of love. But again, Woody’s stupidity is the sole reason the rest of the movie happens. And no, the resolution does not make me hate that less. At the very least, take Forky back to the RV before going into the antique shop. But the movie couldn’t exhibit Woody’s chronic hero syndrome if he used common sense. My point is there’s a difference between a single lapse in judgment and having the intelligence of wall plaster.

Gabby Gabby. I am enjoying the trend of movies with no villains, so I like that she is more morally questionable than outright villainous (kind of like Elsa in the first Frozen, though Elsa’s questionable actions are either unintentional or done with selfless intent), and I do like she finally gets an owner. I admit I felt for her when Harmony rejected her. But otherwise, I don’t think much of her. I like her for what she is, but that’s really all I can say.

I don’t like the ending, but with Woody’s obsession with Bo Peep, it was probably the best ending.

I do enjoy the film’s concept of lost toys, however. The previous films depicted not being loved by a child as a tragic thing, so it is nice that not all lost toys are devoid of hope and can have a good life outside of a child’s bedroom. At the same time, Gabby’s desire to be owned by a child isn’t shamed and is shown to be as valid. I see it as a metaphor for commitments (career, marriage, parenthood, etc) versus freedom. It’s okay if you want to be a free spirit and go wherever chance takes you, and it’s okay if you’d rather settle down into a more (presumably) comfy and stable life. Neither is better than the other, and neither makes you better than someone who chooses differently. We definitely need more “live and let live” messages in society. Even when Bo Peep calls Woody out on his actions, it’s his selfishness, his disregard for his actions hurting his friends, she calls him out on, not his need to help Bonnie (which he sees it as an attack of).

Speaking of which, I admit that’s another topic the movie does tackle well: toxic loyalty. In real life, relationships are (or should be) built on mutual love, trust, and respect. Bonnie no longer had interest in Woody, but Woody was still willing to go to ridiculous lengths for Bonnie’s happiness simply because he could not accept he isn’t her favorite toy like he was Andy’s. Through Woody’s stupidity, this is shown as a bad thing, and it’s what Bo Peep calls him out on. As much as I dislike this film, that is a very good message for kids: be wary of who you give your loyalty to. Yes, we’re talking about a 5 to 6-year-old girl and her toy, but close enough.

All in all, I give Toy Story 4 a plus for Bo Peep, its positive messages, and realistic child behavior. Everything else is a “meh”, and Woody is an absolute negative.