Family Traditions

So, I’ve been trying to explain to some people what makes my family so…special. It’s hard. Taken in little doses, it’s not so odd. One big dose? We’re the original candidates for the glass bubble. (Thankfully, my mom and part of my grandfather’s family are quite easy-going and lovely!)

Why?

1.) No alcohol or cigarettes. Ok, not too odd…except that it’s a ‘you will go to hell if you do this’. Yes, there’s a significant hole in the pantry when family visits. I like fine wine on occasion, damned or not.

2.) No caffeine. Problematic, since I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 13, right under my grandmother’s nose on more than one occasion. You know how happy it makes a teenager to have a forbidden cup of coffee, in the car, on a road trip with her grandmother? Yeah, I did. Chocolate, however, has received a noticeable exemption…except when my grandmother gets all worked up about following the rules again.

3.) No meat. NO meat. On occasion, no dairy either. But, that depends on if she’s craving cheese or milk. My great aunt and uncle are religiously vegan, pretty close to being on a completely raw-foods diet. The results of creativity and raw foods? Blech. Whipped cream however, as we learned at Thanksgiving, is the occasional exception.

4.) No work on Saturday. No play. No mental exertion. This is because of the 4th commandment. But let me tell you, rest is an awful lot like work sometimes…For a while, we weren’t allowed to even shower on Sat., it had to be done Friday night.

5.) ‘Gays are responsible for the downfall of America. Or maybe the Mexicans. Or the Blacks. None of them should be allowed equal rites/being allowed to live’. No, seriously. This was the discussion that took place about three years ago on Thanksgiving. I can’t even describe the disgust. I had to leave the room, it made me so physically ill to hear the self-righteous tone. Also, I remember being six or seven, and my grandmother pointing out a woman in our small, hills town. “That’s what lesbians look like.” The homophobia and racial, religious and cultural prejudice in my grandmother’s side of the family is so much fun. Especially since I belong to a couple of the hated groups. Oops.

6.) Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Folklore and Mythology are ‘the Devil’s tools’. Um, yeah. It’s always fun to try to describe my writing, my degree choice, and my life-plans without a lecture. Oh, wait, I got the lecture. Eastern philosophy, Native American culture, Catholicism, it’s all evil. Symbols and foreign languages are also suspect. Any music but gospel or wordless classical is also forbidden. I once had to turn off Enya because ‘we can’t understand what she’s singing, it’s probably a Satanic spell’. My grandmother sees demons behind every rock, in every shadow.

7.) Conspiracy theories abound, from the Illuminati to ‘airplane contrails and high-voltage lines’. I’m not going to bother listing them here, if it’s been mentioned, it’s a conspiracy. I get to listen to Rush Limbaugh, my family voted for Bush and Palin both…Mmmm, yeah. Politics are a cue to bury my head in a book.

8.) Bonus: Jewelry, clothing, nail-polish, make-up. My great-aunt once told my cousin’s friend that she would go to hell because she pierced her ears. I must have clean, or colorless/light flesh-tone nail polish. Clothes must not be tight, show lower back, cleavage or anything above the knee. (For anyone who’s met me…that basically means a turtleneck and burlap bag!) Too much make-up is seen as a sign of too much pride.

That’s my family for you. Now, I’m off to take down the dragons, alcohol, books, music, movies and life from around my house. Later, all.

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2 Responses to “Family Traditions”

  1. I don’t even know what to say. To each their own? What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? I know! I’ll simply say: you seriously rawk, and I find it infinitely wonderful to see that even though you don’t agree with your families views, you’re still being kind to them. Speaks volumes, my dear.

  2. I can sympathize with the blatant conservatism. And in small doses it’s not that bad. I’ve slowly been making my parents more moderate over the years, first with fantasy, then RPGs (yes, those were the devil’s tools, and I’ve had to “clear” everything my brother plays since apparently I’m the responsible, mature, faithful Christian of the two of us). Oh, and convincing them I don’t have to follow female stereotypes. I’m just thankful they aren’t racist (Mom actually wanted to set me up with a black friend of mine. Too bad he’s gay.) Morn, I’m in awe of what you can put up with, though. And the fact that you aren’t like them..well lets just say it makes me admire you even more.

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