confession: i work from home, naked. i own workout clothes and going-out-dancing clothes because working out and dancing are the only good reasons for me to get dressed. i depart for iowa for an extended family reunion in 17 hours. i literally have nothing to wear. this isn’t me acting like a girl complaining that i have nothing to wear. no, seriously, i have nothing to wear. all my shorts are booty shorts. (yes, even my workout shorts, i’m a pole-dancer, y’all.) booty shorts do not belong at an extended family reunion on a farm in iowa. i’ve never thought about what my grandfather would think of my “lifestyle” until this moment. geez. the guilt has already begun and i haven’t seen my mother yet.
confession: why am i going to an extended family reunion in iowa? I’ve been asking myself this question for months. the real reason: mother guilt. the most commonly utilized excuses to get out of visiting one’s relatives are lack of money, lack of time, or too much work. i have enough money, enough time, and i’m in charge of how much i work. my family knows these facts of my life which means if i don’t go to the reunion i either have to manufacture an extravagant lie or tell the truth about why i don’t want to go. the truth of why i don’t want to go is that my extended family scares me. not because they’re scary. my extended family frightens me with their lack of affection, with their silent judgments, with their blond hair and blue eyes that are blonder and bluer than mine, with their rough hands that handle tools and crops and animals and reach out to awkwardly shake my hand but never reach out to hug me, with their cooking and crockpots full of spiceless food, with their slow and considered words without laughter. i’m afraid that i’ve strayed too far from them, beyond what they can comprehend, beyond what makes sense for us, for them, for me. i feel isolated from my extended family and i’m sure they’d say they love me in that way that shared dna sometimes equals love for no other reason, but they don’t know me. they don’t know what has happened to me, what was happening to me between those childhood summers when they were teaching me to break ponies and walk beans on that farm. they don’t know what i’ve survived or how i survived or why i value what matters to me or what kind of work i do and why i’ve chosen it. and i don’t want to tell them. telling them wouldn’t help us grow closer and we’re comfortable in our distance. but tomorrow morning before sunrise i’m flying to iowa and spending days on farms of aunts and uncles and i’ll be thinking about where i’ve gone, how far i’ve come, and why i’ve landed in the life i’ve created and i’ll be feeling a little sad that i don’t want to ride horses or tractors or pull carrots and potatoes out of the garden and i’ll be missing the grandmother and grandfather that bound us together and i’ll be bracing myself against the moment when an aunt or uncle says something mean and judgy to me because my differentness frightens them and i’ll be hoping a little too hard for a moment when my youngest and most-introverted-like-me uncle and i pass a glance that communicates, “hey, you wanna go down to the creek and catch toads or climb the haybales in the back field and get away from all these people like we did when we were kids?”
confession: my relatives drink beer and wine but not whiskey or tequila. i don’t have proper attire to pack, but the flask went into my luggage first.