Day 4: Thrift Shopping is an Emotional Roller Coaster

My goal with this was to document trials and feelings related to my arthritis, but some crazy got in the way, as crazy does. My guilty acknowledgment: I asked my family for financial support, which is like getting punched in the stomach, while having your head slammed in a car door. I received a Papyrus card in the mail with a check from my grandmother.


I have to offer you some backstory. My family is crazy. Not just, “oh haha, how eccentric, breastfeeding until three,” which my mom did, but crazy and negligent according to the state. I have some great stories because I wasn’t really monitored. I don’t doubt my parents love me, but doubt their capability. My dad thought my mom was poisoning him, and around the age of 5, I was elected royal taster. My father’s impulse being that if mom knew I would be eating the food, she would not poison it. Luckily, no one was ever poisoned. My father’s sickness and paranoia manifested in a number of ways, but always as crazy, not quite malignant.


Now, cut back to the pink Papyrus card. Inside was a line about speaking to my dad and how he believed I have been drinking, “which you know is NOT a good idea from your mother and sister.” I couldn’t believe a card that pretty could be so insulting, filled with such an egregious accusation, but also that my grandmother felt the need to address it, not defend my character. This is correct in that alcoholism runs in my family, but incorrect that I have picked up a drinking program. I dodged a genetic bullet. I realize this. I am nearing 30 and have never had a drinking problem, and being 400 miles away, I am uncertain as to how anyone came to this conclusion besides vicious intent.


I was so mad my face hurt.


I was at the thrift store later with friends. Thrift shopping holds a special place in my heart, and always has, even before Macklemore. I find the thrill of the hunt exhilarating and rewarding, to systematically go through racks of clothes to find a gem, that you immediately fall in love with, to only be let down by a disfiguring stain or untreatable tear.


I am not sure why, but these connect it my head. Initially, I believed it had something to do with the beauty of the card, alongside the insult, like a dress with a stain, but it’s different. The dress is a letdown, not a slap to the face, but then it occurred to me. My family is an unwanted thrift store item. There were the item I was given, which repeatedly lets me down, because underneath the anger, is pain from their judgment and exactly how wrong it is, how little they know me, and how I keep coming to the point where I don’t want to maintain a relationship with this battered item anymore.


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