Sunday, May 27, 2018

I Will Keep Repeating the Same Story Until.....

I had another breakdown this weekend.

I think it happens now every time the whole family goes to the lake house, and I'm left behind.

I won't go into details about that.

I'll just say I was depressed. Then the depression turned into anger. And now I feel, actually, strong.  I'm in the mode of I'm-not-going-to-take-your-shit.

I'm not going to feel guilty about being angry.

I'm not going to feel guilty about blogging about it.

I'm not going to feel guilty about repeating a story I've already told on this blog.

I will keep repeating the story until I feel people truly feel remorse, and they make amends.

Right now my only defense in all this is being able to talk about it. Repeatedly.

So here's my story.  I'm going to tell it in numbered form. It's easier for me that way.

1. I started making montage videos for my family.  This was back around 2003.  I made a Thanksgiving video. Then I made other Thanksgiving videos. I also made vacation videos and birthday party videos.

2. My family acted enthusiastically impressed and grateful about my videos—especially my father, my older sister, and my older sister's husband.

3. Tim never seemed very enthusiastic or interested in the videos. He usually seemed kind of blah about the whole thing.

4. My father asked me to make a video montage for my younger sister's wedding. It was a stressful time consuming project, but a huge honor.

I loved the attention I received.

5. At some point, it was suggested that I go professional. Maybe I could make videos for other people.

I brought this up to Tim and he was not receptive to the idea. He's not a overtly controlling husband, so he did not forbid it. But he acted stressed out about it, and pointed out how it would be difficult. Well, because I think I had asked him to make work sacrifices so he could put more childcare hours in.

6. At a cousin's birthday party, I brought DVD's I had made of a video I had made. I planned to pass them out to my mother, sister, etc...because it was a convenient time to do so.  With embarrassed exasperation, my mom wanted to know if I was going to request that the video be shown at my cousin's party.  No, that had not been my plan. I'm not rude like that.

My mom's comment made me feel my videos were becoming an annoyance rather than a gift.

There was that, and in general, my family started acting less enthusiastic about my films.

7. I told Tim about my insecure, hurt feelings.  What I needed was a husband who said things like, Your videos are awesome! Your family still likes them. Maybe they're just taking them for granted. 

Instead I was shamed by him for wanting admiration and attention for my work. He gave me a mini-lecture on how I need to do the things I love FOR me, because I enjoy them.

This is bullshit, because he spends a lot of energy and time doing things to impress my parents, sisters, brother-in-laws, and nieces and nephews.

I have let myself be ashamed for feeling this need to be noticed and appreciated...for my singing, writing, videos, etc. I will NOT be ashamed any longer.

8. I backed down from making videos for awhile. I'm not sure how long. It was probably around six years.

9. In 2011, I tried to get back into making family videos. I made a montage of lake house experiences.
Around the same time, Tim made a video of our San Francisco trip.

My lake house video was met with much less enthusiasm than Tim's San Francisco video. That hurt me a lot.

10. In 2013, I made several videos of our trip to Australia.

I was definitely getting back into making videos.

11. In 2014, my dad hired a professional to do my niece's Bat Mitzvah.  I was a little hurt by this, but also somewhat relieved.

What I was not happy about was he asked Tim to assist the professional.  Why wasn't I asked as well?

Mistakes were made by the professional. He neglected members of the family in the video, and people were hurt by this. A week or two before the Bat Mitzvah, my dad called an emergency and asked Tim AND me to please make a video.

I give my dad credit for at least including me.

12. Tim did not include me. He wasn't overt about this. But he took control, and I felt my input was not welcomed.

One of his excuses was that his computer was the one with the expensive Final Cut editing program.  Like we couldn't share computers? Or he couldn't have given me the program?

13. I had to endure seeing Tim get all kinds of praise at the Bat Mitzvah. This hurt because that praise used to go to me.

14. What makes things worse is, Tim already gets shitloads of attention from the family. His photographs. His cooking. His willingness to jump in and help whenever someone has a problem. Though he doesn't do the same amount of enthusiastic jumping for me.

15. Tim had the actual nerve to approach the wedding coordinator and try to solicit business. How dare he do that after discouraging me years ago?

16. I think it would have been okay if he had done it as a partnership—the two of us.

He didn't. I actually jumped in and said I was available too.  I felt like a freak. I shouldn't have. I should have felt like the victim of assholeness.

17. I think I had enough fights with Tim over this, that when it came time for the second family Bat Mitzvah, Tim let me have more input. He did do more of the work, but I helped. I picked one of the songs and helped pick another. I helped go through photos to make sure people were represented. I designed/edited parts of the video.

18. For a brief time, I felt things were getting better and I could start healing and forgiving.  Because I had been carrying a shitload of anger.

19. My dad sent an email out thanking us for the video. He then described my contribution as letting my husband slave over the video. In other words, thanks for being a good wife by standing way behind your man, so he could do brilliant things for us.

I was furious and opened up about all the anger I had been suppressing from my family for the past few years.

My dad ended the conversation by playing family-boss and saying, I hope we can turn this down a notch and reflect on the wonderful weekend we all experienced. 

20. Although a certain member of the family privately reached out to me and gave me comfort, no one stood up for me. No one told my dad to shove it; that I have a right to be angry.

21. What I felt is that my family was saying, you know that anger you've been suppressing these past few years...well, we're going to request that you keep suppressing.

Well, to my dad and the rest of them: I AM not going to ever turn it down a notch again. I'm going to keep turning it up a notch until remorse is shown and amends are made.

22. Also, in his emails, my dad claimed that I had announced my retirement from making videos.  I don't remember telling anyone this besides Tim.  Maybe I forgot? Maybe my dad is telling the truth. But since he has gaslighted me before, I'm leaning towards believing my own memory.

23. Even if my dad is correct and I, at some point, announced a retirement...I had obviously come out of retirement when I made the lake house video in 2011.

24. I expressed my anger to Tim, my mom, and my sister yesterday.

There's now the idea that people can make amends by asking me to make videos.  It's convenient for them, because Tim hasn't been great at finishing videos he started.

25. I am NOT making videos for my family. I lost the love for it, probably because the shit I've endured. If I do ever want to get back into making videos, I do not need their invitation or their permission.

26. If I do get back into making videos, it will not be of my parents, sisters, or my sister's family.  I will not do that for them. They made the choice to hurt me by choosing Tim over me. They can't change things now that Tim is not coming through for them.

27. I told Tim if he makes video montages for my family, I will not be his partner. I will not be his assistant. I will not be his cheerleader. I will not be his test audience. I will not be the good little wife who stands aside so he can get work done.  He will be expected to do all his household chores.

Tim told me his plan is to not make any more videos for my family. That's fine. I'm not sure if he said that because he means it, or he was hoping I'd say, Oh no! I'm sorry! I didn't mean that you can't still make videos for them!  

I told him he can make videos of our family (him, Jack, and me) and he can make movies of his family. THAT I will support. I will be his cheerleader, test audience, etc.

28. I will also not support, and I will be be bitchy, angry if Tim tries to make money off of his montage videos. If he wants to go into business making other types of videos, fine. Great!  But I will not support him making videos for weddings, birthday parties, etc.  It is not okay to pursue the same dream you discouraged in someone else.

29. I imagine people reading this, thinking that I should shut the fuck up and just accept that Tim's videos were better than mine.

It's a matter of opinion, but I don't think they're better at all.

30. I have so much anger and disgust right now. It has all risen to the surface.

The only way this anger MIGHT subside is if I'm not the only one having it.

When my family gives me an indication that they regret what they did and feel anger at themselves for what they did; when they stop telling me to take it down a notch; when they stop trying to gaslight me; when they stop trying to humor me; then maybe I will start the process of forgiveness.

Other stuff I forgot to add in....

31. My sister started to refer to my old videos as Tim and Dina's videos. I made my videos on my own without Tim's help.  He did do a minimal amount of filming, but so did several other people. This made me furious on top of my already-fury.

32. The main reason I asked Tim, and other people, to film, at times, was I wanted to be in our family videos. I wanted it to look like I was part of the family. I wanted it to look like I was also at birthday parties and on family vacations. I didn't want it to look like Tim was a single father.

In other words, I wanted Tim to take videos of me. But sometimes when I handed him the camera, instead of taking videos of me, he'd use it as an opportunity to play around with camera angles. It hurt that I had to push my husband to film me. It's embarrassing to have to do that—push people to take your photograph or a video of you.  It makes me feel vain. And you know what, it's fucking okay to feel a little vain sometimes. And it's okay to want yourself recorded...for yourself, for your son, for future grandchildren, etc. I want people to know that I too was there.

33. Sometimes I have given Tim a partial pass, because he used to make camp photographic montage videos. I had loved his videos, and his music choices actually inspired some of my early videos. (Not videos I made for the family, but videos I had made for college friends).

Tim had every right to also make montage videos. But he should not have tried to swoop in and taken over with one of the few things that made me feel I was valued in the family.

IF he had been MY cheerleader when I was making videos, and if he had discouraged me from giving up when I felt not appreciated enough; then it might have felt much less like swooping in.

34. While I made videos of both my extended family AND videos of just the three of us, Tim only made videos of the extended family. This is why I think it's less about loving the work and more about loving the attention from my family.

Later he did start making a videos of our trip to Japan.  I'll give him credit for that.

35. I feel I may have forgotten things. I might add them in later.

36. (edited to add)  I will continue to speak out publicly (imagined public) about this grievance and other ones, because doing so privately doesn't work. I'm told to take it down a notch. I'm dismissed in other ways. I'm gaslighted.  At best, I am temporarily humored. THAT is not enough. This blog is my way of feeling I have a voice.

37. (edited to add) I have three theories to why this all happened.

A) My family preferred Tim's video to mine.  But if this was the case, they should have just said to themselves, Well, Tim's videos are a bit better, but we can't hurt our daughter like this, because we're nice, considerate people.

If my videos were crap, that's a different story. But seeing that my dad asked me to make my sister's wedding video, a video that was seen by a a few hundred people, I seriously doubt he saw me as a crappy videographer.  And yes, he seemed happy with the finished project. He made copies and eagerly passed them out to people in the family.

B) Tim really longs for the attention of my family, and doesn't like me getting in the way of that. He swooped in, and my family simply didn't have the consideration to notice and stick up for me.

C) It's all based on the misogynistic idea that men need and deserve to feel appreciated and honored.  Tim may not be a better videographer than me, but his need to be needed is more important than mine.  A woman's role is to stand behind her man and let him feel the wonderful glow of glory.

I refuse to be the fucking wind under anyone's wings.  People either understand that I need to fly too,  or they get the fuck of out of my way.