I recently had a very awkward and quite aggravating conversation with a family member who had too much to drink.
The conversation went a bit like this:
Me: Hey, it was good seeing you, but I have to go.
Them: You don’t have to go.
Me: Yeah, I’m sorry, I do. I have work early in the morning so I need to get some sleep in.
Them: I don’t believe you, no one works Sunday.
Me: Actually, I work every Sunday. I’ve been working at the pet store by my house because they needed some extra hands.
Them: You’re going to be picking up dog shit the rest of your life.
Me: First, that’s not what I do… second, it’s not my main job. I’m still running my own buisiness and teaching on the side.
Note: This is an individual who I haven’t spoken to in a long while. Before this day we have never fought, there has never been any bad blood, and so these next few bits really caught me off guard.
Them: Oh, so you run a buisiness that makes $0.
Me: Actually no, I’ve been self sustainable for quite some time now.
Them: Oh, okay, so $0.
At this point, people started looking at us, and I tried to make my exit from the conversation.
Me: Let’s talk about this when you’re sober. You’re clearly not in the right mind set to have this conversation.
I hug them and start leaving.
Them: Hey listen, if you don’t quit your pet store job and get a real job by December I’m going to pick up all of the dog shit that’s by my house, because dogs always shit by the light post by my house, and I’m going to put it in a bag and beat you with it.
I laugh at this comment, because I personally found it funny, even though it obviously isn’t.
Them: I’m not kidding, stop wasting your life, get a job that can actually pay your bills.
Me: Again, I have a real job, I run my own buisiness, I teach, and make my living doing everything I love doing. If I choose to give an extra hand to a workplace I used to work at, that’s my fucking choice.
They pull me in.
Them: What company do you run? What’s the name?
I name my company.
Them: Never heard of it, who pays you?
Me: I pay myself. I take on clients and work for other larger buisnesses helping boost their marketing and advertising.
Them: So you make nothing. Name one company who has hired you.
I begin listing company after company that I have worked with. Honestly, I’m proud of the clients I’ve worked with. I would never have expected myself to land some of the gigs I’ve landed, especially as someone who never imagined himself working in advertising.
Note: A lot of my clients are LGBTQ+
Them: So you’re picking up rainbow dog shit, you probably only have clients when it comes to Pride but the rest of the year you have no money.
Me: Again, let’s talk about this when you’re sober. You’re not listening to me. You don’t care what I say, and this is going absolutely no where.
I try to pull away again, but they pull me back pretty aggressively. At this point, another relative comes in to try to help.
Relative 1: Hey, I think you’ve had too much to drink. Leave J alone. He has to go.
Relative 1 helps pull me away.
Me: Thank you.
They pull me back.
Them: How much money do you make a month?
Me: Dude. Stop. It doesn’t even fucking matter.
Them: I’ve been working in buisiness for years. I’m here to give you advice. You can choose to listen to it or not. I love you, and I’m always here for you. I know people make their choices and I don’t judge you. You can be whoever you want to be, but that is not a good job choice.
Me: I choose not to listen to it because you literally haven’t spoken to me in years, you are assuming a bunch of bullshit about my life, and you refuse to listen to anything I have to say. You’re acting like a dick and honestly, you’re making me uncomfortable.
Relative 1 pulls them away from me and says:
Relative 1: Hey, J needs to drive me home.
Them: You can get another ride.
Me: Listen, if you want to talk to me sober we can talk. I don’t know where any of this is coming from and quite frankly this conversation is making me see you in a very differnt light that I don’t like.
Them: You’re mad at me.
Me: Not yet, no. I’m not mad, but you’re being really fucking rude.
Them: You have every right to be mad at me, but you have to wake up and realize you’re wasting your life. You’re never going to be successful.
Me: Great. My life to waste.
The conversation didn’t last much longer than that. Another relative pulled them away and says: D
Relative 2: Don’t worry, they’re drunk… they don’t mean what they’re saying. They won’t even remember it in the morning.
Me: No, I don’t care. Drunk or not, this was really innapropriate. And the fact that you excuse this makes me mad.
I hate that excuse. “They’re drunk.” And I’m not going to deny that I’ve never said that in my life, because I know I have.
Being drunk is no fucking excuse for being an asshole. Being drunk does not give you the right to say a bunch of shit to someone, especially someone who you say you love. That’s not love, that’s just verbal abuse.
On top of that, should we not be talking about owning up to your faults and mistakes? Shouldn’t we be talking about how counterproductive it is to push instances like this under the rug? Isn’t this an issue that can cause a lot more problems in the future?
No one should ever be berated. No one should ever be told that they’re wasting their life, especially when you don’t know what someone’s been up to. I’ve been working non-stop for 2 years. I took my first day off a week ago, and that day I was working on 2 other contracts and a show. Yes, there have been times where I felt nothing was going to pull through. Yes, there have been times where I personally felt like I was wasting my life, but guess what… I’m so fucking proud of everything I’ve accomplished… even in the past two years.
I’ve grown so much. I’ve created jobs from nothing. I basically forced myself into industries that kept telling me, no, and I refused to stop fighting. And you know what? I’m still fighting. I’m still breaking down those walls and proving myself, not only to others… but to myself.
Years ago this conversation would have sent me spiralling down. Years ago I wouldn’t have been equipt enough to not doubt myself. Years ago, I would have been in a fucking dark place. And that’s why I’m so adamant and angered by this interaction. Stop, take a second and really think about what it is you’re saying… even if you’re wasted.
Relative 2 kept trying to console me (which is something I didn’t really need because it made me more frustrated.) Relative 2 kept saying: oh they don’t feel this way about you, they’ve never said this before, they’re just talking. No. When you’re drunk you don’t come up with shit out of the blue. You’re still conscious. You’re still aware. You probably had these feelings deep down somewhere inside of you. Even if it wasn’t exactly “he will be picking shit up his whole life.” It could be a simple: J chose the wrong career to be in, and he will probably never be successful until he figures out he’s made a mistake… so it’s my job as his relative to give him some insight. Whether or not these were the thoughts, doesn’t matter… I still fully believe that there had to be some sort of resentment that just hadn’t come up before. And for these reasons, I will never excuse what is said when you’re drunk.
Again, I’ve obviously done stupid things in the past. Said stupid things in the past. Have tried to excuse myself for things I say when I’m drunk. But I’m over it. There are limits. If you know you say stupid shit when you’re drunk, don’t get that fucked up. Be smart. You’re surrounded by people who you’re “stuck” with. And now whenever I look at you, or the people who witnessed the event look at you, we will see that asshole who kept trying to dig his younger relative into the ground. That’s not cool. That’s not love. And I kindly suggest you rethink your actions next time.
There’s the slim chance that someone in the family will read this, or you will. I don’t really care at this point. It’s still really bothering me, especially given all of the family bullshit that’s been uprising from all sides. Being in someone’s family does not give you a veto. You’re more than welcome to shoot me a text, or a call. And I’m not calling you out or naming you. This post is merely about one of those times I think drinking goes too far. It’s something a lot of us struggle with, but there’s always help or a simple self-assessment. Drinking doesn’t have to lead to this because toxicity like this can burn lots of bridges.