I never got along with my family. I've always felt like an outcast. Could it be that I'm the only girl out of 4 boys? Or that once my mother & father found out that they were having a girl my father had a huge meltdown because he wanted 5 sons. But instead, he ended up with only 4! I was the baby of the family.
Funny right? My mother always tells a joke about the reason she had named me Benni was to make my father happy because she couldn't change my gender so she named me a boy's name. The question for that joke is did my father ever become happy? Because I don't think naming me a boy's name would've made my father happier but it was worth a shot! I guess.
Anyway growing up I was the only one out of my family that had bright hair with freckles kind of similar to Strawberry Shortcake. My parents & brothers all we're brunette but rumor has it that my great great great great grandmother was ginger so it skipped generations I guess. I could play the hell out of the flute when I was in 3rd grade but had to give up playing it because when I practiced at home everyone in my household couldn't stand the sound. But every Sunday I had to hear my mother, father & brothers yell & scream during the Superbowl. No don't I dare complain or I would've been grounded for life! I even remember that one time when I was 8 years old I wanted to do Ballet but my mother wouldn't let me because she said that the woman in our family never did Ballet & that I would be breaking the family cycle or whatever that meant.
I just always felt abnormal around my family.
I've always wanted to do things that no one ever thought of doing in our family so that made me look like an outcast.
So one night as a child in bed looking at a sky full of stars through my bedroom window I wished to move far away from home when I became old enough to. Happy to say that wish came true! I graduated at 18 years old then left home by the age of 19 to go to acting school in California. So now at just 22 years old, I'm a part-time actress.
One evening during thanksgiving week my mother had called me to ask if I wanted to come home for thanksgiving. I thought that the phone call was a bit rare because my mother, not father or brothers call me to see how I've been while pursuing an acting career in California. But for my good heart sake, I told my mother "yea sure why not"
So On Thanksgiving morning, I went to my parent's house. But before I entered the home I sat in my car for about 30 mins asking God to give me strength. Dramatic right? But trust me if you were in this dysfunctional family you would be doing more than just asking God for strength crack maybe?
Ok, now I am seriously being dramatic! I mean my family isn't that bad but they're also not good either anyways here goes nothing.
I calmly knock on my parent's front door that read "Welcome To the Millers Home". " haha how funny Welcome" I say to myself while laughing under my breath. All of a sudden my mother answers the door excited but once she realized that I wasn't my Aunt Patty her excitement sort of went low.
"Hey Mom," I say while clapping.
"Hey, Benni I thought you were Aunt Patty I'm looking forward to seeing her tonight," My mother says rudely. "Oh, but I am here I'm your daughter you're not excited to see me?
You see a loving appreciative mother would've hugged me & said I'm so proud of you Benni you followed your dreams but instead she said: "Are you coming in or not You are letting the heat out!". So unwelcoming I walked through the front door & saw my father, as usual, sitting in his chair that he's been sitting in probably before I was even born & my four brothers sitting on the couch across from my father. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that my brothers never did anything once they graduated they have stayed home & never made a life for themselves. Although I did hear about my oldest brother Nicky getting engaged must be as worthless as he is because I don't know what woman would want my brother. Now don't get me wrong I love my brother but he's 32 & jobless! That is a no for me!
I went into the kitchen where my mother was to see if she needed any help or anything.
" Hey, ma need any help?" Desperately she responded, "Can you even cook Benni?" Awkwardly I responded, " yea ever since I was 9 I knew how. I thought you knew that but I guess not huh?". "No, I didn't know but that's ok I'll just have your Aunt Patty help me go talk to your brothers & father you know it's been a while" In my head, I say "yea it's been a while since I've seen you too" but loudly I said, "ok sure just let me know if you need any help". I didn't want to talk to my father or brothers I wanted to avoid them but no my mother's right it's been a while since I've seen them so why not go spend time with them & plus it's Thanksgiving the holiday you should be thankful for family!
As I enter the living room where my brothers & father are I see them yell & shout while watching the turkey game. I say hi but no one responded of course so I didn't the Benni Special which was standing in front of the television.
" Hey, guys it's me, Benni! It's been a while, Nicky, I've heard you've got engaged Congrats bro" Instead of them running over to hug me they just stared at me which was very weird!
My brother then stands up from the couch & says "Benni? Oh my, God Dad look she has boobs!'. I look down at my breasts & say " yea I do I've had them since I was like 14".
My father makes a face that you would make if you were somewhat constipated. "Really?" My father says. I then change the subject because it was starting to become weird talking about my breasts with my father & brothers.
"Anyways I am officially an actress!" I say while doing a tada stance. My brother Patrick says "Good now can you move from in front of the tv we're trying to watch the game!" Then all 5 of them respond "Yeah!" I awkwardly leave the living room like a zombie who looks like they are about to drop dead! As I make my way up the stairs to use the bathroom I see my old bedroom. I slowly make my way into the room. Wow, my room is now a laundry room!? As I take a look around the room I notice that all of my things were gone! My strawberry shortcake doll my shelf full of books! Wow, this family is so cruel! I run out of the room & slam it shut. As I enter the bathroom I desperately look at myself in the mirror & notice that my eye shadow was a bit smeared. "Oh great so like no one was going to tell me!" I yell! But how could they hear me the door was closed! But that doesn't matter I bet if I screamed in their faces they still wouldn't notice me! "Nope, I am not allowing them to tear me apart! They tried to do it to me when I was a child but that was then! I am now an adult & I am going to handle it differently!" I say as I stare at myself in the mirror!
I make my way back downstairs & into the kitchen again I see my mother looking as if she was working at a farm. Face drenched with sweat, a plaid apron with a wooden spoon in her hand. "Hey ma it's me again need any help?' My mother out of breath says to me " No Benni I told you I'm fine I don't want you burning down the kitchen!". "Oh ok so what happened to all of my things that we're in my old room?" I ask curiously. My mother had told me that she gave all of my things always during a yard sale that my father & she had. Oh just great! I get so angry that I tend to walk away but the little voice in my head says "Don't you walk away you wimp! You let her know who's boss!" I usually ignore that little voice in my head but today something was tempting me to listen to what it says. So I blurted out loud "No I'm not going anywhere until I help you! I didn't come down from California to just be a lump on a log! No, I came down here to spend time with my family! So! Let me help you! Or else!"
My mother with a paused expression on her face blurts out laughing loudly! While holding her stomach she says "Was that a line from one of the scripts that you have to memorize while filming if so that was impressive!" Before I could speak My mother yells from the kitchen " hey did you guys hear Benni's outburst it was hilarious!" & of course my brothers & Father paid her no attention at all. She continues to laugh & mimic me "let me help you or else!" Deep down inside I couldn't stand my mother mimicking but at least I was getting her attention that's what mattered. So I sat down & took a cookie out of the cookie jar which was in the middle of the kitchen table looking at my mother constantly mimic me when all of a sudden the doorbell ranged! "ooh I've got it! " my mother says while running to the door! From the kitchen, I could hear my mother yell "Patty! Oh my God, I've been waiting all day for you!" That's when I knew my Aunt Patty had arrived!
My Aunt patty was my mother's oldest sister which makes my mother the youngest. My grandma only had two girls! My Aunt Patty was married 3 times in her life It's kind of rare that she is single now! Every other day of the week she would bring a new guy over to our house for us to meet! Thank God she only married 3 out of all of the guys we've met!
"Ooh, it smells good in here!" My Aunt Patty says while she & my mother enters the kitchen! " Benni! Oh my God, you have grown up into a woman!" She says while squeezing my cheeks! " yea I had to grow up someday!"
"Where's Linda? I was expecting you both! My mother asks my aunt patty. Oh, Linda is My Aunt Pattys, Daughter She's the only child! I've always envied her growing up because she always got what she wanted. Whether it was the new Barbie Dream House! Or a scooter! That drives up to 30 miles per minute!
" She'll be here! She's running a little late oh did I ever mention that my Linda is getting married! Ugh im such a proud mother!"
I awkwardly laugh while my mother says "oh no little Linda is growing up on me! I can't believe she's engaged! " then she turns to me & says "Did you hear that Benni, Linda is engaged!" I grin & say sarcastically "No I didn't get that how did I miss that?! But good for Linda! What a girl!". My mother then gives me the evil eye once she catches my sarcasm. " Anyway Good for Linda I can't say much about Benni! From the way she's been dressing, I won't be surprised if she brings a woman home!" My mother says while laughing. Again with my sarcasm, I responded "Really? Mom nothing to say about me! How about my daughter just graduated from Acting school & now has a job as an actress!" My mother & Aunt Patty starts to laugh! Confusingly I respond" what's so funny?" As my mother is storing the cookie dough she responds "Because in this family an actress is more like a hobby, not a career!" My aunt patty chimes in " yea you are better off being a stay at home mother Benni! I mean that's what all the woman in our family has done! The men are the ones who go out & make a career we stay at home with the children" underneath my breath I say "Well that's sad"
"Thanksgiving Feast is ready!!" My mother yells out to the living room while my brothers & father scatter to the dining room like roaches.
"Yum, this looks, good mom!" I say while putting a spoonful of macaroni & cheese in my mouth! "Benni! We have to say grace first! " my mother shouts at me while we all sit at the dinner table! Right before we were all about to hear Aunt Pattys Horrible grace there was a sudden knock at the front door. As usual, my mother says "I've got it!" I knew that my oldest cousin Linda had arrived because my mother said "Oh My God Linda!" Linda & my mom enters the dining room.
"Look who it is? It's Little Linda she's all grown up!" My mother says as if Linda was a grand prize! I think it's funny how my mother speaks so highly of my cousin Linda like she's done something extraordinary in her life! Uh, let's see cousin Linda became a stripper at age 19 & still is at the age of 25! I wouldn't be surprised if that dude she's engaged to is her sugar daddy!
As we all sit at the table pretending to be a happy family...well eventually my father & brothers left the table with their plates to finish watching the turkey game. Which left me, My mother, Aunt patty & her daughter Linda at the table. We soon engage in a conversation but of course, I'm left out as usual.
"So Linda tell us about this mysterious guy who you soon will be marrying?" My mother says in full excitement. "Well I met him at work we exchanged numbers went to this fabulous restaurant & right there he proposed! I couldn't believe it!" As my mother & Aunt stare at Linda's engagement ring like it was a newborn baby. I then become disgusted & walk towards the kitchen to put my plate into the kitchen sink. "I swear, What do I need to do to get some recognition from my family. Why did God even put me into this family you know I joke about how dysfunctional my family is but, in reality, it's sad! Just sad!" I say while I look out the kitchen window as I look at a sky full of stars.
My mother was standing behind me the whole while I was saying this I know she was because she says " God put you into this family because I did too wish upon a star when I was pregnant with you," I wipe away my tears & jokingly say "Oh really? & did it come true?"
"Yes, it did! I wished to have a daughter with bright red hair & freckles just like my great-great-grandmother" My mother hugged me & said "Never wait for anyone to give you recognition give it to yourself "
I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming because I don't even remember the last time my mother hugged me maybe when I was 6!
"Benni I know that Your father & I have not been the best parents! But we tried the best we could! I must admit you are different! But so what! There's nothing wrong with being different. I was selfish raising you I was only thinking of myself I never asked how you felt! & I promised myself that I wouldn't do the same thing my mother did while raising my sister & me. I felt like an outcast as well when I was about your age but I wasn't as confident as you I broke & became like everyone else please don't make the same stupid mistakes that I've made Benni" my mother touches my face while becoming teary-eyed. I understand what my mother meant but what I didn't understand is why did she wait so long to tell me this?! It would've felt a whole lot better if I was told this as a child!
but nope I responded "Thank you mommy" & hugged her. "Now naming me Benni did that make YOU happy"
"No, I wanted to name you Robin after your father Mother but you see what I mean I never did what I wanted because I was gullible I listened to others instead of myself don't be like me, Benni" my mother starts to cry again.
We then left the kitchen & returned to the dining room table.
You see I've learned something while being an adult about my family. I've learned that it's ok to be different from your family & although I would like to hear my parents say to me here or there that they're proud of me. But at least I have a family that I am grateful for.
OOh, yea things changed a little bit after My mother & I had our heart-to-heart conversation. My brother Nicky did get married & I was the Bridesmaid yes My brother's fiancee Wilma asked me to be her bridesmaid along with her best friend Lola. don't mean to sound mean when I say this but Lola her best friend reminds me of Fiona from Shrek & not when she was beautiful when she became the oger!
My father & I are somewhat close. My mother & father moved to California 2 years later. I know this sounds a little bit rare but he is my manager which means I have to spend time with him every day I mean I love my dad but he is quite the annoying kind. As far as my mother She & I meet every Tuesday & have tea to talk about life. I must admit the whole that was in my heart as a child is now patched up & Loved.