This Saturday, after taking my daughter to volleyball practice and watching her attempt to learn a new sport, I felt inspired. You see, my daughter is asthmatic and for years she just did not do sports or anything athletic. Though I have always told my kids that the world was theirs and that I would support them in anything legal, she would always feel as if she couldn’t physically do it and that people would tease her if she wasn’t as good as everyone else. So, imagine my surprise when she came to me at the beginning of the year and said that she wanted to try volleyball and maybe a few other sports. Maybe it is the new environment. Maybe it is the new school. Or maybe my daughter has developed an “I don’t give two craps about what other people think, I am going to do my best and I am going to love it” attitude [wish she would have that love for cleaning her room]. This week I am going to walk in my daughter’s shadow and step out of my comfy comfort zone by jumping into one of those topics that tend to raise a few eyebrows and put people on the defense. Though I already have the habit of striking a nerve, there are some messy topics that need to be discussed. It is my hope that, by delving into the grey shade of life, a conversation can be started, thereby providing practical help and solutions for others. Like my daughter, I doubt this is going to be the last time that I am going to come outside the box, and like her I have a feeling that no matter the outcome, I am going to keep at it and I won’t give two craps about the feathers or the eyebrows that become raised. At the end of the day, this is bigger than me… so here goes today’s blog post on Blood is Thicker……
‘Blood is thicker than water…’ ‘A house divided cannot stand alone…’ ‘Charity begins at home…’ ‘Home is where the heart is…’ These sayings have always been spoken/recited when there is friction between family members. It is assumed that just by their utterance, everyone would automatically line up together and magically their bond would be stronger than ever. But this does not really happen in the real world. Though I am all for family and family ties, reality is reality and not everyone is gifted with the genetic environment that would make this magical bond possible.
- For instance, how do we tell someone who has had to endure physical or sexual abuse at the hand of their blood relative that their loyalty should be to the family name and they shouldn’t let any outside force break its connection?
- Or how do we tell the lonely teen/young adult who has had to carry their ‘identity’ hidden out of fear or ridicule and abandonment by their family to be true to themselves? As such an identity would bring shame and dishonor to their surname.
- Then show me how do we face the emotionally imprisoned person screaming internally for support and love when they are left empty from the loud silence and whispered rejection, as their genetic blood ties only offer up publicly convenient smiles?
- What solace do you offer the girl/guy who was continuously told: “you are a disappointment,” “you will never amount to anything,” “you need to do as you are told,” “you are different,” “you need to be more like us,” “all men are like that,” “divorce is not an option” “all men hit their wives,” “no one will believe you,” “our family does not believe in therapy,” “real men don’t show emotions,” “you are too soft,” “you are a fool if you don’t do it our way,” “you don’t have what it takes”?
Trust me the List is endless……
While growing up, my ability to observe and empathize with others allowed me many opportunities to not only exist but to silently embrace emotions and relationships around me. Through experience and observation, I learned that though there were some families that were similar to the Huxtables, Bradys, and Ingalls [Cosby Show, Brady Bunch & Little House on the Prairie, for the readers who did not share my deep love for television sitcoms that I had growing up], some of them were not.
And though I knew homes that shared the never-ending support or the laughter that these tv shows depicted every week, behind closed curtains other homes substituted laughter and joy with bullying and verbal abuse. On the surface everything looked perfect to the average onlooker, but the sharp words exchanged, and the lack of real emotion and remorse would stay hidden under the family’s public persona, out of the view of their many guests or neighbors.
But what lays hidden always finds its way to the surface and that is normally when all hell breaks loose.
A home is supposed to be a nesting place — a place where ideas, personalities and bodies are fed and nurtured. It should represent a place where people who are joined together by blood and/or love are united in positive energy. Though, I don’t expect it to always be a perfect unity, for as humans we are imperfect beings. Nonetheless, I do expect people to genuinely care and allow each other to find their own destiny, and not impose their selfish restrains to serve a twisted or unnecessary purpose. People should feel safe within their homes and not feel apprehensive of when another possible attack may occur.
Would you throw rocks daily at a budding rose and then tell it to grow to its full bloom?
People, like flowers, have specific requirements for them to achieve their full bloom. For the rose/person to achieve their full potential, you are either going to have to remove and place them within a more welcoming and nurturing environment, or you will have to take the time and remove the rocks and negativity from its present environment. Sometimes changing the current environment to be more in line with what a person needs can be just as (or sometimes more) difficult. Some people are so set in their way of speaking and thinking [rocks] that it becomes near impossible for them to see that what they are doing is damaging and in many ways abusive to others. And though you may yearn to find a way to hold on to the familiarity while seeking ways to develop, do understand that trying to turn what for them is their nature into that of a suitable nurture may be so out of the box that only divine intervention would make a difference.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to go this route and from time to time a complete removal is the divine intervention. And for the sake of growth and somewhat peace of mind it may be best. I could sit here and tell you to stick it out, but there are some instances when this is not only disheartening but also damaging. This can be damaging to your emotions, but it can also restrain you from achieving the purpose that you were placed on earth for. Though it may not seem possible within the moments of disarray, there are choices and ways to put emotional or physical space between those that are breaking you down and causing you pain.
Please note that it does not make you a selfish person to want something that is different or to want to be different from those around you. Even if mistakes were made along the way, it is still possible for you to make changes in your life that can put you on track. We were all placed on this earth to achieve our own unique purpose. Though we were placed into our unique families/countries/cultures/environments/societies whose main purpose should have been to help us develop our God-given identity and provide nurture for us during our walk-through life, this does not always happen the way it should. There can sometimes be a struggle with the internal vision we hold of who we are truly meant to be and with what our environment expects from us.
Now that January is coming to an end, and we are now in a new month, let it be a month of change where the umbilical cord to all negative sources, whether connected through blood, location or way of life, is severed and you allow yourself the opportunity to grow.
Special Note: To all of my readers, if you or anyone you know is an abusive situation or unhealthy relationship, please seek help. There are many individuals and organizations that can offer you guidance and even a safe place to start over. You are worth more than your yesterdays… you deserve the right for a happy tomorrow. Never let anyone (no matter who they may be) determine your self-value. Know that there are people out there who care and know that with prayer and determination you can find a way out.