For my 20th post, I’m going to talk about something that I’ve only ever mentioned in therapy; until yesterday. For the first time in my life, someone took the time to sit down, and ask me real questions about how I feel about my immediate family, and how certain things in my past have shaped me; well, someone outside of a therapist. I was uncomfortable at first, I didn’t know what I could say. But her energy was welcoming, and I didn’t have it in me to lie.
The day started off difficult. My parents and brother had made plans for them to go to my dads half of the family first. It was a paid event, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t invited. To me, the excuses that were given to me for me not being included were garbage, and even if they weren’t, nothing would’ve made sense to me anyway. So I slept in, I didn’t really want to go anywhere because I felt like I wouldn’t fit. I’m so used to being criticized, and talking myself into some sort of issue that I rather just be alone half the time. But Bear pretty much told me to go and enjoy my holiday regardless of everything else. Those weren’t his exact words, but I think it got his point across.
Now, I’ve always been a bit different and I’ve come to love it. So when my cousin asked me a question, I popped right out with the answer which led to another conversation. The point here, is that this one question opened a vast door to what has been going on with me for the last decade. After my cousin had left, my aunt and I got into some deep truths about my life. I haven’t told my friends the depth of my pain when it comes to my family, and how they have impacted me to be the person I am now. So it was difficult to feel and talk about those things with my aunt. The only person who had really witnessed a couple of these altering events was my best friend, now sister Cherelle.
Cherelle probably has a good idea about done of my changes, at least since high school because she’s been on the other end of the phone on nights where I’ve cried myself to sleep. She’s been there to pray with me on the phone, and listen while I hyperventilated and passed out from emotional exhaustion. Those moments are as imbedded in my mental as runes on a pyramid. I’m sure those nights were hard for her, I never actually thought about how it was for her to hear me like that until just now. It just makes me appreciate her so much more than I already do. Outside of her, I’ve never leaned on someone to really get my feelings out on this particular subject. Most of the time when I vent, I vent like a regular teenager, and that’s how I wanted people to see me. I didn’t want them to really know how badly I was hurting. Until last night.
I don’t think my aunt will ever understand the door she opened for me. Although I didn’t cry, I felt some healing take place in speaking the words I’d never said out loud. It felt good to speak on my real feelings and memories that have continued to torment me from my present. For a few moments, I thought I would lose my composure, my insides at those times felt like rolled over dung. Thick, stinky, heavily deposited, and spreading over parts that weren’t related. My feelings were just open, infected, sores. But she took the time to look at those sores, to say ‘let’s clean these up’, and bandage them.
Maybe when I’m more comfortable I’ll go more into what we talked about, but for now, I really just appreciate her caring. For the first time in my life someone who wasn’t paid to hear about my deepest pains cared to listen to them. Cared enough to ask questions and not just brush them off, and cared enough to say ‘I’m sorry you went through that’. I’ve often felt alone. Not because people don’t care for me, but because those crevices hold a lot of who I am. Only select people have seen that deep into me, have been able to handle it, and it’s a huge weight off my shoulder to know I don’t have to act around her. That I have someone who has more of an understanding on why I’ve become who I am now.
To cap the night off, my grandmother, who I only call Granna, did something I didn’t expect. When she told me to go lay down in her room, she walked me to the steps, looked me straight in my eyes and said, “are you happy”. I didn’t answer her at first, it sounded more like a statement, like she could feel it on me, but when I did reply she nodded and walked back to the kitchen. Before Granna, and promptly after my aunt, is my great aunt Itsey. (God had to have known that this night would be one of those nights where I could choose progress or stagnation) We had been talking about my health, it was my first time telling my family what my doctors diagnosed me with, when she looked at me and said stop stressing. She said, you’re right where you need to be, you have nothing to prove to anyone, you’ve accomplished so much already, why are you trying to push yourself so fast and so far.
When she said that, I thought I was going to lose it again. I don’t know exactly when I felt I had to be the star in my family, but she had hit the nail on the head. To hear her tell me she’s proud?… Those are moments that I’ve longed for. To hear those words, and for them to really mean it was invaluable. A lot that was said yesterday blessed me. Healed me. A lot of it opened my eyes to what I’m doing and where I want to be. Most of it just filled in these holes that have accumulated in my heart. It is a stamp of my families love for me. For them to feel my sadness, the ache in my heart, and for them to encourage me through it is what helps me understand what family is really meant for. I cry for the person I used to be, the things I’ve lost, but I’m looking forward to who I’m becoming, and the things I can get back.
I know I won’t be sad forever, that I won’t be sick, or unhappy, or angry forever. So I’m riding through this time of transition. I’m learning from my mistakes, and learning what I can from the things I’m going through, as well as the things I’ve gone through. Overall, Thanksgiving was a day of healing for me. If nothing else, I’m thankful for that.