defining your family

Ever Sophia, Love

I was just over at offbeat bride reading one of their many fabulous articles that scratch my holly matrimony itch (huhhhhummmh, that was me clearing my throat). Ladies, you know you like wedding porn, let’s not deny it. This article is the sweetest. It’s about a lady who forgot her vows at the alter and just asked her husband if he would be her family. He responded yes. 

Read it, it’s short. Dawh. You died a little didn’t you.

It gave me all of the feels because it’s so exactly how I feel. Dysfunction doesn’t do my family justice. What’s left of my genetic family is tiny and hanging on by a thread. Essentially my Papa and my Mom. Save the pity,  I’m better off having two solid people than a line up of bench warmers.

So what happened to the rest of them? Time, space and a conscious decision to eliminate the crazy from my life.

I know that it’s hard to believe- because I’m such a sane, rational, warm and caring person- that everyone who shares my DNA is bat shit crazy. Some of them are just run of the mill crazy. The kind that you can totally deal with and honestly that I prefer. But most of them are certifiable. Seriously. Sociopaths, mentally unbalanced, explosive, violent, ignorant human begins. Yes, I’m from Kansas.

God damn, I wish it wasn’t the case. I’ve stretched myself into all kinds of contortions in attempts to accommodate them. But what do we know about trying to change people that think that they’re perfectly fine? It ends in knock down drag out fights.

I ain’t got time for that. Period.

For example: I’m 27 years old. It took me 22 years to tell my little brother to take a flying leap for good. This child, though he may be nice to you, has been absolute hell for me for the vast majority of his life. I can psychoanalyze him. I can point fingers. I can theorize about his brain chemistry. At the end of the day who he is and how he treats people, me specifically, is his problem not mine ANYMORE.

Maybe that sounds heartless. It probably sounds like a lot of things but unless you’re close to both of us you have no idea about the magnitude of bull shit that I endured by being his sister. It wasn’t a decision that I made lightly. This is the boy that I played way too big a role in raising as a child (let the big one watch the little one was real). I watched him shape shift though identities over the years and where he has settled is an ugly place.

This summer, violently, emotionally and painfully I broke up with my brother. Cut and dry. I am done with him. I don’t care what is going on in his life, despite it usually being more comedically ridiculous than my own. I don’t want to hear about any of it. I wish him well. I wish him better life choices and experiences. I wish him compassion and wisdom because he desperately needs both. But I am done.

Here’s the really great thing about letting heavy things go. You make space. You find light. You get to heal. 

I encourage you, if you have toxic people in your life. If you’re letting someone who is an energy vampire cling onto the coat tails of your life, then identify them and set them free.

In even better news. Time heals all things. People change or they don’t. You can revaluate at later time. Space can be a blessing and a life raft.

I’m learning to honor that. To set boundaries. To establish expectations. My dear dear friend is far more wise than me and I’ve watched her so many times approach hostile situations with very clear statements. Seeing it done so seamlessly in real life is like watching Sesame Street for adults. I call it WWSD?— what would Stacey do? When the squeeze of intensity rises with another person I’m really trying to think before I speak. Acknowledge the tension and demand respect.

That’s not what I want to do. I’m an emotional(ly shielded) person with a sharp tongue. I’d like to lash out at you. Instead, I’m choosing to grow. To practice self-love by requiring reasonable reactions. Simple.

Back to the gushy wedding story. The concept of family is something that I think of often. For a myriad of reasons:

-I fall in love easily. Men, women, friends, strangers. That’s a vulnerable position. Some times it burns me, turns out that neighbor girl Kim wasn’t the best let’s be best friends forever and have slumber parties every night material.

-The cosmic entities, fait, serendipity what ever it is or isn’t has put the most amazing humans in my path. I have a tribe of friends that I love fiercely. They get me (which shouldn’t be so hard, yet so many struggle. I literally got asked if I forgot to take my meds the other day.)

– Every time that I would be at the bottom of my emotional barrel over a break up someone would interject, “But hey you have your daughter”. It always felt like a little jab, the subtext being,  “Well no man has chosen you (read chosen to behave in a way that was worthy of you) but you get this consolation prize (your daughter) that doesn’t get a choice in the matter”. I finally am in a place where I can realize that they were right. I gave birth to this magnificent human being that is mine and me hers until the end of time. The gravity of that is bewildering. It hasn’t been easy. Some years and months were damn near impossible but somehow we’ve made it though dark and day for 6 years inseparably. As she gets older and when she’s old enough to define her own family there’s no doubt that I’ll always be her choice, this love is too pervasive.

-I’m in love with an incredible man. Yes, I’ve eaten the, “He’s the one and we’ll be in love forever” crow a few too many times. What I will never lose is having the freedom in love to be exactly who I am with someone who is exactly who he is. I really really like him as a person and he does a pretty good job of dealing with me 🙂 In all seriousness, we are both keenly aware of each other’s quirks (we’ll call them that). We’re learning to accommodate each others needs and buttons. We’re growing together. We are a family. It’s a limb that we’re out on together. Feeling like you truly have a family to trust is a welcomed change in my life.

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