First off, if you’ve for, whatever reason, missed the workings spewing from my blogging addiction – which I honestly doubt anyone has, given my inherently self-effacing nature – I’ve been dealing trying very hard to deal with, the death of my grandfather; a person who’s not, in my own eyes, merely an older family who’s held some small part of my life throughout the last twenty four years of my existence, but rather, someone who’s raised me, nurtured me, understood me, seen me, and been my best, and at times, only friend. Which is why the small pocket of the Internet I inhabit has been vacant for the past couple of weeks.
It’s not been an easy ride, and I’ve not been writing at all; not even on the few books I’m working on. Though, given I am teetering on the brink of a total mental collapse, I’ve decided that returning to my therapist’s office – aka, my laptop – is probably a good idea; if not for my own health; which is, in my own estimate, of little importance; for the benefit of those, namely, my family, who, and very unlike myself, actually value the air that I contaminate with carbon dioxide.
Which brings me to what this post is about, and that is: the importance, not of being earnest, but of family.
I’ll be the first to admit that, setting aside my beautiful grandfather, my childhood in terms of my family life, was not so pleasant.
Growing up, I never felt understood. My mother, an interloper of the most intrusive sorts, held, in her own mind, a path for me to tread across; one that was not at all in alignment with what I myself had desired. My father, the antithesis of an interloper, was a figure whom I’d, for a very long time indeed, felt to be uncaring and distant. Their marriage, like that of many others, was riddled with ill communication, plagued with mistrust and doubt, layered with negativities blindly annexed from slices of a past cut out long ago, and stamped with a sort of love that was, for better or worse, suffocating, possessive, and inherently toxic.
Their rusted marriage then, as is typically the case, affected me. And I became their source of escapism. (Well, at least how I myself see it).
It’s not an uncommon story: parent’s whose lives together have been soaked in a virulent bath, and who’s inner lives have thusly been cloyed from such an asphyxiating symbiosis, become capable of only loving conditionally. And, as is too often the occasion, that conditional love is predicated on the said child under the guise that they sacrifice much of their own natural self, to meet the expectations of those conditions.
Yes, without going into any specific detail – which I see no need to do – there was a lot to be ungrateful for in my childhood. And there was a lot that many probably would, and, those in similar situations very much do, hold grudges, angst, and collected resentment. However, this is only one part of the story.
Many philosophers have said, and do say, that no body consciously wills evil, and all “malevolent” actions are borne out of benevolent gardens. And that is, at least through my own eyes, truer beyond true can be.
My parents, despite all of their flaws, blind attachments, and general issues, did the best that they could in brining me into this world. No, they may not have been, at least in my own indulgent estimate, perfect – though who can say that they are? (crazy, delusional people) – and no, they may not have even been anywhere near to where perfect would probably sit on the parenting scale. But I can honestly say that now, given the blessing of retrospect, I can much appreciate and see clearly how well intended they have always been, and will always be.
And this, I think, counts, if not for a large portion of the family game, at least an element of it.
Because no matter how much we bicker and bite with our families; no matter how many trifling arguments we partake in; no matter the petty disturbances that grieve us, or the fleck’s of a tightly woven past that somehow manage to haunt us, our family’s will always be there to lean on. To support us. And to ride the waves by our sides when the ocean’s tides are crashing against our person’s rickety abode, and knocking us down.
No, we can’t choose our family. And sometimes, it may feel that if we could, we’d have chosen another. But, as my pop’s in the custom of saying, ‘at the end of the day,’ our family’s been there from the beginning. They’ve seen us at our best, and at our worst, and, if this is so the case, they’ve stuck by our sides through thick and through thin.
The ties governed by consanguinity may not always feel so comfortable when wrapped around our form. However, and in spite of this, they keep us grounded, rooted in soils that have done their best to nurture our growth, and they make sure that if we did ultimately float away into an open chasm of lostness, we’d have company along our way.
I know that not everyone is so fortunate, and that for some, family life provides for, indeed only a blanket of pain and misery. And I know that I am extraordinarily fortunate to have the family that I do. But for those like me, who have been blessed with souls who, despite all efforts, seem to more often than not very unintentionally cause grief and harm rather than peace and joy, remember that they are doing their best, and that this is all they are capable of. Remember that no one will love you, even though sometimes it may not seem like it, like your family. And remember that, despite whatever history may infect you, despite what splinters may still be stuck in the surface of your skin, and despite how often it may seem that your family’s crazy antics are more destructive than constructive; remember that, you’ve only got one family.
And, love them or hate them, or hate to love them, or love to hate them, they probably love you more than you could possibly imagine.
So, in light of this probable (possible) fact, and without meaning to sound demanding, let’s all do our best to show those we love and that probably love us that we love them and we love that they love us.
Because tomorrow may never come, and so, drear will be the day when tomorrow does not come, and you’ve come to realise that your own past has also limited your own ability to love unconditionally; exactly that which you yourself have been so condemning of.
Humans-are-born-into-family. We may not choose them, but we can choose to love them, or at least try our best to. (If, of course, free will is not entirely an illusion).