I’m not a perfect parent: There, I said it. I’m not a perfect anything. Sister, Auntie, Cousin, Niece. When I was married, I wasn’t the perfect wife. What is this idea of perfection anyway? Some half cocked idea that people are supposed to measure up to something…that there is some ideal floating around out there…
Where does this idea come from anyway? Instead of focusing on spending time with our families, chatting, visiting, or catching up…how do we spend our quality time? How many of us are on our PDAs, cell phones, smartphones, IPADS, Ipods, computers, watching television while the stereo plays in the background…WiFI signals shooting every which way.
How many of us just talk any more? Instead much of our time is spend checking who liked our latest post, or uploading the latest set of photos so we can feel accepted or noticed? I’m not trash-talking this lifestyle, just making an observation. Today was a quiet day in our household, one of the days we are not running after the latest class or event. Downtime is spent…distracted by one device or another. I often wonder why i bother buying toys anymore, my son seems only to be interested in his video games.
I have thought a great deal about familial relationships these days. I had many expectations about what a family is “supposed” to be. Anishinabe people have some ideas about what “tribal connections” are supposed to be, but most of us just fumble through the random interactions we have with blood relations. I sound jaded, maybe its cause i am. We talk alot about all of our relations but what does that mean? People who have gone through residential school may not even know the meaning…certainly trauma survivors never really do. Love, support, understanding, acceptance, cheering, and acknowledgments are almost non-existent.
The language of love is silent.
I used to love to go home when my parents were alive, go home kick back and chill for awhile. A nice warm safe place to hang out, a place to call my own safe place, away from the city. I never thought about what it would be like without that space. I never thought about having to stay at my siblings homes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to have siblings, its just different. The transition hasn’t been easy for me. I never had to live with any of them for very long…well I remember hanging out with my brothers. I guess that was ok…but I remember having a lot of time alone too.
I guess I just got used to not relating to anyone except my imaginary friends that I stopped missing people. I stopped noticing. Why then, haven’t I stopped needing them?
I came to the awareness today that i was still looking for sibling attention, their acknowledgement, maybe even support…for what? who knows…who even cares at this point. The fact remains that there is this weird needy place inside. I found it today…and I filled it up with my own acknowledgent. Somehow this part of me was so disillusioned so needy and attention seeking that I found self-sabotaging behaviours. Not arriving places on time, sleeping in when I should be getting up, lashing out and criticising others, I had convinced myself that I was so unloveable that i became a miserable, childish and selfish brat…even with all of those behaviours…I was able to see underneath all of it and love myself. Despite it all.
I suppose being the youngest of a dysfunctional family, I have found that I never really expected any of them to love me. I mean, why would they…when I was treated so much more different than they? I would never know the hell they endured…and with the full understanding and witnessing what they have gone through…why would I ask them for more. How selfish of me to want to be loved and accepted even though I was treated so differently.
Maybe if I beat myself up enough, I’ll be accepted.
i never asked to be different. But I was. I am, and it sucks.
Sometimes I feel like I’m exasperating their lives when I ask them for things, a ride, or support for something or another.
I’m so conscious of it that I’ve tried to always look after myself whenever i have anything to do with them. Need a ride, ok, I’ll pay for the gas. Need to borrow money, don’t borrow too much and pay it right back ASAP. Better yet, don’t ask for anything, EVER. I never wanted to test the limits of their generousity…cause I’m aftaid…of what it could mean. I guess those are all things I need to deal with.
What does it mean for the child that was the accomplice for the things they suffered? I never wanted to be the accomplice. Yet there it is.
I try to help out when I visit. Do the dishes, because I always appreciate it when someone does my dishes…they are the never ending part of domestic life.
Tidy the place. Sometimes we chat. Its usually late in the night…sometimes its a good chat.
Other times, we spend our days watching movies.
I wonder what healthy families do.
Often I’ve wondered if I’m being to harsh, to critical. Yet…
I watch the life I’ve made for myself and still feel many familiar hanits creep in. Too much TV, too much alone time, too much isolation. I see these things and I despair, unsure how to fix it. Unsure how to change it. I saw this part of myself needing to be loved, needing attention and I fill it up.
It’s been a long time, and many, many life times have I left myself out in the cold, being too crticial, too hard, demanding too much, never good enough for myself at anything. Yet, despite the relentless badgering, I loved me.
Despite the unrelenting tirade of remarks and sarcasm to my spirit. My spirit still found a way to be loved. To give love.
You see…it isnt about my siblings, or my parents, or my life.
It has never been…about any of that.
It’s about me learning to love and accept myself exactly as I am. Absentee, introverted mom. Who can’t really relate to other parents…right now. Yet, I love that woman.
I also love the fun loving, attentive mom, who ever that is.
I don’t need to measure up. I don’t need to win popularity contests, and i don’t need anyone’s acknowledgement except my own. I can learn to receive love from others, but I no longer need it to prove to myself that I am worthy of it and deserving.
We don’t even need to compare ourselves to others. We are who we are and we all deserve love.
I am super grateful to those people in my life that I have learned to love and accept myself through the generosity of their teachings, the gift of their patience and the blessing of their unconditional love. I am also thankful to those times in my life that were challenging, painful, frightening and maybe even forgotten…because you have give me the strength I needed to survive and thrive. Despite all the crazy things my ego likes to concoct about the way my family is or isnt, the life I have, the choices I’ve made, I can still come out on top amd conquer those nay-saying thoughts.
I can still love and accept myself where i am. No, I’m not perfect, no one is. But I’m doing the best I can…and I accept me for me. Learn to become my own cheerleader…that’s how I’m gonna get through. How I’m going to reconnect to the joy in life…allow it to come through myself…and radiate it outwards. Perhaps it will inspire joy and love in someone else. A very grateful soul sister to another Shelley in my life…seems those Shelleys have a great deal of wisdom all stored up in themselves. Nia:wen you know who you both are xoxox Thanks for being there and loving me
Reconciling the old habits. Acknowledging them and letting them go so as to allow new life to grow…wow, that bear moon was certainly very powerful introspective and healing medicine.
Time to get some sleep…cause I love me too…what a thoughtful, introspective post. Thanks self…you’re pretty darned ok by me…***self pat on the back…and its all good…