I was recently chastised by someone. In a fit they tried to cast dispersions on my character and tried to cite the fact that I did not speak to the majority of my close immediate family members as evidence of my deficiencies and isolation in not having family and friends. They could have not been more wrong.
I love my family and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them if asked or needed. I am not just speaking of my small immediate family of mother and two brothers, niece and nephew, but the few aunts, uncles and cousins I grew up with. That said understand that I don’t fuck with nearly any of my family and that fact has been the first step in alleviating some of the stress in my life.
I love my mother more than any words I know could ever express. Occasionally we go through periods of not speaking. There is no beef. The lines of communication are still there and we both know that if any of us ever needed anything we are both there for each other. There is no doubt to these facts. However, my mom, and I say this with the greatest respect and affection, is a wear out motherfucker. It is just who she is and most of the people who have run across her love her for it, just not in daily doses. Visits with my mother are draining and when they are over we often both need a time out. She cannot help herself, but everything I have learned about being a strong, generous, stand up man come from her.
Our time outs don’t necessarily last that long and I have come to look at them in a positive light instead of focusing on any negative. The time allows us both to regain some perspective and the reality is we do not have and have never had the type of relationship that involved communicative sharing of our daily struggles or dreams. Irrespective of how often or little it is said we both know how much we love each other and the bottom line is we are both there for each other, no matter what, period.
My relationships with my brothers are equally interesting. One, I haven’t spoken to now in nearly two years. I love him and would do anything for him. I haven’t spoken to my niece or nephew in the same time. My brother has beef with me it is unilateral in nature. The specifics I won’t get into, but will share my perspective that he is choosing to hold on to things that I just refuse to. Irrespective who may be right or wrong in any situation amongst family and friends (and in no way am I implying I have not been at fault), but as adults we all have choices in how far we want to take or hold on to past actions. Right or wrong if he chooses to hold on to the past that is his choice and prerogative, and it is equally my prerogative to not participate in the negativity. Ideally I would love to have a relationship with my brother, but uninterested in toxicity. My niece and especially my nephew are missing out on so much in having their uncles actively involved in their lives but that has not been my choice.
Up to this point, have I failed in bridging the gap of past family dysfunctions to healthier communication, as the de facto patriarch of my immediate family, I resoundingly answer yes.
So why am I so at peace with my familiar relationships. My family has never been close. My mother has had such a fractured relationships with her siblings all her life spearheaded by her mother’s divisive insidiousness. Those lessons have unfortunately been passed down. As such my definitions of familiar closeness may be different than others. As the oldest, I would take a bullet for my Mother and two brothers. That is part of my definition of love and family. Yet, I am so comfortable in not seeing them or even speaking to them. The love I feel, reciprocated or not, is not conditioned upon how much I necessarily like them.
I am at peace with those decisions, and feel (and hope) that time is on my side to eventually repair those relationships, but if for whatever reason it is not, I am ok with the fact that I have tried. Those unsuccessful efforts have led me to grow and try and be better person in other relationships. Evolving has no timeline or limit, but selfishly I have chosen to not stunt my personal growth with the hindrance that the emotions that family relationships so often bring.
So because I don’t fuck with them doesn’t mean I don’t love them. It’s my way (for the moment) in dealing with them, staying positive and choosing from a distance to think of them simply with the memories that only bring a smile.