Monday, March 21, 2011

Family Ties ........Road to loving me

I come from a huge family , both my parents are 1 of 8 or 9 kids, almost all their siblings have children, and the average amount of kids per sibling is 3. My family is "Wu Tang Clan" big which can be a positive or a negative depending on the day. We interact in extremes ; some days we are way too blunt other days we tip toe around each other suppressing important conversations, sometimes we talk but most times we keep things super private, we can be extremely prideful/ ego orientated others times we are really vulnerable. etc. We are walking contradictions individually and within our unit. The reason is because our loved ones disapproval is often the worst kind of hurt. We are also very different- It's hard looking at ones reflection from so many different and sometimes foreign perspectives.

My cousins Pop's 26th birthday is tomorrow and the children of my aunts and uncles chose to celebrate a bit earlier, Thursday of last week early :) It was amazing to see everyone flock from the dirty south and DC come together to celebrate one of our births. I know this may sound crazy but..... the gathering felt predestined. There were several incidents that supports my observation but the most significant was the emotional connections. Everyone walked away with more than R&R. My brother who recently broke up with the love of his life and mother of his child received support from my uncles/ male cousins. I'm a loving older sister but couldn't offer the support or understanding an older familial male can based on experiences. Everyone left NYC feeling something; inspired , re -energized, loved, understood, supported, and altered. I personally had a chance to reconnect with a cousin that I haven't spoke to for a few years and was surprised to meet a different person. He was always cool but this new liberal, free thinking, anti rigid cousin seemed so much lighter and happier. Many concerned & sincere questions, hugs, and conversations made me feel like I wasn't alone. I'm strong and self sufficient but I often feel a bit fearful . As If,I don't have the luxury of making mistakes . If I fall where would I land? I think this weekend showed me how wrong I was - no man is an island. I was able to be vulnerable and felt as if a ton of bricks was lifted from my shoulders.

Some people may walk away from family functions feeling lighter, filled with love, and altered. But,that hasn't been the case at most of our family gatherings there is usually some tension and very shallow breathing. Our family is filled with strong personalities that have historically clashed when thrown together due to, pride, keeping up appearances,etc.. The children in our family were taught " no one needs to know what happens in my home & to have PRIDE ( or put a wall up) " when interacting with one another . We all love each other but aren't touchy feely or overly emotional - everyone is pretty stoic unless were expressing anger. My generation of cousins is breaking that mold because we've learned through our upbringing that isn't the way to go. We need love, compassion, care, and the appreciation of others. If we don't honor our relationships and utilize them fully. The consequences can affect other aspects of our lives. I've racked my brain for years trying to determine why I couldn't let go of relationships that had expired. The truth is I was using my partner/ lover as my only support system. Therefore, I couldn't walk away even if my life depended on it. In this process of dating and loving myself. I'm able to analyze me and work on growing as a person.

I love life because we learn everyday through experiences and can see miracles all around us ...... if we open our eyes. I believe this weekend was a miracle for my family and a step in the right direction. Although, the culture has been to be reserved. We all decided to shatter the mold in order to grow. It's amazing what a group can do collectively without discussing it. We had to experience the opposite in order to evolve into a supportive family until together. It's weird our consciousness was raised simultaneously allowing us to give of ourselves freely. I have to say this weekend was an amazing uplifting experience.

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