i have a large family. well, on both sides it's large but i grew up with my mom's side of the family. my grandmother had eight children. i don't know exactly how many grandchildren she has, but i know austin and bella were her fifth and sixth great-grandchildren. and pretty much all of us have grown up together. for the most part, things have been great having a big family. the downside is mostly due to the fact that everyone knows everyone's business, nothing is sacred and you just can't be alone at all when you're "home".
when i was thirteen, i started realizing that i was different from the family. if i didn't look almost identical to my mother, i would've assumed i was adopted. i didn't think the same way. i didn't believe in the same things. i behaved differently. i questioned everything. i guess you could say i wasn't "drinking the kool-aid". and that made me the black sheep. i was constantly put down and belittled for being the odd one out. one big thing was that i was true to my emotions. i felt them. i lived them. but that wasn't allowed. oh true, people cried and got angry and were happy and what not. yes. but you weren't allowed to have an emotional reaction to something they considered "trivial". for example: my grandmother always cries over the littlest things. i remember she cried when i was cooking her famous macaroni and cheese. i can see why she was crying, but there really wasn't a reason to cry. i'm gracious when she cries. everyone else, puts her down and says she's overdramatic. another example: when i get overwhelmed, i tend to cry. my family has a tendency to jump down your throat for anything they disapprove of. so what did i do? i cried. i'm being overdramatic. you see what i mean?
anyway. i grew up feeling incredibly inadequate. they have a way of subtly making you feel like less than human. the phrase: "who do you think you are?" comes to mind. i was constantly told what i was good at and what i wasn't good at. not constructive criticism, mind you. but- "you're bad at such and such, so you shouldn't do it. but i think you're really good at this so you're gonna do it.". i don't know if that makes sense, but it does in my head. i didn't realize it at the time, but from ages 13-21 i felt like i wasn't worth very much [despite the fact i acted like my poo didn't stink] and i needed to please everyone and everything in order to be worth anything to anyone. it's no secret that i slept around a lot as a young adult. that's because i craved acceptance and i thought that i could get someone to "love me for me" by having sex with someone. i convinced myself that i was in control of the situation, but deep down i knew i wasn't. i also clung super tight to boyfriends and friends. they were the ones that accepted me so i hung on for dear life. and when i was dumped or cheated on or a friendship ended, i entered that downward spiral again.
i don't know what the trigger was, but i suddenly realized that i needed to be happy being me regardless of what everyone else thought. you always hear you can't have true love until you love yourself...and friends, that is true. but i didn't really understand it until it happened to me. and you know what i realized, the people that are most threatened by me are the ones that aren't okay with me thinking on my own and having my own opinions. the friends and boyfriends who don't like me, the family that puts me down and calls me selfish, isn't okay with me putting my own happiness before their own.
tonight i called my sister to celebrate a fitness milestone and i hear unrest and lots of screaming and yelling in the background. to make a long story short, my family is jumping hard on my sister and making her feel inadequate. it's nothing new. there's always drama with these people. but i'm sitting here listening to them put her down, begging her to put me on speaker phone so i can stand up for her, and having the picture come into a more clearer focus. she's currently home on summer vacation and she's all alone out there fighting off the wolves. and my heart shattered when i heard her say how unhappy she is, how alone she feels, and how they basically make her feel like she's worth nothing. it hurts so much because i can't be there to physically stand in her corner and tell them to back off. they are incredibly toxic and they don't even realize it. or maybe they do and they just don't care. i never wanted my sister to feel the way that i did growing up. i wish i could just make all of those feelings of inadequacy go away for her. i wish she knew her worth!
and it brings another picture into focus: how terrified i am of passing that on to my children. if you only knew how scared i am of making them feel the way i felt.... no one should ever feel like they're not worth anything. i'm so terrified that my kids will enter the world in search of something that i should've given them as their parent. i think about it all the time. when austin is crying over something seemingly meaningless, i remind myself that at that moment he is upset about something that is legitimate to him and i should address it. i pray pray pray to God that i don't keep passing the emotional abuse down the line. and i pray that my sister finds the strength to believe in herself and not let these toxic people, blood or not, ruin her.
i ♥ you sissy.