Last weekend my family and I spent time at a resort about three hours from home to celebrate the 40th anniversary of my parents. This trip was a mental experiment of sorts.
Typically, the role that I play in my family is the people-pleaser, the planner, the go-getter. This time, I tried to lay back and play the role of the observer. I watched the same dynamics that have lived between us for almost forty years, which have now passed down through the generations, play out in circles. The first circle — the family I was born into — mom, dad, brother, and sister. Then each one of us with our own circles — husbands and wives, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren.
Separate, but still uniquely overlapping like a big confusing Venn diagram.
As I’ve been digging into my own perceived childhood trauma, it’s allowed me to shift my focus and see things that I hadn’t noticed before. Being in a group setting like this was a prime opportunity for some data collection (science!). The same behaviors that I saw when watching our old home videos acted out in front of me once again.
Time keeps moving forward, but it seems we are all strangely victims of the past.
Possibly stemming from my birth, it developed through my childhood, and evolved with every experience I encountered. The pain, the grief, the anxiety, the fear. I want to take the initiative. To get over it. Sounds crass.
I hear the repeated phrases from my family, wrapped around expectations to let it go and instead focus on being grateful for a life that is blessed. It’s hard to ignore. It’s hard to point something out to people who refuse to budge when it comes to their own perspective. It’s hard to validate feelings that have been rejected time and again. It’s hard to speak your truth when it’s shut down before you can form your words.
I hate when they say, “It is what it is.”
As if we should just accept eating shit sandwiches, because at least we’re being fed.
Why am I the only one interested in making things better? Why has everyone else given up trying? The answer they’d give me is that things aren’t so bad. But then why am I still…