Diary of a Black Sheep 2

Today’s post is something a lot more personal than I normally have done, but I thought that this was important. I hope it helps someone and I think it will help me by putting it out there.

 I’m debating whether or not to write these in a mini-series or to just tell the story…it all depends on how I feel when I’m writing and whether or not I’m ready to share. I feel that over the last 5 years I’ve really done some growing and some learning and I think it’s about time I share some of that knowledge.

I’ve been in college awhile and I’m set to graduate this semester and so I’ve been reflecting on this journey as I’m looking toward my future and a brand new start I’ve been working my ass off to have.

  The summer before I started school my parents divorced and it was really, really messy. Unnecessarily so. I won’t go into all the details of it because I really want to focus on the impact on the kids of these parents. I ended up separating from my dad for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he told me to go. Later on I realized that I don’t want a relationship with him and thus I ended up losing that side of my family and later still and a lot more recently I’ve decided to separate from my other side of the family as well.

 Now I’m sure whoever is reading this is wondering what all happened and how can it be that it’s everyone else and not me; the numbers are certainly in their favor. For a long time I actually would have agreed with you. I really did think it was me. And I had a lot of guilt and fear of doing something really wrong and really hurtful to a lot of people. It’s taken a lot of introspection, a lot of counselling, and a new found love of change to realize I really did make the best decision for me. This is how I know:

  For one, there was this sense of over-whelming freedom. I felt for the first time I really could do whatever I wanted and it was ok. I mean even things like travelling which my family before was really against, or getting an ear piercing or wanting to move away or even study science. All these things that I really wanted I couldn’t say I wanted out loud. I didn’t realize it then, but I realize it now, anyone that makes you walk such a fine line that you can’t even express yourself/ your desires is only giving you conditional love and in the end, it simply isn’t enough. You will always feel imperfect, you will always feel wrong, and it will twist your mind until you think that this is what you deserve and the only thing you will ever have. I still have some of these hang ups, I still feel like I’m not going to find someone that treats me really well. My first course of action though was to make room. I walked away from overpowering relationships and the ones that made me feel so inadequate. For those I didn’t altogether end, I built some walls and created some distance. This on paper seems really simple, but it hurts and it really stings in the moment. If it’s something you ever go through you are going to feel so vulnerable and broken and on the edge. However, it does really get better and it will in the right time. I did this and then looked at any friendships that I had that I could “grow.” What relationships did I have that were with healthy, positive people, that really cared about me? I looked and I found one, one really solid friend. It was enough of a start. I made a point of communicating more with this person and really letting them know what I wanted and you know, they wanted something similar and we started working on our relationship and it has been one of the most precious and important events in my life, really. Later on, I met someone else and they also are looking for relationships like I am, and we also forged a relationship and I feel like I have the healthiest most accepting and rewarding relationships I have ever had. We respect each other, we aren’t afraid to disagree, and we are not afraid to share our experiences or what we a really feeling. This will happen for you to, but you have to be really honest with yourself and these people. These are not easy people to find, but they are there. Be careful who you choose and take it slow, these relationships have a natural way of happening and progressing and they are the most rewarding you will have.

For two, I’ve learned a whole hell of a lot about manipulation and it’s scary how many manipulators I had in my life at one point. This is something therapy and my friends have really helped me with. Growing up I was manipulated with guilt and fear; if I said the wrong thing or someone had a bad day it would mean part of the house being destroyed, something broken, a wall needing to be patched, etc. If I said no to something or I did something they disagreed with I would be commenting an act of betrayal or the biggest offense for even the smallest of things. When my parents divorced there was a lot of lying, gas lighting and guilt. And then even later I had someone who was supposed to be a mentor start grooming me by guilt, through my education and job, and later absolute fear. Fortunately I got out of these relationships, but they still affect me today. My greatest fear and part of what got me into counselling was that I would never have healthy relationships and I wouldn’t be able to ever trust anyone again. I slowly realizing that this isn’t true, but in order to come to healthy place you have to leave these situations completely. You don’t just walk away, you purge. A complete separation and when you’re ready, you face them and deal with them so you really can start anew. I’m in the second to last phase and I’m looking forward to moving on now. I’m confident in my decisions and I’m working on my confidence in myself.

 For three, I understand that I have a lot of value as a person. My family has done some undeniably shitty things. I deserve the biggest apology they could ever give and I deserve respect. I haven’t received either of these, really ever and so I moved on. I’m not someone you can walk over or spit on and it be ok. The price of this is me and I’m simply not going to accept being treated this way. The beauty of adulthood is that now I get to choose. We are all adults at some point and we have the responsibility to be loving and respectful to those in our lives, we also have the responsibility to trim dead vines and take out the trash. Having dead things in our lives only takes up space for things that could really thrive in their place. To use a cheesy metaphor, let’s use a river. All pollution does is make weeds grow until the point the water can’t even run it just stagnates and becomes something terrible as well. I’m actually watching this happen with my siblings now and it is so sad. I’ve heard them say how unhappy they were in the same relationships and yet now? They are perpetuating more of the same and it is such a waste. Maybe if they had gotten out things could be different, but what you surround yourself will influence you and the people you choose are so, so important.

  I think I have ranted enough for one post, but I hope reading this has helped you in some way, it has helped me to share. Until next time!

Fun Finds #1: Letter Writers Alliance

I used to love writing letters and notes to my friends (Nerd level +500 points and I said it on the Internet +50). Passing notes was my favorite part of middle school/beginning of high school. I even convinced my friends to pass around a notebook that we would write to each other in (Very much inspired by Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and in college I would write to one of my friends until we started taking classes together. I really started missing it a few months ago and so I took to the Internet (like any other millennial).

And then I found it…Letter Writers Alliance (https://www.letterwriters.org/), they were mentioned in several articles that listed letter-writing clubs. Unfortunately, many of these articles were years old, the links didn’t work, some of the clubs are disbanded, but I went down the lists until I found these guys. Lifetime membership with them is $5.00 (6 with tax) and then they join you to other letter-writing-loving peeps with other similar interests.

How it works is that after you sign up you get assigned to someone that you write to first and someone is also assigned to write to you first. LWA does their best to match you with people of a similar age/interests and you can sign up for as many as you want.

So far I have four, 3 national and 1 international. Everyone I have met so far has been really cool and I’m really excited to get to know them more.

Before signing up with them I did go ahead and open a PO Box….I’m paranoid…sorry. Which I actually find kind of fun (nerd level +5000 points) because I wait until the end of my work day and I look forward to it…leave it to me to make going to the post office feel like a special occasion!

I’m really thankful to the founders of LWA, they obviously work hard for a minimum fee and they gave me a way to continue doing something I love while meeting some cool peeps! Check it out 🙂

Happy Writing

 

Nerd Level By End of this Post : 5550 points 😉

 

Book Review #1 The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka

I remember my first introduction to Kafka, I was a senior in high school and had to read Metamorphosis which was weird, uncomfortable, and really dark. More than anything though, it was unique and utterly unforgettable.

During an adventure I took to Charleston, South Carolina (more on that later), I picked up his Complete Stories at the College of Charleston’s Barnes and Noble.

After one month, I finally finished it and my first thought was: “My head hurts.” I was spinning. His stories had a similar quality to James Joyce’s Dubliners (another must read in my opinion) in that they are all fast paced and some just seem to have abrupt endings with no real sense of closure. Kafka, however is able to make you feel the anxiety and racing thoughts he must have had. His stories have moments where they are really incoherent, ideas seem to run across the page, some lead to another, some don’t seem to lead to anything. Why read it then? Because he is able to let you into his mind and see his reality. Sure it isn’t probably isn’t yours and it isn’t mine, but he is able to show you around his world and make you feel what he felt and in this sense, I think he is a very gifted writer.

Would I suggest this as a casual tea-sipping Saturday read? Absolutely not. Nor do I think it is a good introductory piece into literature (maybe The Metamorphosis, A Country Doctor, and Investigations of a Dog are the exceptions). However, I would suggest it to the intermediate-advanced nerd (nerd is a loving term here). Especially if you like psychology (you can psychoanalyze Kafka for DAYS) and if you already have some experience reading drier material…Like Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Plato’s Republic.

 

Happy Reading!