It always amazes me, the thing we do in the name of love. This emotion is blamed for a myriad of sins, and at some stage, we all suffer the price of loving someone. I don't understand families much either. Isn't love supposed to be unconditional? Why do I have to always conform to what you think I should be for you to love me?
I was thinking about this after spending an afternoon IM-ing my cousin. She's at lot younger than me, we did not grow up together, nor were we particularly close. I was married and out of the house before she was even in High School and yet, we are so alike and our experiences so similar that I know we are truly related. She is one of my biggest supporters and I'm part of her cheering crowd, funny really, I am the oldest of the bunch and she, the youngest. Who would have thunk it?
We are both free spirits who have always danced to the beat of our own drums, we question, we are not accepting of the boxes that we are put into and we struggle each day for our place in the sun. Our family mean well, yes they do love us, but we are so far from what they consider we should be that we are always on the receiving end of a stream of criticism. I try my best to offer support to her, wishing that I'd had the same when I was her age. Maybe I would not have self destructed and had to re-build myself over and over again. But in a way I'm lucky too, I got away.
Angry African wrote a lovely piece about his relationship with his mother and the subsequent guilt over her demise. I wanted to say to him, at least you were sure that she loved you. Despite the disfunctionality in your family, you still had that, it's really precious. Families think it is okay to question your life choices, make remarks about your weight, imply that you are not too bright, make fun of you or whatever. They say, we will accept you if you give up your man because he does not look like us; or your job is wrong because you don't have a big title and make lots of money; you're dumb, why can't you do anything right; you're so fat, where are you going with all that weight every time they see you, despite that your mother, grandmother and every other woman over thirty-five in your family are shaped the same way.
We say these and other like things to people we love, because we love them right. It's okay because we are FAMILY. My best friend is gay, when he is around his family he is so far in the closet that he's almost part of the woodwork. They still act as though I'm the girlfriend to make themselves feel better. Why should it matter who he loves as long as he is healthy and happy? Would they love him any less if he had been born autistic or had down's syndrome? This is your child, your flesh and blood that we're talking about.
I ask myself why we cannot live and let live? Why we find it so hard to just accept people the way they are? I've found my own middle ground thank goodness and I'm leaving the door open for my cousin too, just in case.