One of the best perks of being a newly minted adult is getting to start experiencing your family members as people in their own rights. Becoming friends with my family members is amazing.
In the last year I’ve heard about decades worth of suicide attempts, kidnappings, and near death experiences. It’s like a 10-season telenovela that I conveniently slept through and now I’m catching it in syndication.
Learning about the rest of my family (dead or alive) is amazing and provides such incredible context for the dynamics that I know now.
And given all that,
I remember that when I was looking at colleges I really wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t too close. There was a big, wonderful university right near me and as far as I could see I had a 50/50 chance of getting in if I applied. I hemmed and I hawed for months about whether I wanted to apply.
If I applied and I didn’t get in then it would be a huge hit to my ego.
If I applied and I did get in then I would have to break my own and my family’s hearts by saying out loud that I wanted to go far enough away not to feel guilted into staying at home.
In my memory I struggled with this decision silently for months. I was embarrassed by how selfish the need was. I was needed at home. And I would choose my freedom over the needs of my family.
Last week I got dinner with my aunt and uncle, the tellers of such fantastic tales. My aunt casually mentioned my struggle to choose to get away. Apparently I had solicited her opinion during that time. Apparently I had told her all those concerns and how conflicted I felt. I became a contributing member of our family lore. And she remembered. Because I was important.
It sounds so silly but it felt so good, so validating to be reminded that I mattered, because I was a part of something. And always will be.