Unfiltered Belonging

October 19th, 2016

It’s 4am, and while this hour is considered to be magical by many poets, I would have sincerely preferred a longer night’s sleep. But in this hour, I sense a deeper clarity to why I so deeply fancy this feeling of “love.”.

If you belong to my mother’s side of the family, you regard the way I, quote “turned out” as nothing short of a miracle. While my mother would describe her fault, as my grandfather did, as “spoiling,” anyone on the outside would consider my mother’s style of parenting to be considerably reckless. Though I deeply cherish the current relationship I have with my mom and the healing we’ve experienced in the near decade of living apart, there’s no denying the emotional abuse of our early years together.

Details sparred, the essential elements of my childhood can be summarized by overexposure to the lives of free-spirited parents, filled with heartache and regret, displacing hurts into addiction and escapism. In my short life, I’ve come to understand that regardless of how troubled my parents behaved, while certainly damaging to my psyche, in no way negated the love they had for me or the efforts they made to find healing.

Fortunately, my struggles in life are much different. While I never got into drugs, seem to be free of psychoses, and never came to develop a palate for alcohol, it appears my greatest battle rests on defining a healthy sense of belonging and love.

Interesting enough, what seems to be thriving most in this season of life are friendships, career, creativity, and self awareness. While sneaky skeletons seem to arise every now and again, I’m learning to process each as they come, much like the one I’m tending to this morning.

Thinking back on the ghosts-romance-past, there’s a pretty clear pattern of co-dependancy; each boyfriend cast into the leading role of what ever I felt was “missing” in life. If I needed to escape from monotony,  I expected the boy to deliver the fun. If I needed someone to obsess over me, I sought the hopeless romantic to bring on the gushy-mush. But before the slew of two-week-trial boy toys, there was a guy who loved me in a time that I couldn’t have needed love more. We’ll call him J.

When I was fifteen, my mother and I had our final fall out. She was having a mid-life crisis and I was desperate for anything self-destructive. After trying to take my own life, our season of living together became unbearable for my mother to handle much longer. My suicide attempt was the last straw for her. So I went away to live with family friends while my father prepared for me. That’s when I met J.

We were magnetic; simply drawn to one another for what the other needed. Of course, we had a blast together and loved all the same things. Though I wouldn’t consider him my first love, he was certainly my first boyfriend; kind, chivalrous, exciting, and handsome. At 15 and 17, it’s hard to call this anything more than hormones, but for what it was, it kept me from despair.

His love for me provided hope for a brighter future. After having been rejected from my mother and my family (they decided against “helping my mother raise me,” in their words), and the feeling of belonging to another saved me from total darkness. And perhaps that is the feeling, the one that kept me alive in the midst of hopelessness, is the one I feel missing in my marriage. While my current reality is hardly hopeless, the monotany of daily routine and lack of passion reflects the hopelessness I felt in that time; a possible future filled with further rejection.

There’s enough scientific evidence to tell us that feeling those kinds of emotions in a state of such extreme vulnerability can dramatically impact one’s ideology of human connectedness. This realization is most certainly not the entire issue behind my marriage battle, but I think it’s helpful to recognize.

As the sun begins to rise, I’m determined appreciate the newness of this day, to hold gratitude toward myself for having come this far, and to delight in being a person who is capable of healing from the past instead of repeating it.

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