Whenever I see old family photos, particularly ones that I am in, I always have the most uncomfortable array of feelings come over me. My heart beats all irregular and I always feel kind of sad and not just because I am almost always dressed like a lesbian with a mullet but I guess because I know NOW that what I thought was a great childhood experience for me was a very sad time for so many other people in my family. And as an adult woman, wife and mother of 2 I am discovering many things about why I am who I am today and why I react to certain situations the way that I do. And thinking about how it links so tightly to my upbringing, I feel relieved and sad at the same time. Of course none of that will stop me from sharing these photos either, so…
Yes. My pants are too high, my hair is too short on the sides and front and my eyes are closed. But did you see my little sister!?!?!? What a brat!
parents Mom did a fabulous job at raising us in a protected bubble and for that I am truly grateful. Had we known half of the crap that was happening outside that bubble I am positive we would have grown up to be some pretty messed up people. I mean, not to say that I am not a little messed up anyway, but it makes my head spin sometimes to imagine what it would have been like to have known what I know now and then enter puberty and beyond dealing with an undiagnosed mental illness and so on and so forth, oh my god. And speaking of God, there is no doubt in my mind that He heard and answered every single one of my moms prayers that she covered us with while we grew up. She knew what she was dealing with, even if we didn’t and she knew how she should be praying even if we didn’t and God protected my sister and I in ways that just cant be attributed to anything else BUT His.
I didn’t think I would ever have to experience holidays with divorced parents and somehow have to find some way to get the balance right but when you have a parent who reveals their true self at a time when you are old and wise enough to actually see it on your own, it begins to get easier. So many things make sense now that I am older and have an understanding of why I think the way I do about things, situations, people, love, kindness I mean the list of emotional reactions goes on and on. I wont say accepting these realities has been easy and based on my husbands reaction to my telling him about having listened to Danny Triejo tell Howard Stern how “he never remembered a single time his dad ever hugged him or told him he loved him” and how much I related to that experience just broke his heart and my own a little. I don’t bus drive my dad in an effort to put him down I mean, even he is a product of his parents, they of theirs and so on and so on. But I do bring this up because once it became clear to me who I had become as a mother and I had another child at 28 that just so happened to be a boy, I knew that cycle had to be broken and it was going to start with me. Just as the cycle of pre martial pregnancies that the women on my moms side of the family had been plagued with and I was determined to pray it stop with me (and it did), I never want my son to grow up to be a man who is afraid to experience and give love, show emotion and be accepting of those things when they are given to him like I am.
No one should ever feel that loving another person is “stupid” or that being smitten and silly in love is an act of foolishness. That being vulnerable is to be weak and weakness is uncomfortable and being uncomfortable is a reason to not be vulnerable. Admitting that you are wrong, that you are sorry, that you screwed up or that you failed miserably should not be made someone elses problem and they shouldn’t be treated like garbage because you are plagued deep down inside with guilt for the things you refuse to repent about. Hugging and kissing and being affectionate should not be repulsive and it should not be abused. It should not be easier to show affection to everyone other than the one you claim to love and are committed to. It should not be so easy to stray from a commitment, break a covenant and not feel bad about it just because you are so miserable inside and being bad feels good. You do not deserve the worst. You are not a failure no matter how hard you try. The world is not against you and not everyone is waiting on the sidelines for you to fail.
I will not raise my son to feel any of these ways just because I did, (and many I still do) just because I was made to believe such lies. As I over come them throughout the course of my life, I can only hope and pray that it is enough to teach our son things that are healthy, Godly and pure and that he will be able to pass them on to his children, grand children and great grandchildren so that eventually, the links in those disgusting chains will just continue to break off until they aren’t even a memory anymore. These are the things that I think of when I see old photos and as we enter into Good Friday. These are the things that I would like to see die on the cross with the rest of the sin we’ve all endured as a result of them. These are the things that make me believe Jesus did what he did, was who he said he was and loves us the way he said that he does because being able to be free from them, even if one at a time,is only made possible by the God who created the world and everything in it. It would take only an act of God to be able to fix the damage that has been done over the years to any of us and my prayer is that in the course of the years to come, He will continue to reveal his miraculous healing power as each curse is broken for future generations.