Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sifting Through Life: Because of You

I've decided to start writing the Sifting Through Life pieces again. It has been a few years since my last one. I guess I had some sifting in my own life to do. The last two years have been filled with growth, strength, weakness, and change.  This year I turned 49 and in this new season I find myself in has led me to reevaluate and connect to a version of myself that is authentic and true.

I want real. I want strong. I want truth and honesty. I want to love and be loved. I want you to be the best you, while I am trying to be the best me. No competition, no arguing, no protesting, no guilt, no expectations.

I read something recently that spoke to me. It was written by a woman to her father. She went through the reasons why she is the way she is. Her words hit me. They touched me. They allowed myself to see for the first time why I am the way that I am in a new light.  I am this way because of you.

I am a feminist because you are not. I accept all people because you only saw white.  I am a fighter because you won't stand up for those who can't defend themselves. I stand up for my kids because you don't. I love hard with expectations because you loved freely with no boundaries. I crave control because you brought chaos into our home. I seek education because you are content without it.  I want peace because you want to stir the pot. I look for the good in people because you always tore them down.  I see rainbows and unicorns because you see fear and hate.

Because of you, I am me.

I don't know if I should say thank you or "oh shit".  My awareness of this whole situation sparked a response within me that created a wealth of emotion.  At times I feel happy, angry, relieved, and not surprised. Other times, I loathe all of this and want to erase everything from my memory.

To start over.
A reset.
A redo.
A new beginning.

How do we stop this ride and get off?  Or do we?  Are we imprisoned forever in the turmoil that plays over and over in our minds searching for reasons why we are the way we are, or, do we accept it all and move on?

Accepting it does not make it right or wrong.  This acceptance allows us/me to move forward. I am who I am because of you, but, I am also who I am-- because of me.

My choices over the last almost 50 years have redefined me many times. It is through this sifting of life that I am able to see for myself that the bondage of staying in unsafe spaces keep us victims of the same turmoil that we found ourselves in as kids.  I chose to use my voice to say enough.

I need time away from those that continue to make decisions that don't fall in line with my values. Values are important. Values allow us to connect to other people. When our values don't align then friction presents itself. I'm tired of the friction.  All of this has been a weight on my shoulders.  A huge stone around my neck holding me back out of fear and confrontation. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of being me.

Our family is working on building a community in our new home that allows for diversity, acceptance, love, openness, mindfulness, service, mercy, and honesty.  We've worked hard to get to this point and yet something is always holding me back.  What is it?  It's the weight of conflicting values of who I am today and the values of where I came from as a kid.  I'm not that kid anymore, yet my extended family still holds those values true. Where do I fit in?  I don't. Why can't I accept you? I don't know.  Maybe it's because my childhood still hurts, my faith in you is gone, your actions continue to hurt others.

I don't fit into their world any more than they fit into mine. We are simply too different.

Can we just be okay with it and move on? We are different. We are not going to see eye to eye. It's just as uncomfortable for you as it is for me. Can't we be okay with this?  I need it to be okay. I want it to be okay. Honestly, if we were not family we wouldn't be friends. That's harsh. That's the truth.

I want a release.  I want to be set free. A release from pretending it's all okay, pretending their actions don't hurt me, pretending their political views are okay, pretending their beliefs are mine, pretending I care when at times, I don't. I will no longer stand shoulder to shoulder with those that are idle and complacent.  Change is essential and necessary for our survival. Change is what saves us, prepares us, and allows us to be free.

Because of you, I am here at this place in my life.

Because of you, I am me, and it still hurts.

Because of you, I need to let go and be free.

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