A phone call last week created an opportunity. In my last post I explained a little about my family. Yet all relationships between people, I believe, are organic and can change, because we grow, change, experience and re-form. We experience loss, pain, grief, happiness, love, lust, anger, rage… [and more]. And these can create the condition for change to happen.
So the chance to try and work things out between my mother/sisters and myself arose and was discussed. Ever since I’ve been thinking and thinking. I like my life even while I’m in the midst of change with preparing for the last geographical move coming up soon. (A year after divorce I moved, and then 3 more times after that over last 20 years.) And I especially like the creation of me as I am now; as person, mother, friend, etc. As a daughter and sister it has been difficult to impossible. I’ve been judged and found wanting because of my choices. I’ve been treated like a second-tier relative instead of a member of the core group.
Two years ago I came to a grave decision. After all the years of criticism of everything from my art to my parenting, to my dating [and having sex while a single parent], even to marital decisions made with my husband … I wanted to stop hoping. Hoping led to disappointment of hopes never coming to fruition. I gave up all communication with my mother/sisters. And still in the deep of night I would construct a letter, or come across the “perfect” phrase in a book I was reading- so that finally, finally I could get through to them. Yet I set it aside in the light of day– understanding it was more of the same hoping/disappointment hamster wheel that I’d chosen to stop running.
Everyone deserves a second chance, in my opinion, and maybe even a 26th chance? That’s the current dilemma. Do I go along with this new prospect. What if I’m the only one who truly is open to change? And really, why should I change when I’ve been the subject of their mistreatment for years and years.
A few weeks back I happened on a book; When All you’ve Wanted isn’t Enough, by Harold Kushner. Having read a few of his books, and enjoyed them, I looked forward to this one. He writes;
“Sometimes in life we have to become less to be more. We become whole people, not on the basis of what we accumulate, but by getting rid of everything that is not really us, everything false and inauthentic. Sometimes to become whole, we have to give up the Dream. The Dream is the vision we had when we were young… that we would be somebody truly special…We will never be happy until we stop measuring our real-life achievements against that dream. We will never be comfortable with who we are until we realize that who we are is special enough… Being truly human is a much more impressive accomplishment.”
“I have no fear of death because I feel that I have lived. I have loved and I have been loved. I have been challenged in my personal and professional life and have managed, if not with a perfect score, at least a passing grade and perhaps a little bit better… I can look forward to the last act of my life, however long or short it may be, in the knowledge that I have finally figured out who I am and how to handle life.”
For now I may have a score less than perfect in regard to my family of origin, but I’m content with me. I was unable to be the water coursing over the rocks, smoothing and changing the rocks’ surfaces over time. But I am the water flowing – seeking my path – traveling past plants reaching their faces to the sky, trees swaying to the rhythm of life – loving my course, the expected and unexpected – the purpose and the surprises. For now I’m okay just the way I am.
** I only included 2 pictures this time; one are the remnants of last summer’s Sunflowers, dried and weaving in the snowfall, which I named; The Three Widows. The other is the inside of a card with the sewing which keeps elements of the collage in place forming it’s own pattern on the painted paper. Beauty can be unexpected.