I would like to talk about healing in respect to healing within your family. I thought to myself, should I use my own personal experience again ? Or should I use the experiences of others through an interview style conversation. I think that what triggered me to question what to do was from my last post, wherein a few words I mentioned the absence of my father and the way it affected me. You must understand this, I do not have a relationship with him. He texted me after I posted the blog on my Instagram (interestingly enough) and said that he was upset that I denounced him, and in short- called me a liar and said our lack of a relationship was my fault. He said and I quote ” You didn’t have to put that out in public though”, and I responded ” I think it is really sad that you are more upset that I wrote about your absence on a public forum, than you are about actually being absent“.
It was a disappointing conversation, and I think apart of me wanted there to be some miracle within it, where there was an apology or a breakthrough, but there wasn’t. The hardest thing for me was accepting that, and coming to terms with not having that relationship. I was opened to the idea of restarting a new relationship with him, even at 23, but he was very manipulative and antagonistic. Sometimes no matter how clear you are in communication, and no matter how mature you are, and how opened you are to understanding other people- sometimes they are not good for your space. Before I could allow him to be even more manipulative and deflective, I just blocked him. Simple, blocked. You have to know when to pull the plug. You have to know when someone has crossed a line. If people do not know your boundaries, they will cross them undoubtedly.
When women are mature, and ‘wise beyond their years’, there is this kind of “WOW” factor that comes along with it, and people think it’s great. But I feel so sorry for all of the people, especially black women who were forced into maturation because of compromising childhoods. I want to end this idea that being mature at a young age is a brilliant thing; I think women who have found themselves needing to grow up faster in order to survive, wish they would have had the normal teenage experience. I spoke to a few people via email with interview style questions regarding absent parents, and I’ve included their experiences within my writing.
Parental Substance Abuse
Two men that I spoke with had parents who were addicted to drugs. I thought this was significantly relevant to include in my writing because of the opioid crisis in the U.S. One of them described their parents as emotionally abusive which fueled a toxic relationship. If I could offer any healing here it would be this: Parents are people. People who are addicted to drugs/and or alcohol are sick, and should be treated as such. Imagine this: instead of your mother being addicted to heroin, that instead she has cancer. Your view of her immediately changes because instead of resentment, you feel sympathy and compassion. Once I shifted my perception of someone being an alcoholic, to them suffering from alcoholism, I felt an immediate peace come over me. “Everything that we experience from another human being is either love, or a call for love.” Which is to say, we need to give those people love- the ones who are suffering, the ones who treated us harshly, the ones who are unapologetic.
My mother did everything that she could and I don’t know how she did it to be honest, but the absence of my father played a much bigger role than I really thought. I spoke to a few people via email with interview style questions regarding absent parents. I asked if & what effects did their absence have on their relationships. Women without fathers in their lives described how they felt scared of being alone, scared of feeling ‘abandoned’, and felt like they overcompensated in their relationships. There needs to be a deep emotional catharsis (expressing and releasing your deepest emotions, whether positive or negative ) that I feel is essential to real healing. For example, everyone has their “story”. Your story is not the one that says “he wasn’t there for me, he left me, he didn’t show up for my games”, the real story is the one that is deeper, that is in the pit of your stomach which is ” I wish I had a father to fill the emptiness I feel”, “the absence of my mother made me feel worthless”, “I want to mend our relationship”. That is the difference between emotional reflecting and analytical rationalization. You have to dig deeper past the ego, to get to the vulnerability which will heal you. For the women who are ‘strong’ who have had absent fathers, they’ll easily say “I don’t care”, or “It didn’t really affect me”. You need to vent, you need to let out all of those emotions. You have to grieve. At some point you will need to confront your wounds in order to heal, and at some point you will have to stop picking at them.
Acknowledgement is your first steps towards healing. Acknowledge the relationships you’ve accepted because of you felt unworthy. Acknowledge the terrible decisions you’ve made because of your pain. Acknowledge that you’ve done drugs to fill a void, and drank heavily to numb the pain. Acknowledge the abuse that you have done to yourself- and *now* acknowledge that you have a choice.
Forgiveness is what liberates us from our hurt. Don Miguel Ruiz says ” Forgive those no matter what they’ve done to you, because you don’t want to hurt yourself every time you remember what they did. When you can touch a wound and it no longer hurts, than you know you have truly forgiven.” Forgiving is an act of self-love. You have to love yourself enough to let go of the trauma, to let go of the pain, because it is not helping you or serving you any good.
“let it go so that you may be free to feel something else”