Something I have learned over the last decade or so—If you stop initiating the connection in your relationships, very few people (if any) will put in the work to pick up the slack or find out what is wrong.  

It is an efficient, yet shocking way to find out what you mean to people.  There are potentially other reasons they don’t reach out or make efforts, but the bottom line is you are obviously not as important to them as you thought and/or as important to them as they were to you.  However, it isn’t usually that simple.  If it ends there, consider yourself lucky.  Often what happens next is they lash out, blame and accuse you of abandoning them, of being a crappy person, friend, son, daughter or whatever.

I am still unsure if they are that self-absorbed, stupid, entitled, or something I’ve yet to uncover.

Now you have to make some decisions.  Do you want to have a relationship with this person?  In either of the above situations, clearly it isn’t a healthy relationship.  What is it costing you to maintain these relationships?  Your health?  Your self-esteem?  Immense amounts of time?

How do you feel after not putting out all the effort for a while?  How are you feeling not interacting with them?  Are you devastated or relieved?  Has your stress level gone down?  Do you have more time to do what is important to you because you are no longer managing these relationships?

Relationship: the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.  

Relationships by definition require two people.  I would add they also require participation and effort from both people to be a genuine relationship based on respect, love and kindness.

In my own life I have experienced this in several different ways in the past decade with friends, extended family, and most recently with my own parents.  While I find it sad that this is happening and has happened, I also feel that I am enough.  I am worthy of love.  I am worthy of effort.  I am worthy of thoughtfulness and consideration.  I am worthy just as I am.  And if all these people don’t get that, I am better off without them.  

It has taken me a long time to realize my worth.  It has taken me a long time to realize that I am worthy of love whether or not I manage these relationships.  I have been tired for a very long time.  Tired from giving and emptying my well without it being refilled.  I am more than enough just the way I am.

Independent, Free-thinking Children are the BEST

Do you have the kind of relationship with your children where they are allowed to be individuals, think for themselves and form their own opinions – even if, or especially if they differ from yours?  Well, I do.  If you do have this kind of relationship with your children, you might experience more of them wanting to assert their individuality or their own style and many other things. 

This is a good thing!!  They are not sheep!!  You shouldn’t want to be raising sheep.  Sheep don’t function well in the wide, wide world.  Oh yes, it is a challenge, raising these free-thinking individuals.  It is also a challenge to let them express themselves when you constantly run into or are surrounded by the people who prefer you raise sheep.

The beauty of a blog is that I don’t have to be vague.  I am speaking of the people who make fun of or tease your daughter for wearing basketball shorts and t-shirts, because they are “boys clothes.”  Or the people who make fun of your boys for having long hair.  Even now, in 2018.

For the love of all that’s holy, maybe said daughter LIKED basketball shorts or wasn’t ready for her legs and ass to be stared at by creepy men all the time.  And the hair, I don’t even know where to start here.  Maybe you’re jealous.  Demented.  I mean Jesus had long hair.  I just don’t know why you think your #2 shaved head is anything to be superior about.  

The crux of my issue here, is that most of the shit that gets spewed towards people expressing any individuality is from the people closest to them.  The people who are supposed to love your children, who are-in fact- supposed to protect your children in your absence.  These are the critical people.  These people are now the problem.  And the truth is they are sheep, raising sheep. Right?  Because if you are making fun of people constantly in front of your children, are they going to speak up and say “I want long hair.  I want to wear only black this week.  I want my ears pierced. etc”  Actually, no, they aren’t.  So, therefore sheep.  

It’s another in a long line of “shake it off” or “they’re just kidding” when really, Uncle Neal is being an asshole and we should call him out on his judgemental passive-aggressive ass!!

So, stop tolerating this.  Stop making your children endure this.  Stick up for them.  Or at least stop subjecting them to these people very often.  And don’t make excuses for this behavior.  It’s all opinion! These people aren’t right!  Once again I am brought back to the golden rule~ “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” OR “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

I’m super proud I didn’t raise sheep.  They are high-functioning, respectful individuals who all have their own opinions and don’t always agree with me, YAY!  

Be True To YOU

For far too many years I put others before me.  Their feelings, their wishes, what I thought was best for them, what I thought was supposed to be.  It’s all on me.  It’s all technically been my choice.

I have also spent far too many years trying to please everyone.  Is it the same thing?  Not quite, I don’t think.

I spent too much time trying to make things perfect.  Or what I thought was perfect or supposed to be.  I know it wasn’t perfect or what was supposed to be because my children, when they were old enough, stopped me.  It wasn’t perfect for them and they knew it wasn’t perfect for me.

So began my journey towards choosing me!  Doing what was right for me!   And in turn what was best for my family.

What was so confusing was I constantly taught my kids to follow their hearts, be true to themselves, bet strong, fight for what’s right, don’t let people walk all over you, be kind, surround yourself with people who value you.  As they got older, they saw through the people we were investing our time in.  They wondered why we sheltered them from seeing the real people we were spending time with.   When they turned 18, even those people didn’t keep up appearances anymore.

It has been a slow process.  It is still in process.  It started with Christmas.  I love Christmas, actually wish I could celebrate year round!  I always thought that the most important thing was spending time with family on Christmas.  To some degree that is true.  I tried build bonds with extended family.  Made them and their holidays the priority.  It was a sacrifice of not creating our own traditions, in our own home, with our own family.  I still thought it was the right thing to do.  The story could be so lengthy.  OY!  It turned out, the people we were investing in, weren’t truly invested in us.  When I asked to have Christmas at our house, the answer was no.  It took many more years for my kids to finally tell me what they wanted.  They wanted to stay home for Christmas, even if that meant it was just the five of us.  They wanted the magic to last all day.  They wanted to stay in our warm, happy, loving home and celebrate together.  We had all the love!

From there, I got stronger and stronger.  It isn’t my job to make my parents happy.  It isn’t my job to keep in touch with every single person I am related to by blood or marriage.  It isn’t my job to “represent the whole family” in my Christmas card because “I’m so good at sending them out.”  It’s not fecking rocket science!  Buy a card, sign your name, address the envelope, slap on a stamp–BOOM–you’re amazing too!  It’s NOT MY JOB! And it’s not yours either!

Now we have backlash because I was the glue.  I did it all.  People aren’t even sure what or who to be mad at–because why look in the mirror.  We have a whole lotta people who don’t stay in touch now.  They get angry because they know it’s not my job, but they liked it when it was so easy.

Now my little family is growing and we are making our own traditions and sharing with others if they want to participate.  I invite the right people now.  The ones who show up, because they know the gathering is so important to me.

So, be true to YOU!

Stay tuned for Choose You part 2 and probably 3, 4, & 5!! 😉