Thursday, March 31, 2016

Extend yourself

We cannot choose who our family is, but that doesn't mean that you should just give up.  Families are the toughest of all relationships and can try your patience at the best of times and down right piss you off at the worst.  Like it or not you are stuck with them.  But just because you are stuck with them doesn't limit your options on what type of relationship you have or how close.  Let's face it families are dysfunctional and often hold you to a different standard than they do other people.  Sometimes, everything runs smoothly and others it can be a total uphill battle all the way.

Often a tragedy can tear a family apart and no matter how hard you try sometimes that hole just can't be mended.  My family was very close up until my grandmother passed away, once that happened the family drifted apart and years went by before lines of communication were once again tried.  Unfortunately, for the most part those attempts failed and my father's side of the family splintered.  A majority of the family remained in Pennsylvania while others moved away.  Facebook has become a way that I can keep track of some of the things that are going on with that side of the family.  Though not every member has an account, nor do they talk to me other than in passing.  I would assume that much of that has to do with my being gay and living so far away from them.

Now, my grandparents on my mother's side of the family have both passed.  My grandmother died first when I had just graduated high school, my grandfather more recently.  However, once my grandfather died my uncle turned very ugly towards my mother and tried to take everything that my grandfather left her.  This caused a huge rift that has never been mended, as a matter of fact my mother and her brother have not spoken since then.  Death can cause all sorts of ill feelings to come out, and there is always someone that feels that they deserve more than they got.  The truth of the matter is they didn't work for it, they didn't earn it, and whatever they got they should cherish, because at least they were thought of and not forgotten.  But, family dynamics are far from predictable.

No one is perfect, and siblings and parent can be harder on you and push you to your absolute limit.  However, as I have learned each of us can have an extended family, people that are like minded and accept you as you are.  Over the years I have cultivated and crafted my own unique group of brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles that are not related by blood, but by mindset and attitude.  These are the true friends that have stood by me through everything that I have been through, helped me pick up the pieces of my life when it has fallen apart.  They are the ones that have encouraged me and given me the moral support I needed when my health turned bad.  The are also the ones that have told me exactly how that felt, they have always been upfront and honest with me, no matter how much it hurt.  These are the friends that you need in your corner.  These are the ones that call you out on your bullshit and foolishness, and the same ones that are your cheering squad when you are on the right track and doing good.

Life doesn't give you any guaranties and you never know what might happen tomorrow.  So many people come through our lives and it is hard to know which ones are just there for a time or there to stay.  Think about it like this people are like dandelions that once their blooms fade away a puffy seed is sprouted that take flight on the breeze,  They drift and float driven by the whims and currents of the wind some of these seeds finally reach fertile ground and they spring roots and there they grow and become a new plant.  As an acquaintances come and go as if they are blown by the wind, but a few of these souls will actually take root and a friendship will grow and eventually bloom.

You would be amazed at how many individuals that I have come across that are only out for themselves and they had me in their sights to use and take advantage of.  I have been fooled on several occasions and have been hurt and abused, but we have to go through the bad to find the good ones.  Believe it or not there are still good people out there in the world, and if you are vigilant you will find them.  Any relationship that is toxic needs to be done away with, whether it is a family relationship or a friendship. If it is hurting you then you need to let it go and move on.

Families can be the most toxic of relationships if you let them.  No matter the circumstance, if they are not building you up and being supportive then I say cut them and let them be.  Find some way in which to have a relationship even if it is through Facebook or email.  Family is family, they are your blood. and they can hurt so much more deeply than anyone else you might come across.

I would leave you with this one piece of advice.  Extend yourself, create your own support structure and network with like minded people that care and nurture you. I think you will find yourself in a much brighter and happier place.  There is nothing wrong with a family of your own creation that supplements the one that you were born with.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B