When I come home from the airport, there is no one to pick me up.
Of course, I could ask someone, but without parents or siblings, it seems weird. Everyone I know has their own parents, siblings, friends, and I have always kind of straggled somewhere in the middle.
I’m not sure if it’s been my own insecurities and wounds that have kept me from getting close to others or if it’s the family I was born into that makes me feel less family-orientated than most.
Not having parents or siblings is sometimes nice; there is no drama, I won’t have to worry about my aging parents, and I won’t be overcommitted by all of the birthday parties and weddings, but on the flip side, there are no birthday parties or weddings, no one to share my day with, no nieces or nephews, no joyful celebrations, no one who knows me from day one, no one who has my back completely—and in the end, there is just no one.
I was never close with my parents and always thanked God I didn’t have a sibling because my home life was so embarrassing and dark. I never would have wanted to have to try to take care of another person. I was barely surviving on my own. But what about the joy and laughter we could have shared had I had someone in my family who was there for me?
I had cousins, and cousins are great. Sometimes my aunt would take me on trips to babysit my little cousins. I had an older cousin who felt like a fun older sister, but after I would stay over, I had to go home and she got to stay.
I had laughter, safety, and fun with those outings, though, and they showed me what life was like on the outside of the prison I lived in.
I’m now in my mid-40s and I have two great kids and a spouse. I am happy. As happy as anyone else, I suppose. I have my moments, but I have times when I see everyone else with their families and I feel deep grief. I feel deep sadness for my childhood, which was stripped away, and for the way I was raised.
I feel deep sadness for that little girl. Here she is all grown up and she’s strong. Her walls go higher than the Eiffel tower, she struggles to let people in, and she is hypervigilant and can’t let her guard down. She only feels safe when alone, when she’s not constantly watching her back and worrying about what another person will say or do.
I can go out to eat alone and hear others talking and laughing. I eavesdrop to feel a sense of belonging. I picture myself having friends or family and being able to sit and be a part of that crew. How fun they look.
I’m independent. I tell myself I don’t need anyone. My alone time is sacred.
All of that is true, but I still sometimes wish I could call my mom to pick me up from the airport.
Sure, our relationship was strained and I worried about her constantly, but she knew me. She gave birth to me. She had that unconditional love for me that I crave. Because our relationship was strained and I never knew a father while growing up, I feel small and insignificant sometimes in my parenting role.
I have an adult child and can feel small in front of him like I don’t know how to parent an adult because I left home as a teen. I never got that far. I don’t know what this should look like. None of this was modeled for me and I feel lost and afraid. I want to be enough, but here I am, overcompensating again, feeling insecure again. Talking incessantly to fill up awkward spaces, being looked at sometimes like the way I would look at my own mother—like she had no idea what she was talking about and I was the coolest thing in the universe.
How do I get to the root of these hurts so they can be gone once and for all? I have come so far in my healing, but as they say, grief is not linear. It shoots up out of nowhere and the gratitude and thankfulness for what I do have, have taken a backseat to copious amounts of sadness. The things that I miss out on by not being a part of my own extended family sometimes overwhelm the tough, stoic me who is fine on her own.
I tell myself it’s easier not to have to deal with all their drama and shut myself out once again. I don’t feel warm and fuzzy toward my family. I don’t get excited to see people. I lock myself into my own private cocoon.
Awareness is the first step toward liberation, right?
So here I am outing myself.
I will no longer hold myself back from enjoying my life because of the people who raised me. I vow now to get out there and ask people I want to connect with to get together. I want to be the one sitting at the table laughing and telling jokes. I will no longer be held back by the inadequacies of my caregivers. They would want me to live my life and not be held back because they were.
It is my own doing; these feelings of insecurity and lack are my own and I need to heal them. I will release them now. I will no longer carry them around with me. They are stifling me from the beauty that surrounds me.
Here and now, I will reach out to others and even ask for help when I need it. I will continue to heal myself, but part of that is changing my behavior and ideals about myself. No more poor me.
I will live the life I have always dreamed of and be set free from childhood anguish. I can and will heal. This doesn’t have to hold me back any longer.
I am set free.