I am not alone.
It’s finally taken me almost thirty-one years to realise that.
On Saturday, I spent the day with friends I call family, so I’ll refer to them as family and they reminded me of how loved I am. They reminded me of how needed I am, how wanted, how valued, and how even after so many years of separation there is still a place at the dinner table for me and a place in their hearts for me; that it doesn’t matter that I’ve been away because I can always come back.
For some context here, they’re mutual friends with my mother and sister and I’ve been keeping away from them because I didn’t want to cause any “drama” at family events. Sometimes I also felt like my mum needed them more than I did, therefore I felt like she deserved “custody” over them and so resolved myself to solitude.
How does a family fuck you up that much, that you resolve yourself to constant, self-emotional abuse and torture, over and over and over again?
These people love me and would reach out to me and invite me to gatherings, yet I would turn them down for fear of offending my family by monopolising taking their love.
On Saturday I managed to have a quick 1:1 with my Aunt and one thing she said me really stayed with me:
“and why shouldn’t you be a burden? You’re not well.”
She’s known me since I was 14-years old and has stood by every decision I have made, including the one to discontinue contact with my family. She’s also kept in contact with me and so even though I hadn’t seen her in perhaps two or three years, that didn’t matter.
Another Aunt, who knows my mum and hadn’t known that we had fallen out, advised me to seriously consider reconnecting with my mother because having just recently lost her own mother she knew how painful it was to lose family suddenly without having the chance to reconcile.
However, I saw the way this family have all gathered around each other to support each other, especially when one is struggling. They don’t judge – if they do, they don’t do it openly to the point of making that person feel ashamed of their weakness. They see a member of their family unwell, who needs help and respite and they step in. They also share the load so that not one member is doing everything alone.
On top of everything they’re all going through, they still had room for me. They knew about my suicide attempt and recent struggles, yes we talked about it as much as I needed to but also, the food flowed, the arms were open and they appreciated me just as much as I appreciated them. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t seen them in two or three years. It didn’t matter that I needed to take a nap during the day either – no questions asked, and they came and got me when the cake was ready to be cut (it was a birthday party).
My cheeks hurt so hard by the end of the evening from laughing I didn’t think that I would ever be able to close my mouth again! I was completely exhausted – it was probably my longest day out in a month.
I left feeling immersed in love.
As much of an introvert as I am, you cannot imagine how fantastic a feeling it felt to be surrounded be people who loved me, and I couldn’t wait to get home and live.
On Sunday morning, I woke up after a FULL night’s sleep for the first time in over a month.
I felt refreshed, I felt motivated to live, I felt empowered to live and I felt love.
I looked like this:
Thank you to every body who has stood by me