Let me tell you guys a bit of a story here.
When I was a kid, I remember crying in my room because I had to grow up without a close family around me. I had trouble watching children’s shows because they always depicted a mother and a father living in the same house. Grandparent’s day was a huge trigger for me, so much so that I used to have a friend’s grandma adopt me for the day. Say nothing about Father’s Day. I learned to lie and hide things from people by the time I was six or seven. I learned how to figure people out so I could get exactly what I needed from them without having to ask. I gave up ever relying on anyone else.
This once, I was staying with a friend’s family. We had all gone on a trip together or something. I think I was fourteen or fifteen? I didn’t have a lot of money on me, so when we stopped at a restaurant for dinner, I barely ordered anything. At the end of the meal, my friend’s dad turned to me and paid for my meal. I had to fight back my tears because I felt so unaccustomed to being welcomed in to anywhere – especially a family setting.
I got disowned once. Had to take the blame for one of my friend’s actions for whatever reason, and my dad told me he was never going to talk to me again until I took responsibility. Emails were sent to everyone I could think of, and my entire family decided I was being absolutely horrid. I was the victim of so much gossip I legitimately have trouble not eavesdropping on every single conversation that doesn’t include me, just in case someone’s saying something bad about me again. It was always me and my mom pitted against everyone else. I was the problem child, the one who’d be lectured without warning for how self-centered I was, and I can’t even count the times when people told me that they’d pray for me. And I’m not talking about the nice way here. I’m talking about the thing that some people do where they’re judging you but don’t want to come across like they are. I’ll pray for you becomes a synonym to you’re so freaking screwed up and such a mess that you really need all the help you can get to straighten out your life.
I’d get in trouble for not socializing, get in trouble when I seemed too burnt out because of all the socializing, get kicked out of the house when I cried, got chastised for ‘bad manners’ because I slurp my soup, got picked on for having bad skin but equally as made fun of for wearing makeup, got told that my step mom’s abuse wasn’t real but a product of my own attitude, and the list goes on from there.
Needless to say, I’ve never had a good opinion of family. Having big dinners was a punishment, visiting with anyone was absolute hell, and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with anyone. I was so hurt and made ashamed for who I am, that I literally grew up believing that I was the worst kind of garbage having the personality that I did.
I think we can all understand something like that. Being the least favorite sibling, having to watch your dad dedicate himself to a new family more than he ever dedicated himself to you – feeling completely unloved and unwanted by the people who are supposed to accept you unconditionally. Whether your situation is anything like mine of not, we’ve all had to deal with these sorts of feelings at least some point in our lives. It’s just the way it goes, being human.
I used to be so terrified of my family that I’d literally have nightmares and panic attacks thinking about seeing them again. And yet here I am, deciding to live with my grandparents for the next few months. There were times when I couldn’t even speak to my dad because of how hurt I was, and now we talk nearly every day. These people who used to scare me to no end are now the people I find myself joking around with all afternoon.
I’m kind of astounded by it, actually. If you asked me a few weeks ago whether I thought it would ever be possible for me to have a relationships with my grandparents in particular, I would have laughed in your face at the very thought. And yet here we are, living together, joking around, watching stupid TV shows every night, and they’re actually supporting me. The grandma who used to tell me I was too much like my mom and too much of a problem is now saying that she wants me to relax and be myself and be taken care of while I stay with them. The grandpa who used to go off all the time on lectures about how selfish and terrible I was, is now bragging to my dad on the phone about how great I am and how much he loves having me around.
What changed? Honestly, I have no idea. Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was them. A bit of both. But the fact is, is that it did change. Something that was utterly impossible even just a month ago got completely switched around in a matter of days. And you know what? My fears gone. My hurts gone. It doesn’t matter anymore. Because things have been healed and fixed in ways I never thought they could be.
The point is, guys, is that nothing’s impossible. Nothing. No relationship is irreparable, no problem is unsolvable, and all wounds do not have to last forever. I’m not saying that they’ll just disappear one day as if nothing happened at all, or that they’ll even go away at all. Rather, that there’s always hope, even in the things you’ve given up on.
So I guess I just wanted to take a moment to encourage you guys. There is always hope. No matter what. And as much as I used to quote that to myself a million times over as a child, I think I’m finally starting to get what it means.