Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and the aroma of turkey is going to fill homes. I’m more of a ham lover but everyone can agree on macaroni and cheese. We’re also in silent co-sign of not being able to stand one another. For too many of us, our loved ones are emotional vampires drawing blood who swear it’s for our own good.
Family, Don’t they know that they’re toxic?
You can be in you 30’s and still be referred to as a child and told to get out the kitchen because the grown ups are handling dinner. At times, it’s done with a smile to sugar coat the dismissiveness. You’ve got to remind yourself to take a few deep breaths and remember to respect your elders while not giving into the instinct to just let that mouth run. If this isn’t your family, that’s a blessing. You don’t have to put up with people who nitpick your every existence because they assume to know better than your own lived experiences.
To be clear, I love my family. I really do. I’m not sure of the person I’d be without their love and support. I would lay down my life for each and every one of them without a second of hesitation. I’ve also been hurt by them, had my mistakes rubbed in my face and kind gestures used to keep me in line. The love doesn’t always feel unconditional but with strings attached. To quote Facebook, it’s complicated.
I can already feel the judgment expressing my frustration. Some of it is self inflicted because guilt has already been drilled in. You call family out on how they treat you and suddenly, you’re the problem. Those who nitpick every last thing you do are masters at playing the victim and the world merrily goes along.
I got the big chop and decided to wear my natural hair and was told that I looked like a boy; no longer pretty. I was happy that Bill Cosby was convicted and called a traitor to the Black community; when I mentioned my abuse, someone very close to me ran into the living room to yell “Stephanie was raped?! She never said anything!” I had but it was swept under the rug. After putting my business out there, my abuse was never brought up again. In October, I self published my novel Control. Because it’s not a best seller (YET), my years of work was reduced to a waste of time.
I’m not perfect. I’m impatient. Hot headed. Moody. There’s a lot going on with Stephanie, including referring to myself in the third person now. But I’ll be damned if I deserve to be shit on everyday. It’s not making me a better person, only more cranky.
I want to genuinely smile again and not have it be an effort. It sucks that that those closest to me drain me of that joy.
I usually shake off the toxic fumes. The smell got to be too much today. Better to relax, relate and release than instead of the Thanksgiving table.