Lands we have known

What really matters in life is what’s invisible.

This morning I was contemplating why it is we invest heavily into some relationships effortlessly and why with others it may be difficult. I also thought about whether a relationship is being formed to meet needs which have previously been neglected.

I feel that for myself when I engage in a relationship with someone, my partner, my friends, and family even, a core value I seek is consistency. I’m unsure of how people feel about me, I get anxious about how I am perceived, intimidated by the potential of hurting others or being hurt myself and I doubt myself with almost everything quite often. So when I find reliable and consistent connections I eventually find that I have developed a healthy level of trust without trying too hard.

Ironically, I’m actually not always very consistent myself but I am in that with most people when we see each other after long absences, it’s as though no time has passed at all. My good friends and I allow space for growth and development free of judgement, where conversations are exploration and discovery rather than broken records of doubt, judgement and negative expectation which I have experienced in other relationships.

The second and third values would be honesty and emotional availability. No matter how you swing it I tend to prefer a tactful truth over any kind of deception. The trust developed in consistent relationships helps me to be receptive to the opinions of those close to me. What I mean by this is that I only feel comfortable with criticism when it is constructive and comes from a place of sincerity. Constructive criticism from my trusted few can trigger rapid personal growth.

When a person disagrees with me or has a harsh or strongly different opinion from me, I much more prefer to hear them and even if initially I’m imploded by the intensity of my thoughts and feelings, it feels like a need to talk to the point of peaceful acceptance rather than permanent severance. Uncertainty makes me unstable and I recently decided that where I can’t find certainty the relationships need to be put on hold while I rebuild myself and engage with counselling and therapy.

I like to feel at home with my friends.

I realised I don’t remember the last time I was at HOME with my family. Home to me is feeling secure. It’s an abstract feeling made possible by the collaboration of hearts present in one space. Home is where we go to when we feel lost.

In previous posts I have made no attempt to hide my uncertainty of self. I went on to consider the last time I truly felt at home by a state of consistency rather than fleeting moments.

There was a period of time in my life where my family lived in the country side. I was about six or seven when we moved there and I was already old enough to feel notable sadness at change and moving. I remember the drive to my new home late at night (or it was dark at least) and watching the street lights pass contemplating that I would never see my friends in the city again. Little did I know I was about to have the best years of my home life.

While we lived in this new house we developed a healthy family for a time. Although mom had to travel further for work and couldn’t be with us as much as she has since wished, our time together was wonderful. We would bake, do gardening, read, play at the park, have bbq in the summer, movie nights in winter. Mom even taught us how to meditate before sleep. We went on some holidays that were incredible and helped us to grow and see the world. We were taught a lot at home and mom seemed to enjoy teaching and exposing us to new things.

Eventually it came to a drawn out close. We moved back to Birmingham and the relationship between my mom and then step dad came to an end. My brother and I had grown up some and didn’t need so much direct application type teaching anymore.

A personal belief of mine is that when this family separated (for fair and just reasons perhaps) we all lost a security we were not really going to find again. At the same time the needs of the individuals changed and we were not well equipped for coming together as things moved forward and our teenage years challenged the already unstable family.

The years following held family moments with extended family and not just my own but the families of my moms partners too. We were not deprived of positive interaction but the undercurrent was quick and would pull us under. It felt as though none of what we knew was secure. It was all dependent on the success of new relationships. We never found a new family or proper family home after that – just glimpses at potential happiness with new people which we clung to when times were rough and dynamics were forced to change again.

I wonder had I been younger or older would I have been less affected? Were I older would I have already known who I was and been ok had the years around the occurrence been less formative?

The significance exists not in what we gained or lost physically but in the invisible moments. The feelings of being safe, the feeling of being loved, of being worthy of attention and positive expectation.

I’m fortunate to have friends who ground and level me. I’m fortunate to have many positive experiences to remember among some other more harsh realities. I’m fortunate to have had such a beautiful collection of moments in those years to draw on when I feel doubt for my mothers love.

The lands we have known, the experiences we have had, are ultimately measured by how they move us and make us feel.

Home is not about what means we have to give to others, it’s about giving our hearts to others that we all may thrive and be happier and do well.

With love to your families and to my own,

Unchained Inside

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