Honestly, I was a little nervous about this weekend. I don't see my dad's side of the family often, and when I do, I usually end up angry at all of them by the time I leave wherever we're at. A long time ago, I realized that we were the outsiders. See, my dad has two siblings. An older sister and a younger brother. For years growing up, his sister and brother were kind of a family unit without us. It just got worse as I got older.
I always wanted their love and attention. As a child, I didn't really see it. I didn't see the neglect that I would later feel. I cannot tell you how much of the time in therapy I have had over the years has been spent talking about them. There is so much anger there.
And for a while, I had decided that I would just hate them secretly and not care. I had convinced myself that I didn't care. But I do care. It took me a while to realize it, but no matter how much time goes by, or how much I try to convince myself that I don't care, I do. The little girl who longed for their love and attention is still alive and well, stuck inside crying out for them.
Despite this, I always get nervous about seeing them. Because usually after seeing them, I am beyond angry. Any feelings of forgiveness that I have worked out usually dissipate after seeing them.
This weekend, however, was different. Maybe it was the ambiance of the event.. I don't know. All I know is that for the first time in a long time, I felt love for these people when I was with them. Not all of them, mind you. My uncle and his family are still quite a sore spot, but my aunt and her family... it was so wonderful.
The wedding was great, absolutely beautiful and I hope mine someday is similar to it. Then the day after we had the post-wedding/holiday picnic. Also really nice! Before I left the picnic that night my aunt told me not to be a stranger. She said that she would love to see me more...
I don't know if that's ever happened.
I really feel completely blessed. I am in shock, really, of both how well it went and my emotions surrounding it. But overall, I feel completely blessed. I remember in the middle of dancing at the reception with my family and looking around at my extended family everywhere I thanked God for this joy.
Honestly, I never thought I would get that feeling with them. When I'm with either my mom's side of the family or Emmaus people (who really are a whole other family to me) I get this feeling of love.. joy.. completeness. And never in my life did I ever feel that with anyone from my dad's side.
But this weekend, I did. And I cannot thank the Lord enough for the joy that has brought me. I hope I can continue to make progress of my forgiveness.. I think I need to go back to therapy.
See, I stopped going to therapy when I started dating Tim. My counselor said she had never seen me so happy.. and that she would keep my slot open for me but that she thought I was in a good place to stop coming in. At the time, I agreed. But when I look back on it, that was the stupidest thing I think we could have done. She should have explored with me why being with Tim made me so incredibly happy all of the sudden.. while the answer seems obvious, I'm sure there is more there that is worth investigating.
So in short, I think in the fall I will go back to the counseling center. If they won't set me up with a regular counselor, I'm going to be asked to be referred out. I had hesitated from this in the past mainly because transportation to somewhere off campus would have been a pain in the ass, but now that I have a parking spot next to my dorm it shouldn't be a problem.
I really just want to feel comfortable in my own skin. Comfortable not just when I'm alone, but with other people. Confident in who I am as a person.. not feeling as though I have to hide varying aspects of myself in order to gain approval. How I have not found even where to start in all the time I've been going to therapy? I'll never know.
I will give my past counselors major props in one regard though. They have helped me sift through a lot of shit and understand a lot of my feelings regarding certain situations that I would have otherwise might not ever discovered.. like my issues with my sister and brother-in-law.. issues with theatre, anxiety, my family, etc.
In any case, I got off on a tangent. So in other words, this weekend was a blessing. And it has really made me realize that I should get back into therapy. I think that knowing that progress with my dad's side is possible will be instrumental in the healing process and finally create a basis for forgiveness and reconciliation.
Left to right: Brian (cousin), Tracy (aunt), Uncle Barry, Aunt Kate, Steve (uncle), Kelly (bride and cousin), Adam (groom), Sarah (cousin), Dad, Mom, Me, Bridget (sister), Kevin (brother-in-law), Monica (sister)