Sometimes you can't stand them, but for the majority of your life a parent can be the source of joy and strength that you may need to make it through some of the most darkest and difficult times.
But what happens when the relationship you have with them suddenly comes to a halt?
Now before I continue on this piece I want to make it clear, I am in no way, shape or form wanting to vilify my parents. I am simply writing this because I know that some of you out there are dealing with the same topic and I am hoping you can find peace in reading this article.
Back in August, me and my mother stopped talking. For some of you who know me on a personal level, you will know that my mother has been and continues to be everything to me. The reason or relationship came to a standstill was because I recognized that she could not celebrate me or my husband in our full being (my mother is a devoted Jehovah's Witness and does not agree with the LGBTQ "lifestyle". Her words, not mine).
As some of you may or may not know, I also do not have a relationship with my father as well. So when I made the decision to stop speaking to my mother based on the idea that I felt like she was loving me under conditions, I began to feel ( and sometimes I still do) as if I was a child who lost both of his parents without a viable explanation.
For the last few months, I have been telling myself that I can make it in this world without that relationship and today I wanted to share with you some of the things I have learned in the last six months of being "on my own".
It is okay to have you moments. Sunday I attended a wedding and during the reception, the groom danced with his mother to the song by Boyz II Men called, "A Song for Momma". While I wanted to be super emotional in that moment, it was so hard for me because I knew that me and my mother would never be able to share that same moment. This is a reality for me and while it hurts, sometimes you have to take moments to understand the reality of your situation. Sometimes, my moments are extremely emotional. Sometimes, I can move about my day not thinking about it at all. Whatever your moments look like for you, take them. You have every right to do so and whatever they look like, own them.
Realize that family can be optional. I often think people fail to realize how important it is to have chosen family. For a majority of my life, my family has been chosen. Most recently, I have had to reach out to other women who have children to get motherly advice on things related to my relationship, my career and honestly, just being an adult. While it's not ideal, sometimes you have to understand that chosen family might just be healthier for you in moments you need direction/care and often this can truly show you who really cares for you and wants to see you at your best.
Stop comparing yourself to others. The one thing that we do to ourselves that can often cause us so much grief is compare our situation to others. In the last situation I referenced, I simply had to tell myself, "that might not be in the cards for you. And that is OK. Focus on the people/friends/chosen parent who may want to dance with you when you and your partner do decide to get married. Those are the memories that will mean the most."
Like a friend once told me, why let someone live in your head rent free?
Losing a relationship with a parent is tough. Especially when they are all that you may know. But the reality of the matter is understanding that the way you feel about it is all perspective and sometimes relationship may need to be put on hold so either you or your parent can grow, or they may need to end so that you can begin your road to peace with those who want to add to your social capital, not demean it.
Reflecting on this in my own life has honestly been one of the toughest things I have ever had to do, but the reality is that when all is said and done, I know that distance can often make the heart grow fonder and the day my parents decide to reach out, I will be fully open to it as therapy has helped me to better define my boundaries.
Like Tyler Perry once said as Medea, "Relationships are a lot like trees. Find your roots."
Whether they are roots given to you at birth or roots that you have replanted, stand firm in having a say about who gets to take from your Olive branch.