Saturday, September 09, 2006

Family Ties

Back from Minneapolis. Back from Cleveland. Back from a collision course of emotions. His family, my family. Today my husband gave me the morning to do my thing. Great Guy. I give my thanks. Mainly because we both need the precious time…it's so precious without "work." (ie. find work, work at what we do, look for paying work, work our minds, work our creativity, make it work…)

But we are thankful to be alive. To be passionate. To NOT be passive, in a rut, hating life, working for "The Man," drinking heavily just to make it tolerable, as if that were all there is. To not speak your mind, to always stuff it down, to "accept" your lot in life without question and not push up against it and go for something more is to go numb, bit by precious bit. Eventually you move so far away from your own unique spirit, your personal zeal and vigor, your life purpose, the present…you become a walking shell of a man.

I'll take our chaotic, stress-filled, freelance life any day over that one! At least we're alive. At least we're creating. Not afraid of the unknown, the blank page, the empty track, the next challenge. We stare down our bills every month and somehow manage, by the grace of God and without staff, to manage our careers and our family, and put the roof over our head. It IS a blessing, I know, but it is also a choice. Our choice. I am thankful for that.

The free exchange of ideas, whether for a song, an article, a book, a business idea, a screenplay, a special project, dish or clothing line… is fresh. It is created from nothing. It IS what is happening. It IS what is made, created. This is why we left the midwest. This is why we moved to LA, and before that NY. To be surrounded by doers, creators. To be in the thick of it. Others can scurry around from afar and try to analyze or postulate what is being created, copy and dissect it, label it. Follow it perhaps. Reject it perhaps. Turn it into a trend. Judge it. Put it down. That is their priviledge and their world.

At least I own my truth. I own my creations. I own my mind. I own my life.

Today I went out for a local neighborhood run. My body, still recovering from the slam-bam of 2 back-to-back family trips, felt swollen and less sharp. Body in fog. Wrapped in haze. Fat, bloated, puffed out from so many family toxins. I come home like the Pillsbury doughboy, all soft and squishy. Proofing in the oven of life.

Still, there is a lot to reflect on….

Who am I? What is family? What does family mean to me? Or to you? How do our differing "agendas" or sense of responsibility, obligation, duty line up, or not? What is so difficult about spending time with people so set in their ways? So self-involved? Controlling, even? How far out of my own comfort zone can I stray? Where is the boundary of how much of myself I can drop in order to please another, but without feeling my needs aren't being valued? Amidst the pull of so many people's needs, what exactly are my needs?

When do I speak my mind and when do I bite my tongue? Why is talking about the truth so hard for some people? Why is the truth so hard to hear? Why do I have such a need to know, more than others do? Why do some people live entirely in the past, and others reject it completely and refuse to talk about it, or explain their part in it as it pertains to the family? Why are certain questions so blatantly disregarded?

Why is it so appealing for some to eat and drink their way into oblivion, as if gathering is one big drinkfest to survive, not really a chance to bond or communicate? (I'll admit it, I'm the first person to enjoy a delicious cocktail or glass of wine now and then, but not to the point of oblivion, numbness, checking out, and not as a day and night routine when not working.)

Why is it so hard to just be who you are now, within the context of old, worn out family roles?

So much is not said. So much is said that means nothing…to anyone. Just time filling. Wallpaper. What's the point? Check in then check out?

It is sad to me…to not be fully awake, aware, present. Do some people not even see this? Are their tongues tied in knots? Is it best to leave well enough alone? What is "well enough?"

To quote my daughter, "you can't grow down, you just grow up."

I hope I never stop growing.

My goal upon my return, and the return of school "coverage," is to return to work. To be fully present. To write my thoughts, as they are. To go forth bravely, and continue to both unveil and be who I am. I realize this may make some people uncomfortable. I realize this may shake old secrets to the core. Covers may crack. Relationships may be tenuous and uneasy. So be it.

I refuse to walk through my life numb, drunk, furious, yet covered over, or worse, lost in the past. I want to be present, living out loud, writing my way out of the past while building a bridge to the future.

Amen to that.


Lee Wolfe Blum said...

Wait...are you writing about MY life? I resonate so well with this. You are the BRAVE one that pays attention to the tornado that is called "family dynamics" The fact that you are able to verbalize it is so helpful to me! (and my guess is so many others!)
So many stuff it all away and then like Walter the farting dog...eventually explode! Instead, you face it, feel it, live it, mourn it, and that is admirable!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Amen to that, indeed!

Michelle O'Neil said...

Great post. Is there anyone out there who gets together with family and comes out rejuvenated?
Refreshed? More?

Anyone? Anyone?

Is this an unending story or will we be able to stop the maddnes with our generation by facing our own truths?

And so we write....

Suzy said...

Not only do you ask the tough questions, but you seem to have and live the tough answers.
Absolutely love this line, "To be surrounded by doers, creators. To be in the thick of it." It is an honor to be linked to you- the "doer and creator".
Great post.

Jerri said...

Beautiful, beautiful post.

"You can't grow down." Your daughter preparing to follow to your footsteps?

We can only hope.