The Allison


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The family that preys

I recently had a horrible experience with members within the family. Instinctively I was not a fan of these family members but trying to extend grace and an olive branch for the purpose of inclusion, I went against my gut for the umpteenth time, and I once again learned the hard way that when your gut says "ALERT!" listen to it. There were signs the entire time that they couldn't be trusted. Times when the gossip disguised as a little "tea" was actually acid. I saw it. I knew it. I felt it. I remember seeing a few of them whisper when I entered the room.  False smiles and fake love. But, despite all that, in the interest of cooperation and in the spirit of family togetherness, I went against my instincts and so when they turned on me, the incredulity, the anger, the pain of it was somehow surprising. What made me think for one second that I was exempt? What made me think that these questionable people would respect me, care for me or treat me the way I treated them?

Because I am a people pleaser. Admittedly and to some extent ashamed to admit it, it's true. It was ingrained in me from childhood because the only attention I got came from people who would go on to demonstrate the truth for which I still struggle...that some people regardless of how much I try and how badly I want them to, some people just don't like me. 

I get it. I'm not for everyone and I've been reminded by therapists and those who truly know and love me, that I have a special aura or light that people are drawn to and yet they will also use me for their own ends, and I shouldn't have any expectation that I will be treated as I treat others and it's foolish to think so. These were people for which I spent special occasions. Designed their home, celebrated, supported and embraced moments of meaning to them. So, when I was literally blindsided by the vulgarity of betrayal for the love and care I gave, I gave into my most basic indulgence. Anger. I went off! At first, no big deal, until it was, and the pain caused to me was ignored and amplified by bad behavior on the other side. It made angry and wanting to isolate. Never trusting again. I asked the Universe, what in the? Is there something I need to know here? I don't understand why this keeps happening. And the Universe said clearly, you keep doing the hard work and yet you are not learning the most basic lesson. Detach from an outcome and just do what you do. 

I realized something else. It doesn't matter if it's a family member close to you or estranged, there is nothing like the pain of a family member who wants to cause you pain and see you suffer. There is nothing like people who smile in your face with affection laced words only for you to turn your back and have them trade your trust, telling things told in confidence or shared moments to crumble into a mass of deception and pain. I spoke with my best friend, and she said, you had a bad day, but you are exceptional, and you don't retreat, you shine brighter." She reminded me of the passage in my book that says, "everything that happens to you is about you." And finally, she reminded me of the loss they will have and not to focus on the temporary loss I feel, rather remind myself of Who I Am. 

I shall and I will, not just in general, but also for the family that preys.

Forget the new. Fix the old

Pandemic. Politics. Parents and Professions. Friendships. Love. Intimacy and everything that makes us human has been changed and challenged by current world events.  Now, everything we thought we knew, everything we've done for reasons we thought we understood have become vague, creating a deep sense of loss and confusion around things we once thought familiar. 

New taglines have emerged like being "woke" or a "patriot" or the "big resignation" have taken hold. All these things still come down to one main force...change.  Did any of us really think for one second as small as we are in this vast Universe, (not solely the Earth, but the Universe) was simply going to stay stagnant because we were slow to change? And with these "new" world views, isn't it still some type of iteration of other periods in time where we needed to reckon with and reconcile who we are, what we want, what our values are, who we want in our space?

The difference now is we were forced into a corner where complacency felt more akin to the hand of death because we were stuck in places and spaces with people who shone a light on the delicacy of human nature. It revealed what unhappiness, abuse and stagnation looks like in the light of day. And it ain't been pretty folks.  So, how do we move forward past the requisite new year's promises and old plans from January and into everyday improvement?

First, we start by taking an honest inventory of who we are. Typically, people look around themselves at other people and situations instead of how they found themselves in the dilemma. Trust me, you'll get more out of self-inventory than any amount of "them" that you can shake a stick at. 

Secondly, we should assess what we can control right now (which is typically only ourselves) and how willing we are to make changes and only start with one thing at a time. Trying to change the way you do things, how you think react or behave is heavy lifting. Choose one and choose wisely.

Devote yourself to authenticity. Who has time to walk around pretending they are okay when they are not? This is why so many people are depressed and overwhelmed. Faking a smile, being around people you dislike, staying in a job with no advancement or joy, not being true to yourself is not self-care it's self-neglect. 

Finally, give some thought about your passion. I do silly things sometimes. I'll swing on a swing. Sing out loud or dance in the streets. Sometimes I walk in the rain or stick my tongue out or make funny faces at a baby while in line. Steal your joy where you can. Small ways of taking back your joy can spur your passion and remind you of what you really want in your life. 

Forget the "new" old ways. Fix the old ways with something new.