I have lived with volatile relationships all my life. My mom and dad fought, the neighbors had shouting matches from time to time, I was not allowed to know my mother’s family because of their past arguments, and by the time I was in school I was not allowed to know or communicate with my father’s family either.
What I didn’t realize was it created in me the art of building boxes. It is sort of like when you don’t want your food items to touch each other on your plate. I learned that if I kept all of my relationships and happenings contained, there was less conflict in my life. I have family (they have lots of sub-boxes), friends, coworkers, and acquaintances that I interact with, but do not necessarily interact with each other.
I also put things that happen to me in boxes. Loss of a job, loss of a friend, a divorce, any major life changing event was either cheered or mourned and then put in the box so it couldn’t affect or hurt me anymore. Sometimes looking back at other parts of my life didn’t even feel like memories at all. It was more like those bad things had happened to someone else. It sort of became my way of coping with everything.
When my mom died in 1999, it was sudden. We found her passed away in her home. She had fallen asleep and didn’t wake up. Since I’d never been around most of her family, I didn’t concern myself with the interactions of the people at her memorial. I just sort of waded through my own feelings and let it go at that.
But when my dad died in 2005, that was a whole ‘nother can of worms. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer in May. From May to October when he passed away had been stressful because I loved my dad and knew he wasn’t going to get better. And all of the digging up of past arguments and resentment in the family. It was a horrible five months.
I knew more of Dad’s family and there was the whole step-mom thing. She had married my dad after a long affair which had resulted in the end of their marriages. There was so much resentment around that, you could almost cut it with a knife. My sisters were estranged from each other, and my dad and step-siblings. After all, this is a funeral in the South, bloodshed is not out of the question. I didn’t really get a chance to mourn for him because I felt I needed to be the referee to keep everyone civil until the ceremony was over.
But above all, everyone I knew was getting all mixed up together. All of the lines that had been so carefully drawn were fading. Someone asked me how I was doing. I said, “Horrible! Everyone is out of their boxes. They all need to get back in their boxes!”
I didn’t notice it happening again until I got on Facebook in 2009 for my 30th high school reunion. All of the notifications came through Facebook. I joined, starting having friends, and some family linked in. For awhile it was ok, but then people started requesting to be friended that I didn’t particularity want to friend. But I felt like I had to because there was no politically correct way of saying, “I don’t want you in my business.” I was friended to some of my coworkers but not all of them. As my friend/unfriend list grew, I became less and less able to make personal posts because of the people who forced their way onto my friends list. Everyone gets so petty, dramatic, and downright evil sometimes, and I just don’t need to be dragged into all that drama. Now I share faith, comedy, and other posts and videos that come through my newsfeed, maybe give an update on my husband’s health issues, but I do not get deeply personal there anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I did become friends again with a few people who have changed my life for the better. But for the most part, it is a jumbled mess I can’t manage.
But blogging is different. I can pull something out of the box such as a memory and share it without having to be politically correct about every single detail. I can tell my story the way I feel it without being scrutinized over every word by “friends” or “family.” Sometimes some strong emotions leak out of the box too, but on a day-to-day basis, I can handle it. In fact, it is a healing experience even though it has caused me several sleepless nights.
I am sharing my memories and my heart with other people who are sharing their memories and speaking from their hearts. I have shared to people all over the world who are interested in positive things, expanding their creative interests, sharing their art or writing, sharing the beauty of where they live and how they live. It is a wonderful feeling of being connected to the world every single day. It is teaching me to stop worrying about boundaries because here we are all together in one giant room that doesn’t need a referee. I LOVE IT!
There are negatives in the world; I understand that. After all, I am not an ostrich with its head in the sand. But even when talking about negative feelings, or negative things happening in the world, the bloggers I have encountered handle themselves with grace and insight. I’m so happy to become a part of this connected world. I’m having trouble dealing with some of the things that have gotten out of their boxes since I started blogging. But for the most part, it has been an exhilarating experience to explore my feelings as well as read and share feelings with people all over the world.
Thanks for letting me in. I hope through these messages from the heart, I find real peace and hope with real people worldwide.