The Missing Piece
Updated: Jan 13, 2022
It's funny how just the smallest thing can shed some insight into your life that you didn't even know you were looking for. I literally just finished watching "The Tender Bar" on Amazon and had to put my thoughts down.
The movie is about a broken family that no matter what cards they were dealt, and there were some whoppers, they were there for each other in very real ways. What I saw in their family, is what I wish I had growing up, and I think one of the last missing pieces of my life; a family.
Just to be clear I did come from a family or origin, I wasn't hatched into this world. But my family was broken and fractured in such a way that it was every man, women and child for themselves. I don't have to tell you anything about my monster, I mean mother. My father, much as I loved him, had to work long long long hours to keep my mother in the lifestyle she thought she was owed; and when he wasn't working he drank heavily. Hard to say why; was it just in him, or did he drink to be able to handle life with her? I don't think I will ever know.
My older sister and I may have well been born on different planets. We had nothing in common, and could barely tolerate each other's company. She was over dramatic, while I tended to be more closed off; both coping methods for the hell we lived in, but different enough to where we did not speak each other's language.
My brother was very young when I left home. I remember the tremendous guilt I felt in leaving him stuck there, but as my therapist pointed out at the time, he was not mine to fix, and the best I could do was to get better and show him there was a way out.
Flash forward to today. I have found my own value, and love myself. I have cultivated a wonderful group of friends, and have a precious few that I call "family." I invite them to come by whenever they want to. They don't even have to call ahead - they know this is a safe, restorative place for them to be. Several even have keys to let themselves in. I never understood why I needed them to do that - just as much as they may have a need to escape their life for a few hours, but now I get it. I see what I was trying to build, what I am building, is a "family."
Family has keys to the home. Family comes and goes as needed with no strings about how long one needs to stay after sharing a meal. Family is there when the tears need to fall, or to cheer when things go right. Family is there at two in the morning when your world blows up and you need a shoulder.
Without realizing it, what I was wanting, what I was building was my family. Loving yourself is a big step, the first step you need to master in this life. Step two is "Family." If you weren't lucky enough to be born into a good one, you can build your own. My mother used to say to me, "I have to love you because you are my daughter, but I don't have to like you." (Nice sentiment mom.) To me, my "chosen family" are even more special than blood family. They don't have to love or like me, but choose to do so in spite of my crazy, in spite of me, they choose to love me, and I them.
That is what family is to me....people who choose to love you. If you weren't blessed by being born into a real family, go make your own. It was my missing piece.