I love my family. It feels like I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately – e.g. this post. My mother, father, brother and I have lived together for most of my life, with the exception of a couple of years when I was at university (-ies; I dropped out, twice).
We all know and understand each other pretty well by now. On the whole. Our personalities, traits and habits. Though we can drive each other mad on occasion (e.g. mum can be quick chatty at times – aka all the time – and inevitably at times when I wanna chill, bless her), I am fortunate (spoiled) in that our house has plenty of spaces to retreat to. Home is my safe space, and these 3 people are the ones I trust more than anyone in the world.
Though we live together, it’s all too easy to get complacent and not really spend quality time with each other (like we did the other night, when we did a cinema trip + meal). As I am getting older, whilst putting myself first and trying to get my own sh*t together, I am gradually beginning to appreciate my family more. After all, I won’t be living with them forever, and I just want to make the most of this time that we have together in our household.
My mother and her side of the family are very family-orientated folks. Whilst I’ve always been pleasant and friendly when we get-together, there are times of late when I feel I haven’t made enough of an effort. Especially whilst I’ve been working on myself and my mental health the last couple of years, it hasn’t always been easy juggling/prioritisation relationships. I mean I struggle with managing friendships/relationships at the best of times (most of the time!).
I have an uncle, my mum’s brother, who is only a couple of years older than I am, and he is very much a busy-body and extrovert-type (like mum); he is very family-orientated, and is always trying to organise activities, general get-togethers and trips away. I’ll be honest, he’s a good guy with his heart in the right place, but we are also very different people. He’s quite blunt and judgemental, as well as money-driven and materially-focused. This is just not me. (If it wasn’t for mum forcing me onto the property-ladders whilst I was earning, and the luxury of living at home, I would not have been able to afford/survive the last 3 years of no income). With the small age-gap between us, and considering that I’m the eldest of the cousins on my mum’s side (the next-oldest is 5 years younger), I reckon we may have had a closer relationship if we were more similar in personality.
That said, now and again, it’s nice to spend time with my uncle and cousins, especially as we are all getting older (seriously, time flies so fast) and are able to have more mature conversations, and connect more “on a level”.
It’s a balancing act between managing my energy and spending time with my family. I’ll be honest, the last couple of years haven’t been easy when it comes to family – especially whilst I’ve been managing my mental health and general life struggles, e.g. dealing with the perceived judgement from family (and the rest) about my work situation; whilst I’ve taken time off and experimented, it’s been tough being asked “what are you doing at the moment?” – and even going into situations/interactions having the fear that this question, or similar ones, will come up!
I feel so judged and unworthy, as if I have no identity. Also, I feel that there’s an undertone of inter-family competition, and I not only feel paranoid about my self-perceiving low-achievements compared to others in the family, but also that I’m letting my parents down, as well as worrying both them and my grandparents immensely. I think I know where my mum gets her anxious ways from, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that her 3 sisters are all panic-pots to varying extents, too. People mean well but, bless them, are anxious to the point that it can be stifling – especially for someone who is very sensitive / soaks up the energy around him.
About an hour ago, my bro and uncle returned from a long weekend away for a stag-do. We’re having a ‘de-brief’ tonight at GBK which should be fun. As I write this, my uncle just sent this message to our little family (uncle/cousins) Whatsapp group – “Basically ___ (my bro) and I have decided – booking a MAD club Saturday in Cannes for ____’s (my cousin’s) 18th. Freshers for his upcoming freshers”.
LOL. Whilst I may have been excited by such fun around 1- years ago, I’m not really sure that’s my scene. Though we’re all going to be away as a family in September anyway (in nearby Nice), so I guess it’s the sort of opportunity we should jump at and won’t get when we’re all older, married and settled with families and such.
They say you only live once, right? (I’m sure someone said YOLO before Drake did…). And, staying close to my family is one of my priorities for the year ahead.
[Edit: shortly after writing this post, I recorded myself reciting one of my poems for the first time 🙈 Here’s the Soundcloud link]
✏ Written: Sunday, 4th March 2018 @ 12.30pm
What about you? 🤷🏽♂️
Are you satisfied with the relationship you have with your family – both immediate and extended? Is ‘family’ a priority for you? As always, I’d love to get your thoughts 💙