Monday, May 23, 2016

a family member I dislike

There is no family member I dislike. There are family members with whom I disagree on major issues such as politics, religion, and social privilege. And there are a few family members who (I think) dislike me, or simply don’t understand me. And more with whom I have very little in common. But I can think of no one I dislike.
So, where do I go from here? The whole premise of this prompt is to motivate me to give rich detail about why I don't like a specific family member, or to describe a series of precipitating events that led to a Hatfield/McCoy situation. So what does one do in the absence of familial hostility?
Ah, this, from Gloria Steinem: “Happy or unhappy, families are all mysterious. We have only to imagine how differently we would be described – and will be, after our deaths – by each of the family members who believe they know us.”
I believe that only a handful (or two) of people really know me. And most of them are not family. I created a family of friends who know me and love me. So perhaps the same is true for everyone else in my family. I think I know them, but I don’t.
And the family members I think don’t like me? If I'm right, I think it’s because they don’t know me at all. They’ve inherited a dislike from other family members who think they know me, but don’t.
But being liked isn’t critically important to me. Being honest and authentic, and having the courage to speak my truth is important to me. Sometimes there's a heavy price for that.
I do wish I could spend more time with family, especially those I don’t know well. Maybe in retirement! And who knows? Maybe time will yield deeper relationships than I currently think are possible. Wouldn't that be sweet?

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