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5.26.2010

A Stop Sign In My Winter

© Ramon Negron | Dreamstime.com 
This photograph illustrates this post exactly. I have put up a stop sign in the middle of my winter that contrasts greatly against the seemingly neutral snow.
Seemingly neutral. Because the absence of color, like the absence of warmth, is not a passive state. The removal of color and warmth can be a deliberate act. Or a sign of apathy. Both a strong stance, not a weak one.

Back to the stop sign.

I have always been a front door kind of person. Black and white. Literal. Straight to the point. Not one to hem and haw. Even as a child, I didn't understand roundabout talk. I have a low tolerance for superfluous words that don't mean anything or say anything. A serious waste of time and breath. Be clear.

So, come to the front door with me. Don't come around the side and certainly not around the back. Ugh. I remember a motherly-type woman approaching me one day at lunch when I was in Bible School. The Christmas banquet was approaching, and she asked me if I had a date. I didn't. She then told me that a few fellows had expressed an interest in asking me out but were afraid to. Afraid??? So if I did go out with one of them, would they be afraid to talk to me? Get to know me? Would I have to keep the conversation going the entire evening and babysit them, essentially, because they were so afraid of me?Am I any different from any other girl in the school that they should be so afraid of me? WHAT?!?  I told this lady that if these guys were too afraid to talk to me/ask me out themselves, then I wasn't interested.

The stop sign.

I am on the verge of withdrawing my participation with Facebook because I find it disturbing to receive updates on my mother's health via general postings on the site. It would be a kindness to me if this was either communicated to me directly or not at all. The familiar winter of being exiled from the family circle has been a regular occurrence in my life over the last 25 + years. There are two that are deemed acceptable, and I. am. not. According to the family system, (which is not my operating system.) Everyone else has gotten used to it and functions well enough in it.  But I don't. I won't. I don't think it's okay.

There's the one who calls the shots, who withdraws communication/warmth/any type of acknowledgment. Then there's the other parent who decides to go along with it - engaged in warm dialogue one moment, then adopting the perspective of the shot caller. Immediate withdrawal and condemnation. The "good" children benefit with more positive attention and kindness, since it is now split among two versus the three. They may still acknowledge the exiled one but follow the set rules.

I understood the rules of this system when I was a child, even though I didn't agree with it then or now. Enter the Stop Sign. To those within the system that still go along with it for whatever reason: I know it is what you know. It may be comfortable (for you - you've spent a lot less time on the outside, alone.) There's a lot of heat to take for disrupting that system in any way. I get it. But I don't understand how you can go along with it and try to grow in relationship with me. The system demands an allegiance that is contrary to a healthy, thriving relationship. You may be able to maintain a certain peace while in the system, but is it okay if that same system is damaging-condemning-unhealthy-and-unkind?

And when you were the banished one. condemned. barred from entry into the family system, for whatever crime or infraction, real or imagined. I. stood. with. you. I objected to the imbalanced, partial, and unjust sentencing and stood with you. I took an active stance of objecting to the system, as a child and as an adult.

You may not be able to give me that same support, but I do give it to myself now. Hence, the Stop Sign in the midst of my winter.

This isn't my indirect way of trying to let you know where I'm coming from - it's already been communicated directly. This is me processing for myself, acknowledging for myself the changes I've made. I've participated in the system by not protecting myself and not fully embracing the possibilities of winter. Snow angels. Sledding. Too often I sat and waited and hoped longingly to be included into the "warmth" of the system. It wasn't to be for me. And I have discovered that there are for me other sources of that warmth, starting with the Love of the Heavenly Father and His Family. And I guard that warmth in my own heart with the Stop Sign.

I know this processing out loud can be yucky to read. Uncomfortable. Unpleasant. Even Tiresome. Part of putting up the Stop Sign is me speaking out. This is my journey.

1 comment:

Always Nesting said...

You and I truly must have come from the very same place and traveled the same journey. It's like looking into a mirror and seeing myself, my life, my absence of family because I made a choice that MY family would be healthy and happy, not riding on the coattails of anger and abuse. MY family, my way, my choices. My family is healthy. I have no regrets.

I just know we are connected by His grace and wisdom. You know you had to make it better for your kids and your sanity and you have. I'm proud of you. I know how hard it has been.

Big hugs, Marla