“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe, it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
I can’t believe all of the people who traveled from around the US to surprise me at Disneyland yesterday. I was shocked and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. During my 29th year on this earth I felt alone and broken. My life and family were falling apart and I was empty. When I reached out for help, I felt like no one was there. But, yesterday, there was so much love. I was surrounded by so many friends and family who came to celebrate with us. People took vacation days, traveled hundreds and even thousands of miles, and planned Disneyland vacations to be with us. It’s still taking me time to process all of the support, love, and joy I received yesterday. It was a reminder that I have so many amazing friends who support me, even if I don’t get to see them on a regular basis. And, I now get to join a family who loves and accepts me for who I am. My cup truly runeth over and I no longer feel alone.
I will be saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as I have a voice.
It’s taken me 30 years to get to this point, but I’ve finally let go of many of the toxic relationships I was retaining due to family obligations. I’ve never had that traditional nuclear family. We’ve never been all smiles and sunshine at family gatherings–you always knew that someone would end up screaming, someone (me) would end up crying in the corner, and someone would end up drinking too much and saying something inappropriate or picking a fight. But, they are family and I was always told to stand by your family, no matter what.
For years I kept trying to play nice and mend those family bonds, at the expense of my own physical and psychological health. I continued to try to make them happy and be what they wanted me to be, even when it meant taking the blame and allowing myself to be an emotional “punching bag” for their own issues and grievances. As an empath, I tried to please people, but it left me drained, broken, and in an constant state of anxiety.
When I began my yogic journey, I started to realize how toxic this situation was. I began to recognize the way my life and even my singing voice were in complete shambles due to the control these people had over me. It took me another 6 years of self-study, tears, and pain to summon up the courage to let go of those energy vampires and the power they held over me. Though it meant saying goodbye to the greater part of the family I grew up with, my life is so much better with my smaller more tightly-knit pack of family and friends. We may be a small group at family gatherings, but it is not the quantity but the quality that counts. I’d rather have a group of 5 caring, respectful, individuals surround me than 50 sneering, dominating, emotionally-unbalanced, narcissists (though that may look better for family photos.)
Sometimes the right decision is the one that is the toughest to make. But I am glad that I will be entering into my 30s as a blank slate–someone who is completely in control of her own life, emotions, and choices.
We may be a small family, but we’re a strong family.
As I near my 30’s, I am so grateful that my mother is still such a prominent part of my life. We are best friends, travel buddies, and shopping partners. She’s the first one I turn to when I need help, when I’ve had a bad day, or when I have exciting news. She’s the first one I check in with when I’m bored. She’s the first one I turn to when I need some perspective.
This past summer we had the opportunity to travel together to Hawaii. It was just what we needed to reconnect after a difficult few years and I am so happy that we had this time together. I loved every moment, every hug, every cuddle and special memory we shared.
A few of my friends have lost their moms, are now estranged, or just have bad relationships. It makes me realize how lucky I am to be so connected to this strong, brave woman. She is such an amazing role model and she teaches me everyday what it means to survive, thrive, overcome hardship, and keep a childlike innocence and excitement.
I love every moment we spend together and I am so thankful that my mom will always be there for me, no matter what.