The bustling US economy, the culture of nuclear family, the tradition of emotionally stable men in this country have all culminated in a sudden bombardment with my past(and my sarcasm)…in reliving it, with the addition of my two offspring in tow.
I am back “home”. Living with my mom in the town I was born in and I am forced to address the same old issues I left in the dust of my college rebellion.
Truly, I don’t know how to address these issues, but I know what they led to when I didn’t address them in the past. I’ve now started my own family, established my own culture and traditions and dreamed my own dreams of what I want and expect from life. My family doesn’t seem to know that, however.
It is my fault of course. I felt stifled by my family and left home without telling anyone…I guess you could say I ran away, but I was 21 years old. I changed a lot about myself, things that I wanted to change before but felt powerless to actually achieve. I learned tons of things I’d never thought about(most of which this blog focuses on) and I disconnected myself or distanced myself from my past. I’d always felt very pressured to be a certain way in my family and I felt like it was easier to just deny my personal desires than to face the fire of resistance to my goals and plans.
I started changing some things about myself in college. Internally I’d been very protective of “me” and keeping my uniqueness intact, but externally I hid behind normalcy. Then I started dressing the way I’d always wanted to, stopped straightening my hair(with more resistance than I expected) and changing my diet to vegetarian, then vegan fare. I also started hanging out with people more compatible to me and stopped hanging out with those I was “supposed to” hang out with. When I eventually left, it really allowed me to spread my wings and stop feeling the pressure to please my family, but I should have known that changing myself would not change my relationships.
It has been 7 or 8 years since I’ve been my “normal self” but a few weeks ago my mom suggested I go back to college(I tried not to be shocked or offended by this). My education and experience means nothing to her and I doubt that she even knows what I’ve studied. She also obviously knows nothing about my learning style and how I feel about unschooling. She insulted my natural hair and in fact all natural hair in women of African heritage, she’s constantly attacking the quantity of food I and my daughters eat and I have been immobilized in my shock at these reactions. Too confused to think of an appropriate response. This is our tradition going back to my teenage years, if not earlier.
I know that my family has taken the traditional path, while I have gone off on some strange, unforeseeable tangents they don’t understand. I’m not surprised there is concern about what I’m doing, why I’m here and what my plans are. I am surprised, however at the negativity and fear-conditioning.
Without a college education you can’t get by in the world. This is what is taught in most schools in this country and what is perpetuated by the mainstream media. I’m actually very excited and pleased with my personal education and most of it came after I quit college. I’ve done many different types of formal training courses, as well as researching a lot myself and I’ve volunteered and worked in many different capacities. I have a wealth of experience and a true confidence, love and clarity about what I want to do and how to succeed at it. Unfortunately, I still have this people pleasing gene and I crave approval. I want someone to say to me that they believe in me, and I don’t want just lip-service.
Anyway, being home is tough. I became fiercely independent after leaving and very opinionated and exact about certain preferences that I feel are important to my mental health and sense of fulfillment in life. I know that I need to be here right now and I’m trying to find every fraction of hope, opportunity and healing I can touch, mold and polish the cracks in my past with. When I leave here I want to have made a difference in my own life. I want to have finally learned my lesson on how to communicate with my family and remain boldly, positively me…I want to have closer relationships based on respect and genuine interest and connectedness to each others journeys. I want to understand and manifest an idea of home that lasts, that nourishes me and that enables me to always be responsible, prepared and complete in myself, no matter where I am.
Sometimes I want to bolt. I want to run away again. I want to cry and say I can’t do this…I want to find somewhere to be where I don’t have to depend on anyone, or ask for help or check in with anyone. But if I do that eventually, I’ll have to come back to this same place of adolescent pain. There are many reasons for an adult to go back to their parents home. It will likely be difficult to adjust to the change, but I think that if your journey leads you there you should gratefully accept your mission and go boldly where you haven’t gone before. It may be a small corner or a basement or an attic of unresolved issues, it may be a mantle or altar or garden of opportunity, it may be both… go boldly back home and make it work for you…the future of your family deserves the transformation that comes when old wounds are redressed and foundations are rebuilt.
Have you gone back home or do you have children or other family returning home? How are you adjusting and what would you like to address during the time of transition? Do you have any advice for others returning to or welcoming home adult children?
- Bringing it all home: trials of aging and degenerating (organichannah.wordpress.com)
- Beginner Wednesday – Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair (africanhairblog.com)
- Emotional Rituals (mightyinspiration.wordpress.com)