Yesterday I sat down with my great aunt and she encouraged me to go back to my childhood to understand some occurrences in my family life currently taking place. She first shared her childhood with me and what she understood about my mother's childhood. She then opened the floor for me to share mine and I recalled a lot.
I remembered a loving and caring time when my immediate family lived under the same roof; Mommy, Daddy, two younger sisters and an older brother. My parents separated when I was 11 and then the memories get a little dark. In trying to understand the woman I'm growing into as well as understanding my sister, my auntie felt it necessary to re-live this past. The years that followed included moving several times, changing schools, Mommy dating other men, Daddy not around as often, and the makings of your typical dysfunctional family. I will say that my siblings and I were blessed to have so many "great" aunts and uncles nearby. The expression "It takes a village to raise a child" speaks volumes to our upbringing. My adolescent years is when it gets darker and I began to make my own decisions based unconsciously on my surroundings at home. I became promiscuous and rebelled against my mother so much that I was determined to never be like her and ended up possessing several of her habits. I moved out of my mothers home on and off while I was a teen and stayed with family members, ultimately leaving my younger sisters behind. It wasn't until speaking with Auntie yesterday that I started to wonder how much of our childhood they remember and what did they endure throughout the numerous times I left home? More importantly how has it shaped them as woman today and my brother into a man?
At the end of my sharing moment I admitted that the things I experienced good and bad had a direct impact on who I am today. Some of the bad experiences are re-lived through my own habits and I struggle at times to rid myself of those ways. I don't believe that we have to be products of our environment unless we choose to be. The product of my environment could have easily looked like teenage pregnancy, physically abusive relationships, alcohol and drug abuse, low self-worth, dependency and much more. While I've dabbled in some of that I came through, by the grace of God, a healthy woman with no children. Surely, the good is still present in me, it's the source of my creativity and talent. My siblings and I were always artistically encouraged by our parents and have multiple talents hidden inside of us. My father is one of the most giving and fair people I know and my big heart and reasonable thinking (at times, lol) comes from him. The values that our "greats" taught us stuck with me and although it took me a long time, their encouragement to seek God was the most important lesson that I received.
My trip down memory lane was the appointed time and finally speaking those past hurts to another human being was liberating. It's important to understand your past before you can truly fulfill the purpose of your future. While it may hurt to re-visit dark truths it can only shorten the time that you suffer in it by revealing it and healing.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you." - Maya Angelou