(Read part 1 of this series, here.)
It’s been almost three weeks since the major discovery happened. Thanks to AncestryDNA, my family found out that we have another member.
I have a half-brother. He’s 40 years old and lives in another state.
As I continue to unpack this, I want to avoid speaking on behalf of the others in my family. We have each been impacted by this in our own unique ways and as individuals, we are choosing the path that works best for each of us.
That being said, as of today, I am the only person in my family that has spoken to him. My hope is that that will change soon. But I have no control over that.
I have often felt different than everyone else in my family. Even as a child, I remember asking myself if I was adopted. I knew I looked like the other members of my family. But, I often felt disconnected and foreign from them.
When I got older and started to question some of the unhealthier dynamics in my family, I took on the role of the “black sheep“.
In the past few years, I felt like things improved – especially since becoming a mom. The birth of my daughter has been amazing for bringing us back together.
But this situation has catapulted me back into that feeling of being “other” from my family. Of not belonging. I can’t believe my perspective on how to approach this situation is so wildly different from everyone else’s. But considering how I’ve felt in my family my entire life, I can’t be surprised.
In part 1, I talked about how we are all told stories about our families and how we got here. I think we also hold a number of expectations as to how our life should go.
We all have these:
Family should look like “this”. Relationships should look like “that”. Health should be like this…My career should be…My friendships should be…My life should be…
We inherit these expectations from society, religion, our parents, and our culture.
If we have gained some self awareness, we may do our best to remove this programming and start choosing our own beliefs.
But these programs are stubborn as fuck.
Even if we think we have transcended those beliefs, a mistake, a sudden change, an event – anything that proves our life is not lining up with those expectations – can trigger deeply buried shame and guilt.
We feel like we’re bad.
We feel like we’re wrong.
We think that will be rejected.
Or will we?
How many of us actually live up to that “perfect” image?
Humans are messy.
The only way to avoid making a mess as a human is to essentially not live a human life at all.
You could lock yourself away, live off the grid, and not interact with anyone else.And maybe then – maybe… you could manage to not mess up. But for the rest of us living, working, befriending, and loving one another:
We’re going to make mistakes.
We’re going to make the wrong decisions.
We’re going to make a mess sometimes.
And what do we do when we make a mess?
Clean it up.
No matter how cautious and prudent you are, making mistakes and making messes is inevitable. It’s just going to happen.
The way we choose to respond to these events is what matters.
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