Author’s Note: Let it be known that no matter what (or how many) grievances I may have against my family, I love each and every one of them to bits… more than I could ever express in words. 

Now, you may proceed.

Before I went to bed last night, I sent an email. Something along the lines of an explanation and a possible apology. For someone whose delight is in the fact that she has ‘street credit’ (which can’t even buy anything), I’m becoming big on vulnerability, transparency and communication in every close relationship I am in. At the same time, I am learning to avoid feeling entitled to anyone’s time and/or attention and being quite okay with being a friend than a Close friend. Work in progress.

My biggest challenge so far has been with regards to family. Partly because they are kind of responsible for most of the dents made in my #mentalhealth than any other relationship type in my life. The other part is because they still have the power to cause damage and hurt my progress. Unfortunately, I live with approximately 83% of said family so there isn’t much I can do but grow a tough skin. Which pretty much contradicts the vulnerability I am fighting for.

No matter how many times I feel like just walling myself in and throwing away any hope of a better future, I just… know better. I know that no proper foundation can be built on lies and under false pretences (Wait. Aren’t pretences… false? What am I saying?!) But yeah, transparency is important. Whenever I feel like I’ve refuelled my emotional tank, I spend long hours with my housemates, and the extended squad too. I try to interact with them with consideration, whether or not this same consideration is reciprocated.

The truth is, I understood from an early age that I’d probably never be fully understood by family. We may share genes, but somehow, I am constantly being misunderstood and chastised for it. It’s crazy. I spent almost all my life believing in lies about myself that I’d been told by people who didn’t understand me. Now, though I know they are/were lies, it is taking a [very] hot minute to undo the damage and ‘unbelieve’ them.

Though it seems like such a major task, I also believe that God placed me in this particular family and allowed me to go through everything I went through for a reason. I have learned so much and grown so much (positively, of course) as a result of these things. My faith was literally born during my ‘adversities’. I also believe that I wouldn’t be as [dare I say] considerate as I believe I am if I didn’t go through what I went through or get offended as often as I did.

Everything happens for a reason. As time goes on, I hope I find the strength to address it all. I hope that I neither sugar-coat it nor try to exaggerate my experiences. A part of me believes that it wasn’t that bad. That I was just too young or too sensitive or too self-centred to see the truth. Due to this, I find it difficult talking about how I felt/feel about it all. The last thing I want to hear is that I was the one who lied to myself.

That… would suck. But I’m healing. And one day, I’ll be healthy enough to hear whether or not I was the cause of my undoing.

Today, however, is obviously not that day. Today, I want to tell you:

Breathe. It gets better.

It may not look like it now. I probably sound cliché. But, just know that every [uncomfortable] experience is an opportunity for growth and a lesson.

Breathe.

Dr Nyameba 💜

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