I’ve learned a lot over the last few days about vacation, family, and strength. It wasn’t what I thought I was going to be learning, but it’s probably just as important as what I had hoped for.
The easiest of this lot is that it isn’t a vacation if you don’t get a break from the burdens of your daily stressors. That’s just regular life with a geographical change. If the point of a vacation is to relax, recoup, recharge, and enjoy yourself, taking the most stressful aspects of your life with you is not going to be all that helpful. With kindness to myself, that was not a vacation, but it was an adventure, and there’s value somewhere in that.
I know that a lot of us queers have trouble with family and instead, gravitate to chosen family. That’s been the way I’ve done it for most of my life. It’s a challenge for me because of the trick of comparisons. Things just aren’t “that bad” and so many people have it worse, so my stuff probably isn’t that bad. I should be grateful, right? And I am, but at the same time, I think I need to acknowledge the pain that is having family that are simply cordial strangers. I don’t know why I’m not close with them. They’re close with each other, but I’ve always been on the outside. The pain of being a stranger to my family may not be as “bad” as an outwardly hostile family, but it’s a distinct flavor of pain.
We tend to glorify and romanticize strength. Being strong is a high virtue. The trouble I have with it conceptually is the rigidity. If we are strong, we are firm and steadfast. That kind of strength is brittle and somehow aggressive. I’m told all the time that I’m strong and I know I project that feeling, but I’m not sure how. I was told recently by a social worker that I seem like I have my shit together, even while I’m telling her about the reasons we need help. I’m reaching for a different kind of strength. Something malleable, with softer edges. A strength that will weather the storm.
A reminder to myself – Neither growth, nor healing are linear. And that’s okay.
Be kind to yourselves.