Friday, May 21, 2010

Fortune Friday

“You will soon be involved in many gatherings and parties.”

Now THAT's what I call prophetic, although I should've probably gotten this one when I first got involved with AJ six years ago.  This fortune is very timely considering that I just posted on my Facebook wall that I'm looking forward to family gatherings, parties and a movie night with my two sisters-in-law and a good friend.

Trust me when I say that this is something new for me.  It wasn't always like this...me looking forward to family parties or gatherings and going out.  When my husband and I became a couple and all throughout the earlier years in our marriage, attending the numerous clan gatherings was always a point of friction, a battlefield.  I enjoyed them once I got there, but the thought of attending all of them, almost every weekend, was something I had a very hard time accepting.  It wasn't because I did not like the family.  Not at all.  It was more because of two  main factors:  I simply was not used to this routine given that I came from a comparatively smaller family and I felt that the decision to attend was never up to me, thus challenging my sense of autonomy, my boundaries, and ultimately, my sense of self.


It took me quite a while to fully acknowledge all that but with the help of (self) therapy, I did not only achieve the realization but also the key to mitigating my woes.  The bottom line really was that my 'self', my 'ego' (in the psychoanalytic sense) was screaming to be seen and recognized.  With my sudden migration, I lost everything familiar to me and lost all the statuses and roles associated with me for the most part of my life.  From being 'somebody' I became 'nobody'.  And it did not help that nobody in my husband's family really knew me or who I was, am, how my mind works, my character, my world, where I came from.  It's not like our families were long-time friends and shared common histories.  I was an unknown and being suddenly thrust into my husband's world with his strong family ties made me all the more feel like a mere appendage.  


After much painful honesty with myself and with my husband, the healing began.  I had to turn to re-establishing and strengthening my identity.  The key was self-assertion and to this day (and possibly forever), I will be indebted to my one wise friend who pointed that out for me, so gently.  I had to let my self resurface, be fearless in being seen and heard, and accept the consequences whether it be acceptance or rejection from the people around me.  In the process, I did find deeper intimacy with my husband, in the truest sense.  For intimacy is really the ability to be emotionally naked with another person while risking everything that matters to both of you in the process. Amidst this sense of risk though is also a deep sense that in the end, everything will turn out fine.  Whether this emotional transparency is risky to your relationship or not, you know that in the end, you and the other person will be better off than when you first started.


So how did I end up practicing self-assertion and how did that help my situation with feeling like an appendage?  Well, I turned to writing...a lot.  You have no idea how this blog, for instance, has been a lifeline for me.  By writing and letting any reader know my thoughts and feelings, I am able to define my self.  I've also made the conscious effort to be more vocal about my thoughts and preferences, even if it means getting into a nasty argument with my husband.  I practiced saying 'no' when I felt like it.  I made it known that I do have the right to decline when I simply did not feel like showing up to a family gathering and that no justifications are necessary.  It is anybody's right and I had to claim that right for my self.  I had to make it clear that in my marriage, our partnership, I had as much say as my husband does.  It does not matter that I'm new to his world.  It does not matter that he's earning more than I am.  It does not matter that I'm not working outside the home.  All that matters is that we are in a partnership.  


The most important thing is for me to always stay true even if it means hurting AJ's sensibilities.  Taking care of my self, my sanity, my peace of mind, giving my self the oxygen mask first, became of utmost importance.  In all these things, slowly, I've felt less of an appendage.  More and more I felt that my self was re-emerging, with my boundaries getting more defined.


Not too long after, people, even members of AJ's family, started taking notice of my writing, reading them, even appreciating them.  It was not my main objective but it sure accomplished much since it affirmed to me that when I showed up, I was acknowledged.  When I let them see more of me, they knew more of me and that made me feel less invisible, less inconsequential, more empowered.  This also allowed me to open myself more to them and what each of them genuinely had to offer.  I allowed myself to discover who they are as individuals and not just as part of the clan.  It did not take long for me to realize that I had more in common with some of them than I had previously thought.  Surely everyone's not the same and a lot of differences still exist between me and some family members.  But it's just like that in any family, anywhere.  The more important insight is that truly, they are now my family.    


Like I've said, I still say no when I need or want to say no to any family gathering.  But now the fact is that I've come to get excited about certain gatherings and it has become less of a burden or not at all.  It is no longer a battlefield for me and AJ, but an opportunity for love, respect and a lot of give-and-take.  


So, fortune cookie, bring it on!  Let the gatherings and parties begin!        







3 comments:

  1. Sexy--

    I am sure our family is very intimidating, as like you said, there are very strong family ties there and there is just too many of us. However, I am glad that you now consider us your family as well. Well worth the effort, don't you think! Josh should read this, but I think by now, he is used to all of us!

    Much love,
    Ganda

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, that's why I tagged Josh when I posted the note. I think all incoming in-laws should be aware, bwahahaha! Thanks, Ganda!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sexy--

    I am sure our family is very intimidating, as like you said, there are very strong family ties there and there is just too many of us. However, I am glad that you now consider us your family as well. Well worth the effort, don't you think! Josh should read this, but I think by now, he is used to all of us!

    Much love,
    Ganda

    ReplyDelete

Let me know your thoughts!