When a friend took me to see “The Wild Center” in Tupper Lake, New York, last weekend, a giant spider web captured my imagination. It reminded me of something I learned while writing my book; that while the family we grow up in is our first mirror it is not usually an accurate reflection. We spend our lives untangling the stories that live inside us.
I had not realized how hard I’ve been trying to be seen accurately by my family until this past week. I wrote one of my siblings and shared some realizations about why it matters so much to me now to feel connected with them. Their response was to recognize some things about me that made me feel seen at the deepest level. After wiping my eyes, I realized that they were tears of relief.
I suspect that many of us work hard to be recognized in one of two ways: Either we don’t know who we are, so we work hard to have our family and others see us as we wish we were, or we know we have something good to offer and struggle to have our family see our true selves.
I fall into the latter category. Until I read my sister’s email, I didn’t know how much effort I had been putting into showing up as I really am, hoping my family would recognize me. The effect was like a landslide rolling off my shoulders.
The next time you take a breath, notice if you are holding onto a story that no longer feels true to you. If so, let it go, again and again, until you are free. If you have a sibling or parent whose story about you is tangled in their own, climb around on the ropes that bind you long enough to know which ones are yours, and which you can untangle, and slide right through to your core. Welcome home.
What story do you need to let go of?
How would your life be different if your family saw you as you really are?