Blood not Thicker than Friendship


I am very thankful for the Internet. I will never take it for granted. It is a window into the lives of others, and a window for others into my life, and because of this, I am and have always been able (and always hope to be able) to connect with other human beings on a deeper, more personal level than I've found possible to do in real life.

Sunday was Father's Day, and Father's Day is always a reminder that my father never lived up to my expectations of fatherhood. I haven't spoken to my dad in nearly 7 years. For different reasons, I speak less and less with those on my mother's side of the family, people I live in close proximity to.

I cut my father out of my life because of the way he treated me, and I feel as if my mother's family is cutting me out of their lives. It's depressing—I feel like a wall flower, I feel taken for granted and neglected. I have tried to insert myself into their lives, but for many reasons it has not worked. I have an incredible gift of intelligence, passion, and creativity, but as far as my family is concerned, it matters not. They seem to only be able to judge me by my past, searching hard for examples of my present to justify their beliefs. To them, people don't change. (I admit, freely, that I was very annoying, talkative, too passionate for people who simmer on an emotional low.)

I am a Taoist, I temper my expectations as much as I can (and try to temper my mouth), having minimal expectations as often as possible, but where my family is concerned, I have failed. Failed both in not having expectations, and apparently being the person they want me to be. Like them: low key.

I don't do enough gossiping, I'm far too intellectual (this can be a real negative, especially when I'm in a talkative mood or “think” a lot—it's obnoxious, even to me), and quite frankly, we have nothing in common. You've heard it before, children should be seen and not heard. I'm an adult, and the rule still applies.

I have felt depressed about this, hopeless. I feel I can, and should, give up. To stop trudging forward through life with my head up.

Or I can turn to where I'm appreciated, turning to those who want me to speak my mind, to those who enjoy it!

That is on the Internet. Google+ has become a home away from home for me, not in the sense that I spend all my time there (I limit my networking activity to no more than a couple hours a day), but because the people there have become friends, and some have become more than friends—gaining my respect and trust.

I must refrain from expectations here as well, building these relationships to a point others cannot live up to. I must live for myself, and not judge my personal worth by what others say, do, or think (whether it's my family or anyone else). But it's nice to feel loved, even by people who were strangers to me just a few months ago.

I am a black sheep, but I am not alone—and black sheep must flock together (though it's unlikely that we will flock in lockstep; we're black sheep after all!). We have only each other. Our families, sometimes for the same reason, sometimes for different ones, have let us down. We are too different, relative to our blood relations. They have hurt us. They have in some cases abandoned us, or we have abandoned them, or both. But being black sheep, we have something in common with each other that holds us together a little more tightly than the tenuous lines of blood.

Blood may very well be thicker than water, but it can't parch the thirst of the soul.

The internet is incredible because it allows us to come together, those who would not have otherwise known each other due to the great limitations of time and space. In the past, most people have been stuck with those they've grown up with and live with. Times have changed, and there is a great deal of flexibility in human relationship these days.

On Google+ I wrote a short post that summed up my feelings. After I wrote it I was reaffirmed by the incredibly passionate thread, the comments by people I consider friends—my allies in life.

I am not alone. I may not be the right person for those who brought me into this world, but I am not trapped to them. I can grow, I am my own person, and I can find others who are like me, who not only can accept me, but want to. I still love my family, even (if not especially) my father. Yet I understand that some things just aren't meant to be. It's impossible to make others like us and still practice any sort of integrity.

Being rejected by family is not an end. Far from it. It is a beginning. It is an open door into a wider world. Instead of being something that I am burdened with (as I have treated these feelings in the past), this rejection is the push I need to be who I am destined to be.

Myself.

So here's to living comfortably in my own skin (and you in yours), and not resenting those who would have me change for them, and never taking for granted those who like me just the way I am.

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18 Responses to Blood not Thicker than Friendship

  1. You ARE loved J.R.! You’re at home among friends here. I’ll be your soul sister. I know where you’re coming from. I recently went to hell and back, having learned that real writers and artists are a "ragtag tribe of outcasts, moon howling, spiritual homesteaders" who connect best when able to keep a safe distance ;-) I'm in your tribe.

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    1. Thanks so much, Debra! The feeling is definitely mutual :)

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  2. Among the reasons why I started blogging is the feeling that no one seems to understand me. I feel the same way about the internet, JR. It changed my life. And it made me feel that I've got company--the company I would never feel offline. Thank you for sharing your heart out, JR. :-)

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    1. You're welcome, Irene! I bet there are millions out there just like us. Lost, but we're being found all the time ^_^

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  3. Family...sigh I am glad you are living above the mire that can beset a human life starting with those we come from. Long live diversity and the internet where we can share in it gloriously.

    It can take a life time to get over being rejected for just being one's self.

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    1. I don't plan for it to take a lifetime, but I definitely agree with you. So many people suffer what I feel is needlessly :(

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  4. You are amazing, kind and it is their loss if they can't see that. I'm glad to know you, and indeed the internet has blessed me in meeting new friends. I also find some friends to be closer than parts of my family, too. And I definitely understand the black sheep thing. Happened to me to for awhile, though lately my family has kind of reconciled with me. Still, my friends, esp those who are creative, just seem to understand. And I'm glad that we can accept each other and respect each other for our beliefs and opinions. If everyone were the same, the world would be a dull place. Take care!

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    1. I don't believe it would be dull, I think we can find many fascinating things to do that don't revolve around pain ;)

      Take care of yourself, Lena. Your comments are always a joy!

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  5. I admire your courage to be your own person, not many people can do that. I've had my own share of problems with family and I truly understand what you say here. I guess on my part, my online friends have made me feel as real a person as my own family friends; perhaps even more when it comes to my passion for writing.

    You're a wonderful person JR, let no one make you think less.

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    1. Thank you very much, Anne. I don't think I have a choice in the matter. Be myself or go crazy. Of course being myself can drive others crazy, too :D

      I won't let "myself" think less...

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  6. I enjoyed your post, and how true your words are...thanks for sharing from one black sheep to another :)

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    1. Thank you, Amber, and thank you very much for passing the post on :)

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  7. It's a very painful feeling when we think "we're not enough" for our parents, but that doesn't mean they are right. You are perfect

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  8. My feelings are a bit mixed about this because instead of going to the internet to be with friends, I'd keep quiet for a long while when there are some family issues to resolve.

    But it is true that there are REAL friends out there who I respect and love.

    Thanks for sharing this side of you.

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    1. You're welcome, Melissa. I would have no choice though to go online to find my friends. I would have no one to talk to otherwise, lol...sad :P

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  9. Yes. This is one of the reasons my Sister and I do best with several hours of driving seperating us. She cannot see that I am diffent from the teenager she fought with growing up. She cannot see me as a grown up, different then she remembers, after all, why would she realize this, she has not been here to see it.

    People change when you are not around to see the change. They become strangers to you when before they were family. It takes time to cross that bridge again and relearn anew about someone and most people seem unable to do this, or simply unwilling to give up thier mental context of who they think this person is instead of learning who they truely are.

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    1. You've hit the nail on the head, Amelia. In a very profound way.

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