In this past year, I’ve stretched my mental and physical capabilities far beyond my preconceived limits. The coolest part is I still see a path of growth.
You showed me this song in college. I remember listening to it while I walked from our apartment to campus. Cars would speed by me as I walked down the dirt road. I imagined you singing you were my everlasting light, and I liked the song all the more.
But I lost my light. I had to become my own light… I went back to Rowland for my sister’s birthday. Interacting with my family and being at home reminded me that I’m everything my family doesn’t value. They don’t value emotional labor. They don’t value physical wellness. They don’t value growth. They don’t value my skills and my insight… Immediately, my sister was being rather passive-aggressive, and in a weird way was trying to put me down. She kept saying how I looked like a bad guy and a drug dealer lol? My parents kept laughing and agreeing. She got really angry when I asked her if it were difficult to change our mailing address. Haha I was just trying make conversation! Not going to lie, I was a little bummed because I only expressed excitement and happiness to celebrate her birthday. Despite us moving soon, I noticed my parents placed a bunch of photos of Anne around the house. I smiled to myself, realizing there were none of me.
I smiled because I’ve found people who appreciate me… I couldn’t afford boxing classes this month, but someone from my gym anonymously paid my fee. I was deeply touched. The owner and his wife told me that we’re family, and they’re happy to have me train there. My coach teases me a lot, but it’s different? In fact, people from my gym outright say horrible things to me. Yet I can feel love in their words… whereas my sister’s words felt empty of love, like there was something mean and biting beneath their innocuous appearance.
At work, my boss is encouraging. My coworkers are encouraging of my talents. I think that’s why it was strange when my dad and my boss met. My dad kept repeating my boss’s praises to me. And it felt devoid of meaning like a parrot mouthing words. Why couldn’t he see all of this in me years ago? Instead he acted like I didn’t exist… I’m not saying my parents don’t love me. No I see their love. But at the same time, I know they don’t value me. Even after I brought everyone together. Even after I pushed and guided them to take this path… It was like I didn’t matter anymore when Anne came home. But that’s OK. It’s more obvious than ever. I don’t belong with them…
I don’t want to end this reflection piece on the idea I’m lacking something, that I’m not good enough for someone. I want to focus on what I have, what I have built, found, and developed! I have a place to sleep at, in a city I enjoy. I have a meaningful job in which I can push myself to develop. I get to go boxing every morning and push myself beyond my threshold of pain. I get to study at a prestigious university, something that will launch me into success. I have a car. I have the framework to keep developing and changing… I developed myself to be able to stand up tall and face the pain of living. I don’t know if I love myself, but I’m starting to respect the man I see in the mirror.
I don’t know why I keep thinking about you. Haha it’s silly but… some nights I imagine you saying you’re proud of me, and I get teary-eyed.