Obviously I have something on my mind, but there are times when you just don’t know where to start. When other people tell me this, I always say, “Start in the middle and work your way out.” This must be one of those times for me because I’m really not sure where to begin at all.
I know there are those of you out there who value family deeply. I’m talking about “blood” family, not extended family – although that will probably become part of my discourse at some point. Family is everything to you. You would bend over backwards for them; give them the very shirt off your back. You feel you should be and need to be there for them, no matter what, and hope, expect them to be there for you. That’s cool. It’s just never been my experience so I have always had a very hard time with understanding it.
Don’t get me wrong. I was never an orphan. My family life was just very “different.” It was a strange set of circumstances with parents that were old enough to be my grandparents and four half-sisters and a half-brother who I never lived with and were old enough, for the most part, to be my parents. Then there was a father who worked the graveyard shift that I didn’t see much of. Yes, strange circumstances indeed.
I know there are those who firmly believe they had no choice when it came to the parents they ended up with. I believe otherwise. I believe we choose the parents and place we are born that will best serve the work we want to accomplish in this lifetime. Call me crazy – and plenty have – but I think we have way more input into where we begin our lives than people are willing to believe. That then begs the question, “Why do we chose the family, or lack of, that we chose?”
No matter what your family experience is or was, I think we can all agree that families are made up of individuals. You aren’t just the mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, etc. You are “Mary Smith” or “Jimmy Brown” – an individual with private thoughts, hopes, fears, likes and dislikes. I think that sometimes that gets lost in the midst of being part of a family but it might also help explain why we chose the people we did to call family. Our individuality is often created by the experiences we have through the people we interact with.
For most, that first interaction, during the formative years, is with family. Whether that experience was positive or negative or non-existent, it still represents the building blocks of our personalities, our individuality, and the first steps on the journey in this life to what we hoped to accomplish here and now. It also explains why we should never sit in judgment of another’s situation or experiences. Our journeys are very individualistic and, often, very different.
We’ve entered the Age of Aquarius, a time of both humanitarianism and individuality. It also a time of learning self-love and Universal love. It’s a time of awakening to the fact that you can’t give what you don’t have to give so you must learn to love yourself before you can truly love another person or humanity as a whole. So, when speaking of family life, one needs to remember to be both part of that family but an individual as well.
The individuality that is being emphasized by the Aquarian Age is not something to create a feeling of separateness from everything and everyone else, but rather a chance to take that individuality, what’s unique about you, to the family or any other group you may belong to and make it stronger by what you bring to the group as an individual. Think of it as building a house. Whether of wood or brick, it takes each individual piece of building material, combined together, to make a strong, safe, and secure home for all to live in.
Perhaps that’s why for some of us, extended family is as important, if not more so, than blood family. Extended family is one or more groups of family that we have consciously chosen to be part of and we can see that choice clearly. It’s here that we are more often recognized for our unique ideas, ways of thinking, talents, and knowledge than we may feel we are in our blood families. Even here, though, we need to not lose our individuality in the midst of being part of any group, extended family or otherwise.
My observation of families has been a real mixed-bag. Sometimes there is/was real love and caring, but just as often I have witnessed the lack of love, disrespect, and disregard, even to the point of downright meanness. There’s no guarantee, whether we’re talking blood family or extended family, that you will be loved, appreciated, or respected the way you desire to be. That’s why I have always believed in choice. If we chose a negative environment, what did we hope to learn? What characteristics where we hoping to develop as individuals by experiencing this? When should we choose to remove ourselves from the situation to experience something else?
I’m not going to try to convince you I have the answers to those questions. I don’t. I’ve been working on some of them myself for decades. What I can tell you is that, as I’ve looked back and gotten a different perspective on both kinds of family in my life, I’ve gained wisdom and strength because of the choices I made in both instances. I would not be me without them. I wouldn’t be Samantha Herron, strange, unique individual, who is very grateful for the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly in my interactions with family.