“One shot to your heart without breaking your skin[,] no one has the power to hurt you like your kin.” ~ India Aire
Family Operating Procedures is a blog series about my family experiences – perspectives I wish to share about the dynamics among my paternal and maternal relatives overall and between those involving me and specific kinfolk. Why? Discussing my family dynamics and how they have shaped ways I show up in the world – good or bad – can be cathartic, informative, and enlightening to those who read my blogs. This is not to imply the details of my life are earth shattering in what they reveal about familial interactions. I am referencing how my human experience may relate to that of others.
I hope to learn something about myself I never considered hitherto or – even better – learn something new about my select relatives. In learning something new, I hope to strengthen existing bonds with compatible kin. I have no interest in rekindling any sort of relationships that have been strained or otherwise has atrophied over the past twenty years. While blogging about my experiences will aid in my getting over past slights, further solidifying ongoing relationships will better position me to practice wholehearted mindfulness.
My blogs will probably ruffle the feathers of relatives who fall into the non-rekindling category. While my specific intent is neither to embarrass nor demean anyone – I would be dishonest in suggesting the likelihood of hit dogs hollering is little to none. A recent familial spat that played out on Facebook was the equivalent of a person ringing a doorbell that could have been heard by every dog across Georgia – where most of my paternal relatives live – given the fervor of hollering hit dogs that ensued.
I cannot control how my relatives will interpret what I blog in Family Operating Procedures. Quite frankly, most of them may not bother to read any posts within the series or elsewhere on my blog. This is totally fine. No one is obligated to do so. Trying to placate everyone and keep the peace at all costs brought me nothing but grief for more years I care to count. Anxiety. Depression. Frustration. Sleep Deprivation. Poor grades in college. While I was searching high and low for what I could have done to deserve such treatment from family – they were not giving my feelings and well-being a second thought. Some may argue I cannot know that for sure, to which I would respond “knowing without a shadow of doubt is unwarranted.” This is not the United States Judicial Branch.
Another reason I created Family Operating Procedures is to become more comfortable with the discomfort our familial history has bestowed upon me since the 1980s. I use the words discomfort and phrase dark passenger interchangeably – both referencing deafening negative talk I have been trying to tame since the early 1990s. My dark passenger has been riding shotgun in my life, causing me to veer down paths that were probably not the best ones for me to take. While I take full responsibility for poor decisions I made over the years, the lenses through which I viewed my choices were shattered from years of weathering all sorts of familial debris launched at me by the very people who you would think were your allies.
Tangential Note: Now is a good time to assert I am no victim. I can articulate being on the receiving end of wrongdoings without the accountability averters crying he acts like a big-ole victim.
Hushed tones. Sugar-coating. Tolerating family drama queens and pot stirrers. None of these self-defeating so-called strategies of letting go and letting God ever worked. Make no mistake, I am not vying to become the family police, the mayor of Morality-ville, an uppity negro or even sadiddy – a term of considerable firepower only retrieved from the locked arsenal to inflict the most devastating of cultural pain. I wish for Family Operating Procedures to be a learning experience not only with my relatives yet with others who are willing to talk about the dirty laundry of their family interactions. Nary a family lacks drama, if anyone says otherwise they are lying.