breaking up with family

June 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

I have been dealing with chronic pain in my hip, back and shoulders. Yesterday I finally went to the chiropractor after the combined effects of moving an entire library up a flight of stairs, stumbling and falling on a cement sidewalk while running with my dog, and loading half a dozen 50 lb. bags of cement onto a construction site. When the chiropractor checked the musculature in my shoulders he was surprised at how tense they were. He worked on releasing some of that tension and I left feeling relief and gained new awareness about the toll my body is sustaining from stress about family of origin.

I woke up this morning for the first time in a week without a big ball of pain between my shoulder blades. I lay there feeling comfortable and warm. Thoughts of my family of origin drifted into my mind and I realized how much tension I accumulate on a daily basis due to un-grieved loss of family connection and the pain of not belonging in my family. It was as if there were these invisible filaments of longing radiating out of my body, searching, constantly searching, for connection. Remember the Chrysalids by John Whyndam? At the end of the novel, the Sealanders come in air ships to rescue the telepaths as they flee a group of villagers. Just as the telepaths are about to be captured by the villagers, the Sealanders rain sticky drifting filaments onto the scene that coats everyone in suffocating cocoons. I imagine the filaments radiating out from my body in a similar way, except mine hang in space, helpless, useless, constantly seeking connection and never finding it. In that moment I could clearly see how my yearning for family was causing the tension and pain in my body. 

I have been thinking about the state of being an orphan, even in the midst of a large public family that show public displays of affection through music performance. I have been thinking of this state as a form of amputation, an emotional absence that never, ever seems to dissolve into the background. If my real state in life is that of an orphan, whose amputation from family is never openly acknowledged and actively denied, then the pain can never become softened by time. The current condition is what is so painful, not a historic event that can eventually drift into obscurity with the passing of years. I don’t know what it is like to lose a limb, but I do know what it is like to lose a family, a family that is all around me but disconnected from me.

My clarity this morning is confirming my resolve to block all incoming email from my family. I am no longer willing to continue putting out those feelers. My mental exercise this morning is to imagine myself cutting those sticky ties whenever they start to drift out from my body. To allow myself to feel the pain of disconnection and move on with my life. I do have people in my life today that love me and that I love in return. I am no longer willing to carry the pain and suffer the distraction of these non-functioning family relationships. I have more important things to attend to.

I am feeling better today. With each passing day I am noticing my creative energies are invigorated. Yes, my body hurts, but now it is a pain that is right sized and appropriate. It hurts to have to say good bye to family. It feels good to turn my attention to people and projects that reciprocate my contributions.


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