Family and Getting Older

Christmas dinner has to be by far the most interesting dinner my family has had in a very long time. Coming home for the holidays this time around, I was worried about all the drama surrounding my family. Who will come for Christmas? Who would talk to who? What would be the big surprise no one saw coming (because there’s always one!)? In years past, I’ve felt so defenseless in these awkward situations often using my mom as a buffer between people and as a source of the gossip. This year, it was different. Being twenty three and living on my own (and away) for two years has made family members see me in a different light – more like an adult.

This year, I was able to intervene and stand up for myself along the way. This year, I was able to point out how silly some arguments have been and have a glass of wine while saying so. I’m not saying I solved all of my families problems tonight (not even close), but I felt more stake in this family now that I’m older. I spent more time in the kitchen preparing food and cleaning up this year. I can slowly sense the passing of the baton in a way that in a few years, my mom is going to expect me along with my cousins to be the ones to bring the family together for the holidays. Being an adult in this family has given me a sense of responsibility I never saw coming. Truthfully, the thought of getting older and being the one people depend on is very daunting and only makes me want to live further away where my excuse could legitimately be, “Can’t come home this year – too far away.” My cousins and I talked after dinner about how when it becomes our turn to host the family events, it will be different. Less stress, more togetherness and we’ll have fun along the way too. The thought of that actually makes it sound more exciting and more like something I would want to be part of consistently. We promised that we (along with future kids) wouldn’t behave the way our parents do at times because of how we’ve felt for so long about it. I deeply hope that’s a promise we can keep, but then I think our parents probably made similar promises and in the end, family happens.

With that, I’m reminded that we cannot choose our family and although we can complain about them, there’s a love deep down for for family (at least most of them). Surprisingly, my feelings about family come from my father who often reminded me that I should always do anything family even if the same type of love isn’t given in return. I understood what that meant a little bit more tonight. This holiday dinner made me cherish the times I’ve had with my family a bit more. I grew up a little tonight at the dinner table. Let’s see how I feel about this at Easter.

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The Perks of Being Wallflower

I really could not decide why I decided to create a blog. I had a friend telling me that I should just do it and I have another friend who writes all the time. I am still having the internal struggle of whether or not this will be more journal-esque and less actual writing. I need to see how it will go first. I want to write about my life – the good, the bad, the ugly and the really ugly. I want to be honest, more so than I have ever been.

I made the blog a week ago and what has finally gotten me here to write is one of my courses for grad school. I’ve been so fortunate to love my grad work even though I was unsure if I wanted to do it at first. I am currently starting a great career as a higher education professional in student affairs, but the allure of being a classroom teacher is still ever so present. I decided to do the literacy education program for my grad work.  I am not sure what I will ultimately decide, but that’s not important at the moment. What is important is that for one of my grad classes, I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I have never read the book before or have I seen the movie. Do you know of those moments when you feel like something makes too much sense to be a coincidence? I feel like that is what happened with this book. I’ve had this assignment for two weeks now – developing a unit plan using critical literacy. The class had the option of using books read in class or being risky and using a book not discussed in the course. After harping on how only one other student has used a book outside of the course, most of the class decided to use an outside book. I decided not to originally, but something led me to my professor’s office telling her I needed a challenge to do the project on an outside book. My professor tried to talk me out of it, but say my determination of wanting the challenge. She threw multiple books at me and I went home with two. I spent most of today reading a few pages of both and I did not want to go with The Perks of Being a Wallflower,  but I could not put the damn novel down.

Needless to say, the book ended up doing wonders for my project and I can’t wait to piece it all together tomorrow. What I am digesting now is how that book spoke volumes to me. I feel like the main character, Charlie, is who I am. I try to make others happen, I try to respect my friends and the space of women. At the end of the book, Charlie learns to be more aggressive and not to be afraid to say what he wants because opportunities will go by. Charlie was having this conversation with his best friend of the book who was also his crush (although so much more). Charlie’s crush acknowledged the attraction, but told Charlie that even though he was told to not like her and to just be a friend, Charlie shouldn’t ignore what he feels and needs to be present in each moment. Sitting on the sidelines only gets you so far. I know that. I definitely have heard it before. It never resonated so deeply before today. In terms of Charlie and women, I realize that when I have a crush on someone, I sit on the sidelines. I claim I am waiting for the right moment and that I’ll act on my attraction when I’m ready. False – I am scared and I am never present in the moment which is why girls never notice me. I think back to my first serious relationship and it all happened because I made myself present in the moment (a good story for another day).

So, in my first rambling of a post, I’ll leave you with this. Today, I have never learned so much about myself at one time. It goes beyond what I explained about Charlie, but about what type of person I want to be and how I need to go about being that person.  felt this post was appropriate considering the title of this blog because in the past two years, I have felt nothing but that I’ve been consistently evolving as a person. Charlie just pointed me in the right direction.