Unfortunately, the people who are supposed to love us aren’t always able to give us the kind of love we need. Whether they are our mothers or our fathers, our grandparents or our siblings, some family, no matter how good their intentions, leave us feeling empty, invalidated, uncared for, and alone. And on the days when that pain becomes too much to bear, our work is to recognize that those people whose love we so desperately pine for are never going to be able to meet our needs. Not because they don’t care, but because they can’t change who they are.
Their scant affection isn’t a reflection on our worth. It isn’t even about us. It’s about them and their own limitations and struggles. It’s about their unique way of expressing love and the fact that it doesn’t match up with our own. And we don’t have to internalize that. What we need is to start reaching out to the right people. We need to create a family of people outside of our family. People who can meet our needs and reciprocate our love.
We need to appreciate our families for the ways in which they are able to show they care, and be accepting of the ways they can’t. We need to make peace with who they are and if necessary, we need to give ourselves permission to let go. We need to know that our worth isn’t something another person’s love can give or take away. We need to trust that with or without their affection, we are enough.
Have you ever noticed that humans have made it so difficult and complicated to “survive” in this world? It’s a vicious cycle. You go to school, and try really hard, so that you can get into a good college, and then you try really hard at college to get a good job, and then you try really hard at your job, so you can make money. And then your kids do the same thing. And everyone just keeps on doing this and no one even stops to think WHY they’re doing it any more. Everyone just does it because it’s what you’re supposed to do. And like, before, when the human race had just started, the goal was to just SURVIVE. People just lived. I mean, that’s what really matters, right? Survival. Because after you die, it doesn’t matter what college you went to.
We are the generation of the selfie and of self-induced sadness,
born in the same year that three of my idols would commit suicide.
Most poets die with the lights on,
but we all plan on drowning. We are the generation of grounding
lightning into coffee beans, of pulling strings from the hems of our dresses until we unravel,
of leaving footprints in the gravel on the way to the edge of the world. I am a computer girl,
and I was born in the year of the boar. Maybe that’s why I’m a whore,
and my best friends are all pigs,
and I dig my own grave every time I open my mouth.
We are the generation of meaningless trophies, it’s true.
My parents like to tell me: “you
think that you deserve everything.” But we are a generation of scraping,
watching our parents cry over housing prices
and dying white clothes black to blend in.
We are children of the wind, born to land wherever freedom settles us
and we take our parent’s debt with us everywhere.
We are a generation of change and of chains, and mostly
I think we deserve any fame we can get:
thirty people hitting “like” on a status.
Girls posting photos of themselves naked have earned every moment of bliss
they receive from finding themselves beautiful in their own skin.
We are a generation of women airbrushed to perfection
and daughters taking pills to feel pretty again.
And mostly, I don’t like to make sweeping generalizations about my friends
but I think it’s okay
if at the end of some days we feel like relaxing,
taking a photo of our dinner,
telling two hundred near-strangers how lucky we feel
to be existing anywhere at all.