My relationship with my parents has been strained for the past 4+ years. Maybe even longer than that, but the shit hit the fan a little over 4 years ago when I told my parents I was no longer Christian and instead identified as Pagan. My parents are conservative Christians, and I was raised as one, and at one point was very active in the Church. And they’re not the conservative Christians that just attend church weekly and believe the Bible is literally the “Word of God.” My mom works in a church and has for as long as I can remember. She’s active in church politics both on a local and national level. My dad was ordained a deacon when I was somewhere around 10 yrs old and was later elected archdeacon in their diocese. You can imagine how well my break from the Church went over with them.
I’m not sure when it was, but at some point, I recognized that one of the reasons I was born to my parents (and it was my choice) was to teach them about unconditional love. For about the past four years, I thought that that looked like me (in the process of simply becoming who I really am) pushing their limits and stretching their boundaries by becoming something so other than what they had intended as parents. I want to clarify that the ways in which I was (and am) different from them was not done with the energy of, “Well, let me try this…do you love me now?!” As for the lesson in unconditional love, in short, I thought that the work was all on their part. It was their task to see if they could love me unconditionally despite all these differences between us. And only very recently has this line of thinking been revealed to me to not be the point at all.
In teaching my parents about unconditional love, what I’m really called to do is to love them unconditionally with the knowledge that they don’t like the choices I have made, that they don’t accept them, that they’re resentful and bitter about them, that they think I am ruining my life in every way they can possibly imagine, that they are actively judging me, that they feel like failures as parents because I haven’t turned out (at all) to be a mini-them, etc. It is my job to model for them what unconditional love looks like. To focus on giving them unconditional love without concern over whether or not I receive it.
Here’s my confession. I’m so not there yet, though I choose to place emphasis on the yet. Where I am right now is a place of not wanting to be around them at all. A place where visiting them makes me want to vomit. A place of walking on egg shells whenever I talk to them on the phone because I don’t want them to bring up any of our taboo and touchy subjects like sexuality and spirituality because, historically, every time that has happened before, I go to a place where I am once again the child and feeling like I need to justify and explain away everything about me (which is really ridiculous in and of itself in that while they ask for explanations, they don’t want to understand – they want to turn me back into the 14 year old version of me that looked identical to them). A place of knowing that at some point, I am going to tell them that I am in a polyamorous relationship and since I have no idea how I will do that and what it will look like, dreading that conversation. A place of, despite my having chosen them as parents, longing for the ideal momma I didn’t have growing up and finally grieving the lack of having experienced her. And I choose to accept where I am right now.
I intend to not always be in this place. I intend to move through the space I am in right now, though I have no idea how that will happen or what it will look like. I intend to – at some point while I’m moving through this space – open my Self to the Momma so that She can pour into me all the unconditional love I need to give to them. And I intend to trust Her to walk me through this.