Tonight as I was lying in bed with my fiancee I was pouring out my feelings about my family and how most of my life I felt I was alone. I felt I had no one to turn to, that I had no where to go. Yes, I had my older sister who was always a phone call away as she had moved out of state during my teens, but I didn't really have anyone else in the family. I didn't have anyone close I could run to, cry with, or hold until the pain went away.
There were times I felt I could just disappear and they wouldn't notice or care and there actually were those times. One particular time while living at home shortly after mission while I was struggling to figure out who I was I didn't leave my room for 6 months other than to go to work. I never went out with friends. I never went out to find new restaurants. I just worked and slept. I was even to the point where I was only buying food I didn't have to refrigerate or heat up so I didn't have to interact with my family. And they left me alone as if I didn't exist. They never tried to talk to me. They never asked me how I was doing. I was left to my own demise. And that is when I knew I had to get out. I was utterly alone and no one cared. The ones that should have cared the most showed the least affection.
I was talking about this and many other situations with my fiancee as we laid in bed and I let out my emotions. I talked about how I felt like I haven't really had a family. How when I lived at home I felt more like an orphan than a son, unless I was doing what they thought was best for me. At those times the praise never stopped, but once I became me I was despised. I was cast aside as if I was a disease and I was killing them and they had to eradicate me from the house.
I think back of all things I did for them to try and gain their praise and love, but how it hurt me more inside to be something I wasn't rather than be me, but I did it to not be alone. The feeling of being alone is one of the worst. So with each new friend I would build courage. I would branch out. I would slowly become me. Certain friends helped me more than others until one day I was strong enough to finally say enough is enough and truly be me, but it was still hard not having a family. Families are supposed to be always there for you no matter what. Families don't live by ultimatums or conditions and this is why I felt I didn't truly have a family until now.
As I held my fiancee she told me that I have a family now. And I truly believe that. In the short 14 months since I first met them I have never once felt like an outsider. They took me with open arms and open hearts. They didn't care that I was an atheist. They didn't care where I had come from and what my past experiences were. They did like that I was a liberal and open about that; according to my fiancee it wouldn't have worked with her family is I was a gun-toting conservative, since that was pretty much the only deal breaker for her parents. And all but one of the six dogs have accepted me as a play mate. Can't say much for Wookie, maybe he'll warm up to me one day.
I feel I can share my experiences and my stories with them and they genuinely care. I can show up at their house after a bad day and they would take me in and listen and talk and guffaw with me over the jokes and mishaps of the day, week, month...
For once in my life I feel like I am truly part of a real family. One that doesn't judge me or hold ultimatums over my head for what I believe, but one that just loves me for who I am.
This goes out to my new family, The Crivellos