I've just come back from a lovely lazy day spent with my friend Am, her husband Vic and their cute baby Syméon. They are my age and PhD students, yet they make this parenting thing work. They've been married for some time now, and their parents have been married for a really long time as well. It made me think about my own family and my relationship to families.
Obviously I have a lot to say on this topic, as would anyone. We are molded by our childhoods and most people can be separated in two groups: those who are very close to their parents and those who break ties almost completely. It's hard to stay in the middle.
I'm in a tricky situation.When I tried to kill myself, I hurt my family for ever. They did not read this as my own struggle, my own battle: it was a reflection on their performance as parents or sibling. I understand this completely. If I did not have depression I would read the same mute accusations in my behaviour than they did.
So now I feel I have this huge debt towards them. Although I know that I won't ever try again, I can't take away the worry and the guilt they feel. All the love I can show won't erase their pain.
That's the way life goes, doesn't it? We try to be perfect in our relationships, we try to be in the right, to be the person who's behaving well. And then we're the bad guy. And there may well be no way to make that change.
What has been difficult for me is to accept that I have hurt my family and made them go through hell, but that I need to move on from that. I can't change what I did, but I don't have to obsess about it.
And spending the day with a baby reminded me how free I am. I'm single and childless: the world is my oyster! All the ties I have are my own choice: I choose to love and respect my family and treat them in the best way possible, but I want it to be a choice, not the consequence of something I did three years ago. So while I hope one day they forgive and forget, in the meantime I'll discover the world and become a happy person. In the end, that's what they also want for me.
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