Before It’s Too Late, Extended Family Edition

I’ve messed up. A lot. But especially within the past year. And I’ve realized this far too late. Sooner rather than later, but still too late.

I ran my mouth about how editing photos is being deceitful , which was taken as an attack on a form of art family members found enjoyment in producing and posting. Instead of privately having a discussion about it, I opened the discussion in a setting that was easy for me to be rebutted by more than one person. It wasn’t a discussion, then, but an argument, something my grandpa reported back to my parents after we came back from vacation. Strike one.

Strike two happened with my family again in October when I yelled at my cousin about a certain politician currently in office, bolstering my cousin’s point that we Americans were getting a little too emotional about the presidential race.

In both instances, I apologized, but the damage had already been done. The rifts were already forming and widening. Additionally, back during the vacation, there were other discussions/ arguments about other topics that had already taken place, and I had come across as if I were condescending and thought my points of view were better and far more rational than theirs, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you’re reading this, family, I don’t think I’m better. In fact, arrogance and attacks often come from places of insecurity. And I made those comments about the pictures because I was tired of the vacation becoming a competition of who took the best photos and who received the most likes on them on Instagram. I was frustrated because one of the  people who defended editing photos had made what I thought were snide comments about how girls, including myself, wearing makeup isn’t natural but deceitful and also about how I could try harder on my photo-taking for my social media accounts. Regarding the election, I was tired of hearing about how a certain politician was the thing America needed at the time and now and how voting for anyone else was fill-in-the-blank with some derogatory, judgmental comment, implying what I perceived as inferiority.

I’m really just scared, sad, tired, and trying to find meaning and a purpose in this life.

Just like you all are.

And yet, here I was/ am pointing fingers at you for how you treated me, but I acted as if I were justified in acting as such because of how I had been treated. Circular reasoning or lack of reasoning/ hypocrisy. Sigh.

Who knows if anything else since has been seen as strikes and thus a strike-out. I’ve tried to keep on the low and not run my mouth, but some interactions with certain family members are beyond exhausting and unproductive.

Staying away is my best option, and yet looks like a complete lack of an attempt to be civil.

Is it too late? Have I struck out?

I feel it is and that I have. I feel the gap widening , as if there’s something wrong with me and I shouldn’t be part of the family.

I feel all these things I’m perceived to be, and I’m too scared to ask because some things have already been said or things have been said in certain ways to confirm my fears. I’m just tired of feeling I don’t meet expectation that I’ve made up in my head I have to meet for my family members.

I don’t even know what to do anymore.

I know this isn’t healthy, normal, Christ-honoring, etc., but I still feel these things and don’t feel I have the means to change myself.

If you’re reading this, please don’t do what I did and ruin your relationships with your family members by being sassy and snarky and running your mouth, pushing your point of view on a topic, or talking down about something people in your family clearly enjoy doing. It’s not worth it. Also, even though it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do, treat others, including those in your family, how they SHOULD be treated, NOT how they treat you or you think they treat you, etc. Be kind to them, no matter what. Love them and forgive them, no matter if they don’t love you or seem to not forgive you for something you said to them. Show them kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, congeniality, etc. even when they go out of their way to hurt you. Be the change in the world. You can only change yourself. It’s so cliche, but it’s so important. Waiting to treat them kindly when they start being kind to you means you’ll probably be waiting your whole life. Surprise them. Be nice because Jesus says that loving others, even the most hurtful, rude people is the right thing to do, not so you’ll get kindness in return.

It still hurts, though, and if it’s too late, family, I apologize.

It’s not you. It’s me.

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