This I Believe

Helen - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Entered on August 7, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

A person who didn’t know me well would think I had a very small family. A father, a couple of brothers, two sisters, and one or two aunts and uncles. You wouldn’t hear much about my extended family; about the grandparents and the great-grandparents. You would wonder why I rarely speak about my mother and create stories about her demise/non-existence because most are too shy to ask. To anyone who asks me, I simply state, “You’ve got to give love to receive love”.

Perhaps it’s just my family, but I’m sure many others have heard the phrase, “Well, that’s family, you gotta love ‘em!”. After several years of hearing this and never understanding it, I finally shut down.

I don’t believe that love is intangible. I see it everyday. I feel it all the time. From my lover. From my friends. From my dog. And so when my family stopped returning the phone calls…I did too. When my family stopped the Christmas and Birthday invitations, the well wishes upon graduation, their presence at the many shows I was a part of. I thought to myself, “Why am I bothering?” I felt no love. I returned no love.

Many people find this arrangement disturbing. “How can you live without your mother?” “Well, I was weaned several years prior.” “How can you cut off your family?” To which I respond, “The branch was dead”. Somewhere, in all the life-living and surviving my family forgot how to give love. Therefore, they receive none of mine. It always comes out taciturn and cold, but I know the coldest moment comes, when you doubt the love of another because they don’t show it, because they don’t tell you.

I don’t have those doubts any longer. I surround myself with family, friends, and loved ones. Loved ones who are an integral part in my life, just as I am in their’s. I don’t give anyone an excuse for not making an effort and I expect the same. I believe that love is a two way street. I believe that the more you give the more you receive. In this I believe.