This I believe…
I believe in the fact that my family makes me who I am as a human being. In a way, they have influenced my thoughts, my beliefs and the physical shape I have taken as grown adult. My mother and father were the foundation and my everything when I was young. They molded me in the genetics of how tall or fat, pale or healthy, I eventually became. As a side note…thanks Dad for allergies and dry skin and Mom for the “pleasantly plump” figure.
But more importantly they assisted in composing my soul, beliefs and foundations of my life as a mature person. Those initial lessons of right and wrong, good and bad wrapped up in a layer of love is the literal skin that holds everything together for me. Those relationships taught me much about how to be a better adult.
Daily contact with siblings taught me so many lessons; of love, hierarchy, compromise, and of course survival of the fittest. I can bad mouth my sister and brother as much as I want, but don’t you dare say a word. These connections created the character building traits of my heart and mind.
Family trees branch out and each of those branches influence me. Aunts and Uncles, In-Laws, Cousins and all the others have some impact on who I am, as well. Grandparents for example, gave an immeasurable contribution to who I am. Grandparents influenced me in ways that my parents only wish they could, if only they weren’t so busy parenting. Grandmas were free to give me that extra cookie because it was pure pleasure to a child, while Mom was considering the extra sugar coursing through my veins. Grandpa taught me about nurturing the earth with the growth of roses and delicious strawberries; because Dad was distracted by the daily grind of making ends meet. These people became my very appendages, without the lessons they taught me I wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on.
Family trees are not without their fruits and nuts. I have made decisions and made a stand for things just because I observed the dark path other family members may have taken. These are valuable lessons too. Learning what not to do also molds our character of who we are as fully developed people. Some of these so-called nuts dangling from my family tree became so toxic and harmful to my well being that they needed to be removed like cancer or a tumor. Their mere existence seems to grind away at my healthy well being. But their absence does not heal me, instead it leaves gaping empty sections of my soul were those relatives were once held so dear. These changes are the most drastic and leave me wounded forever.
As I grew, my world expanded beyond our household walls to the playground, neighborhood and church. Many of these bonds with people from outside my family are strong, sharing with me different views and perspectives that help me see more clearly. These “outsiders” soon became my family. My husband and the family that we are now raising together is an indispensable source of power to me. They are the very blood that courses through my veins that keeps me going each day. For those friends and neighbors that are close I like to call them my “chosen family” they have helped me form my own vision, the most precious kind of sight.
I’ve come to these beliefs after hours of soul searching, trying to find out why I am the way I am. When I came to the simple conclusion, that I am Julie, because of all the people who have touched my life and taught me along the way. Family in what ever form it takes…is my backbone. It is always there influencing my daily actions whether I realize it our not. They are the single most important thing in my life, now and forever.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.