Emily - Austin, Texas
Entered on December 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

My family is horrible at confrontation. When anyone disagrees with anyone, even if the disagreement is over something basic, no one feels comfortable enough to say what they’re thoughts are. We exist in a sort of fake harmony, falsely smiling at one another pretending there is nothing between us. We act like we all agree on who should be president, or that it’s just fine that my boyfriend is in jail. This agreement to never acknowledge our differences, I feel, has only strengthened divides between us, and thus weakened our personal relationships.

When there is something my family wishes were different, which is pretty much always, family gatherings become a chore. Lines are drawn, sides are chosen, and the air becomes thick with disapproval. My poor mother is the only member of our family who has managed to make peace with everyone. She is always stuck in the middle, relaying to one side what the other has been saying. I don’t enjoy hearing my family disapproves of my boyfriend through my mom. I no longer hear their voices unless my mom is playing intermediary. It’s a terrible feeling when you see your family members eyeing you with pursed lips, obviously brimming with opinions, but don’t feel comfortable enough to speak them. I love these people; I want to hear what they have to say.

I believe that my loved ones who have watched me grow my entire life should be able to give me their honest opinions always. I don’t want them to feel as though disagreeing will cause problems. I feel that constantly agreeing has only built shaky shallow relationships. I don’t feel close to many people in my family, and I think the reason is this dishonesty through silence. Bridging our gaps through speaking to each other will take time, but I believe that the people I love should feel safe to tell me their true opinions.