family reads

‘I loved her not for the way she danced with my angels, but for the way the sound of her name could silence my demons.’ — Christopher Poindexter. 

2

my daily to-do lists are shorter this summer because i’m working full time, so i’m experimenting with spreads a little. last week’s was “3 things i’m proud i accomplished each day.”

Dear Self,

I know how you’ve been feeling today. Your life feels empty, and the sad truth is that you have nobody to blame for anything that’s happened . Unlike most people, you haven’t blamed yourself, because you know that you have done everything in your capacity to make things work, to make things happen. I know how ambitious you are, and you do everything you need to do to make your parents proud, to make them happy again. You have no one to share your pain with. Mainly since your pain isn’t because of some tragic accident or loss of life, neither is it because of a sappy breakup or a nasty flu.

But you can feel your true self breaking down a little bit more with every passing day. There’s so much you want to do and so much you want to achieve and you know that you have it in you, yet it’s always a dead end.

You look back in time and see a different version of yourself, someone you can’t recognize now. You have no idea how to define yourself any more. You were a social maniac and have always found yourself the most comfortable among people, lots and lots of people, friends, foes, family, strangers and you managed to plant a seed of memory into everyone you’ve ever met.

Now you’re uncomfortable to be around people, you repel even making a healthy eye contact with someone passing by. I know you aren’t scared or tense to interact with them - to ask how they’re doing, but you’ve lost the urge to make bonds anymore.

You’ve met all kinds of people, seen through each one of them but you’ve realized that no matter how well you know and understand them, you walk right into a boulder beyond which you cannot see, beyond which you know there’s a spot where all their weaknesses lie, and you peek between the brick walls and recoil back - you have seen the ugly side.

This side of them is nasty and no matter what is said or done following it, you’ve lost your trust, you just can’t go back to square one all over again. You know you can never be the same with them again. And as you walk away from them, you know they’ve taken off a small chunk out of you. These chunks total up to the whole of you and you lose yourself running away from them. You cannot risk losing anymore. So you walk alone, and everyday you die a little more.

You now focus on the few people you trust and you’d do anything for them. I know very well how greatly you suck at expressing your love towards these people, somehow you feel that if you reveal it to them you’ll lose the love you have for them, they’re eager and hope to hear it from you. Your family wants to hear you say that you love them. But you just cannot, because you’ve never learned how to. You’ve never told anyone confidently the way they show it movies, to confess love. You love them too much, it’s scary to say it out loud. But you show it in ways nobody ever does.

You have your own weird ways, only if they could listen. Only if they could listen when you scream at them and cry out of guilt the very next moment, when you swear at them now and internally curse yourself next, when you ignore them because you do not want to say you’re sorry, when you plan big to see them happy, when you struggle to smile even as you’re dying inside only so that they don’t sense your sadness.

You are scared to express that you are vulnerable and you are scared to admit that you are scared. You prefer to be an emotionless robot to them, because you’ll never be able to prove how much you really care. They distance themselves from you naturally, and again, you die a little bit inside.

But you know you’re amazing at being a lioness when you want to, your wounds make you stronger and that’s how you like seeing yourself - a lioness on the hunt. And you walk with all your pride as you walk by the people that you’d rather have by your side, again you die a little inside, yet you walk alone with all your pride.


Loads of Love,
Self.

- J.E.M
You can love your friends.. ..you can love your family … you can even love every stray dog or stray drummer that crosses your path. HOWEVER, you have to learn how to love yourself, like yourself, and put yourself first before you will ever find the healthy, loving, and lasting relationship that you’ve been looking for.
—  Greg Behrendt and Amira Rutola-Behrendt, It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken
6

Going to the theme park together!!
I love this happy family so much 

Tbh unless you are making a deliberate effort to hear and respectfully acknowledge people’s concerns, anger, or hurt feelings about your behaviour, there is a 100% chance that unspoken resentments are quietly forcing distance into your relationships.

If people feel like they can have a productive conversation with you when something’s not working, tiny things can be adjusted as you go instead of building into the kind of huge divides that end relationships bitterly.

Communication goes both ways. You gotta be able to take in what they need to say, or they’ll stop telling you when something’s wrong.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book”

When two people become ever so close to each other, they begin to connect on a different level. They may know what the other is often thinking. They may begin to feel each others’ feelings. The beautiful thing about this, however, is that it can be between any two people, regardless of the kind of relationship.
—  Nicole Addison @thepowerwithin

When adults who care for children make the choice to dismantle gender and sex normativity in their own lives, they make room for children to embody gender, race and sex on their own terms. They empower children to see people as people.

Queer parenting is not a fad. It isn’t something people do for a pat on the back. There are a lot of us non-heterosexual or gender-nonconforming parents who engage differently with gender.


The fact is: Queer parenting is a deliberate choice to raise children as free as possible from the limitations that labels, stereotypes and gendered norms place on marginalized people in the United States.


While these decisions have garnered sneered noses and scowls from more traditional parents, those people who believe “children should be children” rather than politicized actors, I am keenly aware that my black children will be politicized whether I like it or not.

—  Why Mothering As a Queer Black Woman is Inherently Political | Jenn M. Jackson for the Washington Post
signs you’re pulling your own weight in a healthy close peer relationship: things to strive for

you know and like them

You know what’s really important to the other person, their hopes and goals and pet peeves and preferences and fears, and you consciously integrate this knowledge into how you interact with them.

You’re curious about their thoughts and opinions. You’re aware they have a rich inner life and you get excited to find out what they think and how they feel about things, even things that have nothing to do with you. You ask questions and you truly listen to and try to understand the answers.

You seek out opportunities to share experiences with them. You want to be around them and you want to understand why they love the things they love. You want to welcome them into enjoying new things you think they’d like based on your knowledge of them and their preferences.

When they don’t like something you like and vice versa, it isn’t threatening, because you both respect each other and there are other things you can do together. 

you are emotionally available

You pay attention to the kindnesses they show you, and you show appreciation when they listen to you vent or are patient with your foibles or remember your favourite things or make your life brighter in any way.

You make an effort to show these same little kindnesses to them. You often ask about and try to keep track of what they like. You make tiny gestures all the time just to make them happy, and you don’t keep score of them in hopes of getting something you want.

You are honest and considerate with them. When you’re upset about something else you don’t blame it on them or start a fight just to fight. When you need to bring a problem to their attention you do it in a loving way. You don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep and you don’t pretend you feel anything you don’t feel.

You work hard to understand yourself and what’s important to you, what you want and what you feel and why you feel the way you do. Even if you aren’t totally sure what you’re really feeling yet, you try to share yourself with the other person. You’re willing to be vulnerable and let them see your fears and your flaws and your complicated feelings about things.

you actively respect them as your equal

You respect them as a person. There are things you admire about them and you find some of their ‘flaws’ endearing and it’s okay that there are things about them you don’t like because they’re a whole complicated person and you appreciate them for the whole package of who they are. You don’t secretly think you’re better than them. You don’t see them as disposible or fungible or a means to an end.

You respect them as the authority on their life/experiences and acknowledge that however well you know them, there are complexities to them you’ll never fully grasp. You never assume that you’re done getting to know them or that you could make their choices better.

You believe them when they tell you how they feel. You don’t ever try to convince them their feelings are wrong even if those real feelings are in response to a misunderstanding or have a context you don’t fully understand.

You’re comfortable letting them take the lead as often as you do, and you’re willing to compromise on things that affect both of you because their opinions are just as important and well-reasoned as your own. You acknowledge their capacity to know things you don’t or have good ideas you didn’t think of.

you do relational work

You talk to each other when either of you feels relationship problems arising, even if you don’t fully understand them yet, and you work together as a team to keep each other feeling safe and respected and listened to. You work to be patient and supportive and to not take it personally when other things are bothering them.

You apologize, freely and without expecting them to force themselves to heal faster to make you feel better. Your apologies are about letting them know you understand and respect and care about their hurt and that you are choosing not to hurt them in that way again. You don’t have hidden agendas.

When there are choices to be made that affect both of you, you talk them through together and decide together. You don’t expect them to do all the planning work, and you don’t make choices that affect them without their input.

you respect their time and effort and don’t act entitled

You understand you aren’t the only thing they have going on. You give them space to have other interests and friends and you appreciate your time together without making them feel obligated to pay attention to you 24/7. You also make time for them while maintaining your own interests and other relationships.

You make an effort to seek out other sources of emotional support and connection so that you are not relying on this person to meet all your emotional needs.

You don’t expect them to do personal work for you that you’re capable of doing, and if they do such work, you intentionally do similar work for them, work that needs to be done just as often and requires just as much time/effort, because you care about them and don’t want to burden them with extra work.

If they wash the dishes you use, you wash the floors they walk on. If they do the grocery shopping, you the cooking. You don’t ever take it for granted that it’s their job to do personal maintenance work (chores, home care, body care, appointment planning, kinship work) for you without reciprocation. If you are capable of meeting your own basic needs but haven’t bothered to learn to do that work or why it’s important, you seek out resources on your own to learn.

If you genuinely are not capable of doing your own basic self/home maintenance due to disability etc., you don’t assume they will automatically take over that work from now on because of your relationship. You have frank and honest discussions about your needs and their capabilities/limitations/interest wrt helping out.

you actively prioritize their happiness

You make sure they know you appreciate their nos. Every no reassures you that their yeses really mean yes, and you check in all the time to find out what they want and don’t want, because it’s so important to you that they don’t just grin and bear it.

You want them to be happy. You are willing to be deeply inconvenienced without them knowing about it if it will make them happier. You routinely spend time thinking about their feelings and how your words and actions will impact them. If you think they’re unhappy because of you, you want to know why because you are genuinely willing to put hard work into making them happy.

If they’re unhappy because you’re incompatible in a fundamental way, you’d rather give up your relationship with them than let them stay miserable because of it.

In a happy and healthy relationship, everyone involved ticks every one of these boxes.