BJ spent some of the holidays with my family. I was worried... I was afraid of questions. (Questions that I don't necessarily know, nor care to explore the answers to.) I was afraid that everyone would push to know what my relationship with BJ is. (I am very happy with what we have, and I don't want to try to define it for anyone else. Labels just make me feel crazy.) I was afraid of judgments. (The word "judgments" doesn't cover all that I was afraid of. I was afraid of my family acting like I've seen others act. Judgmental. Opinionated. Critical. Self-righteous. Controlling. Abusive. Etc.)
I didn't know how they would react, and I was afraid and anxious. I had no reason to be. It turned out so much better than I could have imagined.
They all welcomed him with open arms. He said he felt loved and accepted and comfortable.
(Of course, anyone would have told me I was being silly for feeling afraid. Parents and siblings all know and love BJ. They come to visit. We all hang out. Grandparents came to visit, and then we went fishing. My aunt sent me a text, personally inviting BJ, and my Grandparents have said several times that BJ is always welcome. Still... all evidence aside, I was a tiny bit anxious.)
At the family Christmas party, we were playing a game, and I drew the question, "What do you like most about the person sitting next to you?" I wondered for a moment if the game was rigged... and then felt grateful that I got to answer that question for everyone to hear... Defining our relationship feels scary and upsetting... Telling people why I love BJ, what I love about him, and why I am glad he is in my life: That is easy and I LIKE doing it.
After the games, we talked with my uncles and aunts about camping trips and fishing trips we've been on, and then about plans for future trips. I felt so comfortable. At home even. We all laughed and told stories, and it was... fun. It turns out, they don't really care what my relationship with him is. Their only care or concern is, "Are you happy?"
The answer to that question is, "Yes," but the answer to that question would have been a "partial yes" if I had had to deal with the questions, the judgments, or any of the things I was afraid of. I know that I'm not supposed to let other people rule my emotions... choose my own happiness and all that... but....
I WANT my family to love and accept me. It's easier to be happy when I have a loving and accepting family. It's easier to be happy when I don't have to choose between what is best for me and what my family wants me to do. It is easier to be happy when they just want me to be happy. I know I can't control that. I know they have every right to think or say or do whatever the hell they want, but the truth is... I want them to love me. I want them to love and accept BJ. I want them to be a part of my life, and I want to be a part of theirs. I want them to know ME, so they can love ME. Pretending that I don't want that, is just plain silly.
There are lots of things in life that I might want that I don't get, and if I didn't get the love and acceptance, I'd deal with that. I might walk away from my family, because if they can't love ME, then what is the point? I might hide from my family, and keep secrets if I thought that is what I needed to do in order to have a relationship with them (and if I thought that was what was best.) I might busy myself making new friends, and create a family of non-relatives. I might insist that it was MY life, and if they wanted me in it, they would accept ME. (And then let them make the choice.) I would do what I had to do... I would find a way to make life worth living, whatever that meant, and I am SO grateful that I don't have to do any of that. I am so grateful that I get to be me, live my life, AND have a loving family.
I feel loved. They don't care what I do, who I live with, what my relationship is... except that they want to know me and be a part of my life.
(Why is it so hard to describe what it is like when people have healthy boundaries that lack judgments? Maybe because the way they acted was healthy and normal, but I'm not used to people being healthy and normal. So, I want to describe the healthy and normal, but it's hard. The ones who know what healthy and normal is don't need the description... and the people who have no clue probably won't understand my descriptions anyway.)
I count myself one of the most lucky people on the planet... I feel loved by the people that I love.