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We are family



Ready for a punch

I’ve been thinking a lot of late about family and how they relate with each other.  Mixing with a friend of mine who is very close to her family made me start comparing and contrasting with how I relate with my family.

Recently, for the first time in a very long time, all my immediate family members were all under one roof.  Being someone who is very used to having my own space, this raised some very unexpected yet serious issues that proved quite difficult to understand and overcome.

Just so I don’t give out the wrong impression of my family (they might be reading!), my immediate family is not a particularly large or difficult one.  It consists of three people – inclusive of myself – but for some reason, having all three of us under one roof, living and mixing with each other day in, day out, tested my patience beyond belief.

This led  me to thinking.  I love my family but living with them can be a bit of a nightmare.  I’m used to getting up in the morning, moving at my own pace, getting dressed with the doors wide open, taking a shower while listening to the loud music coming from my room across the hall and cooking by myself when I feel like it – I think you catch my drift!  Instead, I have to be conscious of the others in the house, keep the volume down on my stereo and get dressed in an enclosed space.  It drove me nuts!

Before you label me selfish, I am very much aware that human beings are not designed to survive and thrive in solitude. ‘No man is an island!’  I get that but it doesn’t stop me from craving just that - my space.  Solitude!  I longed for the times when I was by myself and though at those times I missed my family terribly, I still had time alone.  So what’s a girl to do?  How am I to deal with the conflicting emotions raging within me?

I read somewhere of a woman who was going crazy when going on a holiday.  She was driving to the location with her husband and kids in the car and they literally drove her crazy.  I found the story funny at the time.  I found the fact that she had a break-down in the car when the kids started shouting at each other in the back seat and her husband continuously criticised her driving hilarious.  Little did I know that I would be in a position to relate with her.

I felt it most coming home from work. I was so used to the silence when I opened the front door, being able to pick up my letters and sit on the stairs and read them – all in the peace I needed to gather my thoughts after a long day.  Instead I came in to noise, to someone, somewhere shouting my name and a million questions but no silence!  It drove me up the wall!

Well I didn’t pull out every strand of hair on my head or hit anyone over the head.  As it is my family and I’m no longer a child able to get away with throwing tantrums, I tried to stay open to having my space invaded.  I tried to smile through the millions of questions when all I really wanted was to be left alone!  It did leave me exhausted but I kept reminding myself that it was a temporary set-up.

That was when the balls of thoughts and doubts started rolling.  What happens when this is not a temporary situation?  What happens if instead of my brother or mother, it’s a wife/husband, kids and their friends?  Add the in-laws into the mix and you have a riot!  And remember, there is no mute button, no pause option.  Just life as it brings on the noise!

That was a terrifying thought!  Do you get to choose the days when you are able to handle such situations and the days when you’re not? Is there a sign you could put up to state how you feel so you don’t get disturbed on those days?  Living in close proximity with someone – whoever it may be – has its pros and cons.  For me, I’m scared that the cons could outweigh the pros leaving two options.  A life of noise (exhausting thought!) or a life of solitude.  As much as I love my space, the latter is not my desirable option!

There seems no end to it.  Families seem designed to frustrate and test you.  Mine are not so bad but they do have their moments.  So what then?  I guess I already know the answer but it’s not an easy one.  I know that I’m suppose to work on myself – learn to be more accommodating but I need help!  Can’t I have it both ways?!?


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