As much as we want to divorce ourselves from our collective history, there is no denying or escaping its impact on our lives.

I often read or hear of individuals who, upon becoming adults, liberated themselves so to speak, from their families. They want absolutely nothing to do with them. I used the term liberate, because from what I have gathered, there seemed to be a sort of imprisonment, where the individual was being stifled and needed room to breathe and grow.

On occasions, I too have felt that need.

In households where there has been decades or generations of struggle, secrets, discontent, a culture of poverty and a deficit in vision, there is often a child or two born into the group who ends up being viewed as an oddity or an anomaly. You’re different, so much so that you stand out in every way possible that one can imagine. There was a point that I even wondered if I was wrongfully placed into my family. My views and visions were so divergent, that I despaired of life itself. I felt like the piece of a puzzle that the manufacturer mistakenly placed in the wrong box.

How time changes one’s perspective. After years of desiring to get away, I only want to be with them. Adulthood has shown me just how alike we are. We may express ourselves differently but we all want the same things. Conversations across dinner tables and family gatherings at Christmas (that gets my anxiety level up to a pitch after a few days of being inundated with their company) has revealed a common perspective and set of experiences. There is an undeniable love and respect, one that requires us to speak to each other, all seven of us (two males, five girls), every single day, even for a brief moment (thank goodness for technology ¬†or ours phone bills would be astronomical!).

We are more alike than I thought. I can’t survive without them.

I know much more about myself to admit that despite our connection, I still need my space. I cannot deal with all of our personalities, all at once. I have to take them installments. One of the males is my twin, and whenever we don’t get to speak to each other for extended periods (life happens), I miss him with a pain that is so deep that it becomes physical. I often find myself yearning for their company.

I appreciate them. It is the experience of being a part of this family that has shaped the woman I am today. Pity, growing up I couldn’t appreciate it or them. But thank goodness for the eventuality of a mature mind. It has shown me how incomplete I would be without them.