I made a remark to my friends that our new 3 bedroom apartment we started renting a month ago should be officially named “Neverland.” Peter Pan was a lucky sun of a gun and all his homies, The Lost Boys too. To have the choice as a young man to never grow up is a choice that no young woman ever has the chance to make.
I suppose you could call the inhabitants of the apartment Lost Girls – but really it seems there is an active choice between us to be ‘lost.’ This is not a negative choice, I’m surrounded by the strongest of women who’ve chosen their happiness and at times sanity over convention, over family, over community. We’ve been friends since primary school but it shocks me to discover that we aren’t only united by a typical friendship and love of gossip, boys and fashion, but we share similar versions of the same story when it comes to our relationships with our families.
We aren’t the same, we are a mix of older children and an only child. WE are different races, different nationalities yet we’ve all had to deal in some way with being the black sheep of our respective families. Among us are do-gooders, and rebels, there are bad bitch characteristics and absolute nerd tendencies.
So how did we get here…?
Some view the black sheep of the family – there is an assumption that as soon as fluffy leaves the fold, things will get better. But in my reading, I’ve found another line of thinking. The black sheep plays a crucial role in family dynamics, they are the “care taker or holder of discharged family drama”. Through an unspoken agreement, one person will be and be used as a martyr for every familial problem.
Once this agreement or assumption is in place, the black sheep goes about living life and experiencing their own challenges. The family gets used to judging and placing blame on the black sheep for their difficulties as well as the family’s own difficulties too. Even events which the black sheep is not responsible for, somehow the family believes in their minds that the fluffy is culpable.
When enough is enough…
There is a general agreement among us that a major reason for some of the darkness within us, the issues we face is because we were too damn polite. Any criticising of our parents we felt would be seen as rude, disrespectful and honestly nothing good would come of it…it’s just the way things were. But everyone reaches a boiling point, whether they are doing it for themselves or seen to be self-sacrificing.
I think there is a hope with every little girl who decided to ‘get lost’ that the family will realise that without a scapegoat in the mix, they can turn the microscope on themselves and evaluate who they are the decisions they make. That the lost girl believes is the only way true healing can begin. Because healing is a two-way process. But she knows she cannot go through life believing she is the only one broken, or in need of ‘fixing.’ Of course while LG is trying to heal herself she hasn’t left in her entirety. The symbolism of her is still attacked, there is denial that she has healed, there is a denial that the family has issues, and a denial that someone could actually walk away from the family fold.
I’ve made it my year to reflect and not feel guilty about walking away from a situation that I believe was toxic, or pretty damn close to it. I was hurting by staying, and hurting others. And I knew that there would be backlash, sometimes its peaceful, sometimes it can be pretty ugly. But I figure each to her own coping mechanism.
Finding Neverland and what I have learned…
- I made the right decision to stay lost and I will continue to do so until I can handle re-entry. This is something only I know when that will be, and there is no forced deadline or pressure.
- I do not have to feel obligated to communicate – I do sometimes, when I feel I want to and can. But if I see a potentially hurtful situation arise, I give myself leave to stay clear of it.
- I break patterns, I’m creating my own rituals and traditions
- I get help, I have an entire support structure who are there for me in many different ways. I use it when I need to.
- I have the power.