Finding Beauty

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Sweater: Ruche - Size M
Belt: Anthropologie - Size M
Necklace: Target
Boots: Steve Madden Candence Boots

"All the tears I cried never salted any wounds. Well, the earth is so tender and cruel. Well, if you're not there, it's still so beautiful." - Delta Spirit

Oh, the irony of life. As I told you in the last post, I've been thinking a lot about my estranged dad lately. Well, yesterday, fate saw fit that we should be in the same room together for the first time in almost a year. It was a stressful afternoon to say the least, but I came out of it with a better perspective on life.

My boys had their yearly checkups, so I picked them up from school early. After their appointment, I drove them to my ex-husband's house, since it is his week with the kids. My ex greeted us when we got there and told me that his hot water heater had broken that morning. He asked if I would mind staying to help the kids with their homework, because he was going to be working on the water heater and didn't think he would have the time. I told him I would be glad to help and went inside with the boys to get them started on their homework.

As I was sitting at the kitchen table, helping my oldest son with his math, I heard the sound of my dad's voice outside. My heart dropped to my stomach. I was really nervous about the possibility of seeing him after such a long time. When he walked in, I looked at him, smiled and said, "Hey, daddy." He didn't even look my way and completely ignored me. I felt like somebody had stabbed me with a knife but did my best not to show any emotion. My son saw what happened, looked at me, and said, "Grandaddy didn't even speak to you." I said, "Yes, I know," and we continued on with his math problems. A few minutes later, the man who has worked on my family's farm for years came in with a dolly to carry out the old water heater. He saw me, smiled, and we both greeted each other. My son then leaned over and quietly said "Well, at least Jose said hey to you, mommy." 

At that moment, it hit me. A realization inspired by my 10 year old son's observations: I don't need a relationship with my parents. There are other people in this world who accept me and love me for who I am. Love is the tie that binds us, not blood. I know, it seems like such a simple concept, but I had been so focused on the opinions of these 2 people that I had lost sight of anything else. I would love nothing more for them to embrace me and tell me they are proud of me and love me, but it's not going to happen. I have to accept that. My mother has told me that she wished she never had me. My dad has spoken the most vicious and mean words toward me, and now he won't speak to me at all. I have cried many tears and felt completely worthless because my own parents have rejected me. However, sometimes I forget that they are just people too. They don't have to be in my life. Maybe it's time to let go. There are people who are glad I'm in this world. They speak words of kindness and love. They choose to see the beauty in this world and inspire me to see it too. These are the people I want to focus on and surround myself with, not those who tear me down.

I spotted this little patch of flowers in the middle of a run down neighborhood. It was in the backyard of a boarded up house. It gave me hope that even in the middle of this abandoned and rejected neighborhood, some beauty still remains. I have hope that I can still live a fulfilling life without my parents. They may not see the beauty in me, but there are others who do, and those are the ones who matter.

Delta Spirit - Salt in the Wound

CONVERSATION

39 comments:

  1. you are beautiful <3

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  2. I'm so sorry you had to experience that, Bonnie. But I'm also proud of you for realizing that you can't torture yourself trying to change the minds of people who just don't want to have their minds changed. Maybe eventually they'll come around, but in the mean time, you have a live.

    Also, these colors look amazing on you! A lot of people (myself included) have a hard time wearing yellow, but you glow in it!

    xo Julie

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  3. Bonnie I am so sorry to read about how your parents have treated you. It is painful to read, I can only imagine how it feels to experience it. Your insight is right on target though. Somebody used a metaphor about an acorn once and I loved it. They told me that an acorn has everything inside of it to become a big strong oak tree and to grow and thrive, but if you put it in an unhealthy environment with malnourished soil and not enough moisture and light, it will never reach its potential. However if you put that same little acorn in healthy soil, with plenty of water and sunshine, it will grow and thrive. It's the same little acorn, but its well-being is so impacted by the environment in which it's placed. I am glad you are choosing to look at where you do feel love an allowing yourself to be surrounded by that.

    On a lighter note - I love this dress! I couldn't resist buying it in 2 colors. I love the way you paired it with the yellow cardigan and belt. What a beautiful spring outfit :-) Just like sunshine.

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  4. Bonnie - thank goodness for those who love us unconditionally! I'm glad you have those people in your life, and I'm sorry that it is so difficult between you and your parents. Beautiful photos, as always.

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  5. Toxic relationships that beat you down, demean you and leave you feeling awful are just not good in one's life, even if they are with your own parents. I applaud you for making some positive realizations in your life here, Bonnie. They are very healthy! I know I have said it before but you probably should always keep the door semi-open, reach out on occasion but other than that, focus on the healthy, positive relationships in your life. I have far too much personal experience with stuff like this, unfortunately. When it really hit me how important self-protection is was when I had a child of my own (he is now 10!). I found myself becoming so upset about the nature of the relationship I had with my parents (one parent at the time) that it affected my daily life. How can it not be transferred onto your children? I knew that I had to protect my child; that I had to be there for him wholly and not encumbered with constant battles that I was fighting with my parent. The other thing to consider is the example that you are setting for your own children. By allowing toxic relationships in your life, you are essentially teaching your child that it is okay for somebody to beat you up emotionally. I never wanted any of that for my kids so I've kept things at a distance with the parent mentioned. I did keep the door open though. It did get better after many years but I am still very careful.

    I am sorry that you have to go through this. I don't understand it at all and never will. I am glad that you are strong enough to know that it is not okay.

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  6. Bonnie, I'm so sorry to hear how things went with your dad. In the past, my dad and I have had two arguments that ended in some horrible name-calling and estrangement, so I can relate to your pain. T I think you have the right attitude about all of this. You definitely took the high road here and that's the best you can do. There are clearly a lot of people in your life who love you and accept you for who you are; those are the people who matter in the end. I just hope that someday your dad comes around and welcomes you into his life again. Even when our parents are flawed (or just downright mean), their love and acceptance is hard to replace, so I hope you can have that again someday.

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  7. IdreamofanthropologieMarch 22, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    I rarely comment on your blog, but I want to comment today.
    I am so sorry that your parents felt the need to tell you that they wished you were not born. That is a horrid thing to say to anyone. It speaks more to their mental state than your own. If you are anything like me, it makes you more determined to never make your own children feel unwanted or unloved. At this point, those kids should get all the love you haven't felt.
    Again, your worth is not determined by what others say you are, but by who God says you are. That is always truth.

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  8. Bonnie,
    You're absolutely right about there being validity in your choices, and in choosing who you want to be your family. If someone wants to be so vicious and to keep on rejecting you, you have no obligation to let them continue hurting you. Being somebody's pinata isn't virtuous, it's just masochistic and a waste of time.

    You've given your parents plenty of chances. They need to meet you half-way, and it seems they're not even willing to make even one tiny step. You have to take care of yourself. To all those who say you shouldn't cut off a family member, I say they're just mindless robots obeying somebody else's dogma. It doesn't make the world a better place to relentlessly *glom* onto family members who constantly reject you and say hurtful things. Nobody's better off because of that.

    So I admire your strength and awareness. Don't let the haters get you down!

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  9. You act as though you have made no actions for your parents to react to, as is their own right. They can only be themselves, as you so often claim as your own right. You have obviously made decisions and changes in your life that they disagree with.. and as you say everyone has a right to continue to do as they see fit. Haven't you said time and again how important it is to not just take the road of least disagreement when your heart tells you something is wrong?

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    1. Of course they're allowed to disagree with her choices, but to wish she had never been born? You don't find that an unnecessarily cruel reaction?

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    2. I find both actions Bonnie and her parents have taken can be characterized as cruel from the outside. I am not involved in this however. I am merely pointing out that her parents are entitled to live their lives as they feel they have to just as Bonnie has decided to. They likely feel quite justified in their appraisal of Bonnie, and their need to distance themselves, based on her actions.

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  10. Hey girly! I just wanted to say that your hair looks amazing! xoxo

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  11. Oh, Bonnie, hugs! I don't even know you and I am glad you are in this world. Your blog inspires me and I really enjoy reading it. I am so sorry about your parents and I do hope you find the peace you need to move on. God bless!

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  12. I rarely comment, but I will say that I feel terribly sad for what you are going through. No one deserves to be treated like a pariah by their parents. I am glad that you realize that your worth as a human being is not determined by their behavior towards you.

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  13. Great post. I have a friend who has a horrible relationship with her sister, who is just a mean, bitter person. My friend keeps reaching out to her sister and gets abused verbally each time as a result. I hope at some point she comes to the realization you have. You can have a fulfilling life if you want and fight for it. Remember it is your parents loss as well and hopefully they will realize that before it doesn't matter anymore.

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  14. Great post Bonnie. Your parents have chosen to be toxic and treat you poorly. The only choice you have is to take the abuse or walk away. I think you are doing the right thing. We may not choose who we are related to, but we certainly can choose who we associate with. Easier said than done, of course!

    And I love this outfit! I think it's pretty and flattering and just right for spring!

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  15. You should NEVER have to put up with disrespect, even from family.....maybe even especially family. As I commented in the last post...What do these people get out of this? It causes problems in the extended family.....Aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Do you have siblings?

    On a different note...This was my favorite outfit to date. Only one negative....this is spring....no more boots. Just my opinion!

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  16. Bonnie, I have no doubt that your parents do love you, immensely. They have put up a barrier to "teach you a lesson" or out of pride. Good for you for recognizing that the barrier is something you have no control over. In my very humble opinion, the most that you can do is to remind yourself that they love you, but to not put any energy into changing their behavior. Put your energy into those people who will warmly radiate it back to you.

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  17. You look adorable. Loved your outfit and that place!

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  18. Have you thought about apologizing for what must have hurt them very much? You wouldn't be saying you're sorry you made the decision you did in life, but apologies scan go a long way and apologizing for anything you did that hurt them can go a long way.

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  19. FatcowinatargetoutfitMarch 27, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    I hope you've learned from your parents' mistakes. It is so easy for cycles to repeat in families.

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  20. Thanks for commenting. I agree. If you should get unconditional love from anyone, it should be from your parents. However, they are human just like the rest of us, and, as such, they don't know everything. This fact helps me to not put much stock into what they think about me.

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  21. Thanks for commenting. Yes, I am determined to raise my children much differently than I was raised. I let them know they are loved in many different ways and do my best to encourage them in everything they do.

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  22. Yes, I have apologized for hurting them. My mom has come around, but I've realized that we will never be really close again. In some ways, I think that is a good thing, because even though we were close, we had a really unhealty relationship. I've called my dad several times and invited him over, but he doesn't come. I plan to still call him on holidays, but if he doesn't want anything to do
    with me, I can't force it. I can only control what I do, and I choose to just let him know I'm still here if he ever wants to reconcile.

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  23. This is great advice, Louise!

    Just curious, is this Louise from Running on Anthro?

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  24. I don't understand it either, Bea. I have an older sister, and we still get along, so no problems there. If fact, she helped us find our house.

    Glad you liked the outfit! Oh no, not the boots! It's still March. No way the boots are going this early! :-)

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  25. Thanks for the advice and the compliment!

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  26. Thanks! I went to the salon the night before this shoot. Wish I could make my hair look as good as my stylist does!

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  27. I love what you have said here, Susan! Thanks!

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  28. Ah, I love me a good metaphor! Thanks for this one!

    I know what you mean about this dress. It's freaking awesome! I'm tempted to buy it in the pink colorway as well.

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  29. It's so nice to hear someone is proud of me. Thanks!

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