Decisions can be arrived at quickly or through pains-taking processes. Sometimes, I am internally conflicted. Often, really. What to eat, what time to wake up, which mug to use. And so - small decisions - I try to allow them to be small. And when decisions are larger, sometimes it is more challenging.
What makes decisions extra hard:
1. When I agree with more than one answer
2. When the stakes seem high
3. When other people stand against what I think
4. When I'm ambivalent
5. When it's an emotional topic
6. When I might look like the bad guy
7. When other people stand to lose something
8. When I stand to lose something
9. When I am anxious or wanting reassurance
10. When life will 'never be the same'
For example, my decision to choose medicine took some time, but it's not something I currently consider up for discussion. My choice to be out instead of closeted took time and was difficult, but I am not going back. Other choices are more difficult, still.
I'm being vague and clinical.
What I mean is...I struggle with estrangement from my immediate family.
I have been shown many times and in many ways that I am not important to them. The lessons on emotions and relationships they have tried to impart - When it counts, pretend everything is fine. When stressed, act nonchalant. When in pain, don't allow anyone to see this. Don't let them see you sweat. And no one wants to hear your problems.
In other words, for my family, the appearance of stability and lack of vulnerability of any Southwick is more important than my feelings, my dignity, and even my life.
I have an urge to make a case to you, my void, that I am right in my decision. And sometimes when I make the case, I feel better. Sometimes, I obsess more.
This situation pits some of my highest values against one another -
1. My loyalty to my family
2. My desire to be loved by my family
3. My empathy for my family
4. My own integrity
To tolerate or passively bystand an abusive cycle is to participate in the abuse.
It's 3 against 1 (in more ways than one), and the underdog (my integrity) is winning. It is exhausting holding this line, but I'm doing it, because I am working hard to love myself, and have respect for myself, first.
Mutual respect must underpin a real, functioning relationship. Each party must be able to be his/her/their full selves.
But pretending is no longer an option for me. I have nothing if I have no integrity. If I don't have myself, I'm not even a real person.
I must choose myself.