10 BELOW 20

Submitted Date 03/20/2019

You know that saying of being in a room full of people, but feeling alone? That's me. Exactly how I always feel. That's exactly the sentiment of what is supposed to be "my family." The idea is this room is meant to be a home, a house I can call home, one that supports me (4 walls and support beams). You know, a foundation. However, instead, it's just smoke and mirrors. These 4 walls are suffocating me. One of my favorite artist Dawn Richard said it best, "cause we built castles, castles made of sand, Please don't let it fall, fall, fall," but it keeps falling, collapsing all over me, burying me alive. This bloodline is as thin as floss, though they tell you blood is thicker than water. Don't forget water is essential to life. Blood can have toxins too. That is how everything travels through our bodies, through our blood and blood stream. My blood has been contaminated by this idea that this is supposed to be "family," a virus. It's convinced my white blood cells, meant to protect me from threats (viruses), that it's safe, while it's infiltrated my heart and mind, programming my white blood cells that I'm the enemy and to attack me, slowly bursting my Utopian wonderland. Pop. Similar to sickle cell. The blood that's meant to provide life and support, is attacking me, convincing me that I'm the problem, to eliminate me. Isn't that similar to how narcissism works?

What's a family that's resistant to your growth, uncooperative to your dreams, and critical of your expression? It took me until my late young adulthood to realize I was living a fantasy. As Ariana Grande's 'in my head,' "Here's the thing: you’re in love with a version of a person that you've created in your head, that you are trying to, but cannot fix. Uh, the only person you can fix is yourself." I had been projecting what I wanted, what was, but no longer is, throughout my everyday life. That boat had sailed long ago, right into the Bermuda ^, and those bridges had already burned, like London bridges, just came crashing down. These people had already written me out of their story, and cropped me out of the family portrait. Insult to injury. During this time, they threw dirt all over my name, so I would be the culprit behind the dismantling of this Royal tale, and what would be seen as my demise ("self-destruction").

"Don't let anyone taint the home you built" - Sir David R Washington. You are your home. Anyone that wants to (a)company it, has to respect your boundaries, and not destroy. Charge them tax, and ask for insurance. Where's the collateral? How can they prove that they're not going to leave you rotting in debt? Can they co-sign full responsibility? If it's not a partnership, it's not needed. We're in this together, or it doesn't exist at all.

I realized that from an early age, I was already fine the way I was. My grandma told me at a very young age, as young as about 3-5 years old, that I wouldn't talk. I wouldn't talk to the extent that her and my uncle thought I was autistic. That was until one day they took me to a doctor to get me tested out, and I said something along the lines of, "I hear you." She said it was as if I could hear, but had blocked everyone out.

With age, I have realized, sometimes we grow, but we also lose things. We lose parts of our self, golden parts of ourselves, our core. Our young, child self, tends to be our most perfect self at times because it's our freest, truest self, without society's restrictions. We didn't have the mental security to tell us that expressing ourselves in any way was wrong; we just were. As I have recently dealt with horrific and traumatic events in my adulthood, I have realized that I need to go back to that self. At least to some extent. Back then, I would shelter myself off because I was protecting myself. It was my defense mechanism for dealing with the toxins of my family. I was disciplined for using the voice God blessed me to have; it was being used against me. So, I decided to keep my precious voice to myself, and use it only to a person and in a space that could appreciate it, my mind.

As I got older, I opened up that voice to people I thought I could trust, to build relationships and bond. Though I realized through adult development, that these individuals were only bonding with me for selfish gain. Now, I use my voice, but only to those that appreciate it. The great Dawn Richard said, something along the lines of (paraphrased a bit by me), there's no sense or point in trying to point out misconceptions and dismantle them because those people, most of those people, are people that have already built up how they feel about you.

As I've always said, "those people, are people that are always going to make something out of nothing. Where there's nothing, there's something for them. They will always create something out of nothing." You know how they say, "Where there's smoke, there's fire"? Sometimes there's not a fire. People create their own fire, and they want you to burn in it with them. Let them burn; you don't fight fire with fire. That's why biblically speaking, there's holy water. You fight it with water, just be cool and leave it alone.

I've learned to leave this chapter of my life alone. It's okay to be hurt; it's okay to speak your truth; it's okay to be angry. You have every right to be. But sometimes, expressing that to certain individuals is pointless if every time you yell, "it's a fire!," that you’re burning in, they're throwing gasoline on you. I've learned to adapt, just like I did when I was a kid. I just don't talk anymore. I cope by doing that, and having talks with myself, out loud and in my head, literally about the things that are happening in the now. I keep my focus on what I'm productively doing, in that moment, those happy moments. I actively work to keep my mind from going to the dark of what they've put me through, and what I am being put through. I don't give them my energy. As long as you know that you did nothing wrong, you can sleep peacefully at night because you are a good person. It’s okay; you didn't need to have a dialogue with them. Silence is truly golden, and it will rot them like the fool's gold of a heart, they portrayed to you.

Sometimes your closure, is closing that chapter and leaving. Think about it, can you truly get over someone and a break up, if you're still around them all the time, whether in person and/or following or stalking them on social media? Talk to yourself; make peace with yourself; forgive yourself. God created you just right, whole and good.


As I say, "don't let anyone taint the house you've built."



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  • Tomas Chough 5 years ago

    I really appreciate you sharing this David. I'm going through this as well, in a different way but it still resonates. Your experience and advice helps me see my own situation more clearly. Thank you.

    • Oh, wow. That's very sad. I'm glad that you could appreciate my current and life story, and that my advice helps you. That really like makes me feel great, and feel like it was all worth it (sharing my story).

  • No name 4 years, 11 months ago

    It's all about adapting these days, isn't it?

  • Darlene Hayder 4 years, 11 months ago

    'As I say, "don't let anyone taint the house you've built."' Very powerful! Thank you for sharing this. I can relate to the toxicity that can be family. People get consumed in thinking they are obligated to the people that abuse them because they share DNA.

    • David Ross Washington Jr 4 years, 10 months ago

      You're welcome Just now seeing this. It is true people really do believe that they're obligated to be abused by individuals because they share a blood line.

  • Julie Nunn 1 year, 7 months ago

    The child within us IS the real us. Before we got programmed into conformity. Finding your way back to that simplicity and purity after years of others hammering you with what or who you "should be" is challenging to say the least. But I suspect based on all you said here, that you are well on your way to finding it! Sending blessings...🙏

  • Julie Nunn 10 months ago

    Maya Angelou said at one point in her life she was mute as well because of trauma. It's not unheard of to use this as a coping mechanism. But your voice is important. And I see just how important it is in your writing. It's a lot harder when the people who are trying to bring you down are family. But I have discovered that just because people are "family", that does not entitle them to a place in your life unless they do something to earn it. And if they don't, or if they are blatantly cruel, you have every right to eject them from your life with zero regrets. Life is short my friend. Too short to spend on people who don't appreciate the gift of your voice...