The Love of Family
By: Jessica Manuel & Rev. Anthony Tarasca
One can never underestimate the impact love of family can have on an individual, as it lays a positive foundation to how we treat ourselves and others. When a child is raised in an environment of affection it is carried with them as they progress forward into adulthood. Alternatively a child that finds themselves in a loveless environment will carry a Chain of self-doubt and further still a lack of identity, which in turn can cause them to create an identity far removed from who they truly are.
Unconditional love should be freely given by the people who are supposed to love you the most, however many wrongfully put conditions on that love which sadly leaves a child to struggle with understanding what love truly is. Simply put, in order for one to give love one has to first learn how to receive love.
A Story from Jessica:
In the Beginning….
Despite what they say, I am normal.
Growing up in a broken family is difficult, it creates uncertainty, disappointment and self-doubt. At a young age I learned how to swallow my emotions and avoid reality because it wasn’t the reality that I wanted. As I grew up my circumstances coerced my identity into someone that I was not. Pretending to have it all together while broken inside created an indescribable weight on my shoulders. I would carry it to avoid judgement from others and gain acceptance in the crowd I associated with.
My twin sister was the only person in my family that I could talk to, she really was the only one that understood the pain we were enduring. Without sharing too much, we were once separated and the void of family hit me like a hundred punches to the stomach. Something was wrong and something needed to change.
My family was incomplete, communication non-existent and I was emotionally, physically and mentally damaged as a result. Now locked up in jail with a choice to make; was I going to allow my circumstances to define my outcome? We will find out….
Today as I write this, many years has passed and an immense amount of learning gained. I realized that love was a choice to make. Even though the people who were supposed to love me the most ended up disappointing me, it didn’t give me the right to disappoint others. Only I was responsible for the consequences and rewards that came from the choices I made. I not only created a new life for myself but I am proud to say that through a new family and group of friends, we redefined what family was, and it was never determined by blood.
If there is one thing to say it is that family is invaluable; it creates a bond that can not be broken and has the power to endure the worst of life’s storms. True friendships and family bonds are built on action, a result of witnessing; experiencing and receiving acts of kindness and selfless devotion As a result it can impact someone’s self-worth and identity. Where once I was lost I am now found, but it didn’t come without pain and accepting that my imperfections would be cherished, only when I would allow my insecurities and doubts to be broken.
A Story from Anthony:
In the beginning….
A stable family was something alien to me, as the environment I grew up in was one filled with rage, anger and hate. And while my mother did her best to keep me on the right track with genuine love and affection, the lack of a father figure, along with her working long hours to make ends meet, left me feeling alone, abandoned and without an identity. Today’s politically correct climate would have you believe that a child only needs one parent, but I am living proof through experience that this is not the case as a child needs both a mother and father to ensure that they are raised in such a way in which love becomes something that is both taken in and given out respectively. And as the child progresses into adulthood, it is a path they will not stray from. I felt no genuine affection from my father, as he was a very hard man who was unfaithful and abusive towards my mother. This had a negative impact on myself and my siblings, an impact that carried on later in life. I was separated from those I loved at a young age, from a love that could only be defined by that young age, a love that was never allowed to flourish, leaving me with no true understanding of what love is.
This lack of understanding what love was led me to make many bad choices into both my teen and adult years, choices that would have a serious impact on who I truly was. Lacking identity, I created an identity far removed from the real me and as a consequence I found myself riding with the “Sons Of Perdition”. This I will elaborate on further in the next parts of the series, but on a bright note, I eventually would come to understand what true love of family was, and it was most certainly a love that transcended genetics.
So, why do I write this? I write this to encourage others, as although I had a hard time finding love, the un-easy journey was well worth it. Through vulnerability and honesty I was able to eventually accept that who I truly am was enough to give to others, allowing me to not only receive kindness from other people but to expand friendships with those who would become family. Everyone needs a sense of family love, and it is never impossible to find. If I can do it, then without question you can too.
As you have read in these two stories, broken family units do not discriminate. Not only are the two writers generations apart, as well as male and female, the weight of a loveless family is the same. How we choose to react can be different however the choice remains the same. We all can make the choice to receive love from others, create a family and lean on others even though we have been hurt before. The excuses are there just to avoid the inevitable, that everyone needs connection. Your choice to find and receive this love even when you don’t feel worthy is the hardest part; there are many people out there that can share in your experiences because we all know what it feels like to be hurt and disappointed.
And, if you can’t find anyone, there are two people here that are willing to listen and share more insight as to how we overcame the Chains of generations to allow for new, healthy family bonds to be built.