A Family Affair


There is something spectacular about the pull of family. The intensity that comes with sharing a lifetime with another human, when you want them there and when you don’t, the unconditional affinity of the bond that winds one with another, the flood of integration beyond one’s bearings; it is not replicable. It is indescribable.

Since the beginning, I have contorted myself in a struggle to fill empty on distance. I have pulled back from passion, emotion, connection, leaving myself untouchable past any hug from which I rage-fully shrunk back. I left myself bare; no ties to a world I let myself slip out of.

As I walked back into my universe, and gave way to creating the foundations on which I could do so, I was resistant to introducing materials I’d often discarded in the past. I had opened myself to new possibilities, but was still very much tainted by the old. There were remnants of innate reactions sewn deep within my fabric which felt inexplicable, yet crucial.

When it came down to it, I had little interest in assimilating my family and my seventeen, eighteen, nineteen years of baggage into the cloth of my new world on a sincere level. I felt trapped by the conflicting cravings to exile and enmesh. I fell flat on grasping the truth of my sensations. I garbled with which direction to go and how to satisfy the holes in my chest. The easiest thing to do seemed to avoid and take myself out of the picture.

However, I was not alone in my process and though I screamed, cried, and fought to leave my family untouched, it, of course, became a primary component of my treatment. I was painfully desperate at this point in my path and had agreed to try everything, no matter what my thoughts were on the matter, so in I went to family session after family session after family session.

Talking on the phone today with both of my parents with no energy towards them other than gratitude, I recognize how significant the work I did there was. It is right at the core of that astonishing pull, that the most sensitive nerves of one’s lifeline exist. It is for that very reason that I now see how instinctively I trained myself to separate from what could make me feel most. I did not want any reason to foster guilt, power, or purpose. I couldn’t let hurt or love in.

With the transformation of my relationship with my family, I have laid the groundwork for various vibrations to penetrate my soul. It is not only gratitude I permit rumble, but resounding honor, sadness, curiosity, delight, hope, or any myriad of emotions. One I have felt frequently is pride.

I have always known my parents were good people, but I wasn’t sure if we could work well together. I guarded myself from acknowledging their power. In the growth and acceptance of our bond, I have been flooded with reasons to love, rather than to remove and have uncovered I come from heroes.

Beyond tolerating my extraordinary insanity for longer than anyone else probably could, my father has fought other demons. His path has not been simple or easy in any form. He has always inspired me with his stories, but recently I have let them touch me. My dad grew up in Alexandria, Egypt, in the depths of poverty. Unfathomable conditions and challenges continued to hit him throughout his upbringing. With a fight that manifested through his center, he immigrated to America in his late twenties with fifty dollars in his pocket and a medical degree. Having worked through internal and external hurdles, he created a life for himself of which he’d never dreamed.

About eighteen years ago, he discovered himself in a place where he was capable to give back. He developed a non-for-profit organization to go abroad and offer free surgery in developing nations. My father founded International Surgical Mission Support (ISMS) with a couple of friends, hands that knew how to work, and a thirst to help. I have had the privilege to watch it blossom into a multi-chapter organization that has saved thousands of lives.

Watching a video my dad sent me a couple of weeks ago covering his most recent trip to Ghana (watch below…it’s seriously unbelievable, definitely my newest shiny thing), I let this strike me; the man I come from is a hero. It was incredible. I feel inspiration, excitement, and wonder. I am proud. (I guess it was worth the family sessions)




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