it’s the eve of chinese new year and i’m spending some time reflecting… not necessarily on the last year, but on life.
it’s no question that the last year was a challenge, but just as i begun to think that the year couldn’t get worse, i found myself feeling the darkest moments of it in its final weeks.
in september, i started an exercise to force myself to write again, and on a daily basis—some of it, i eventually posted here, but most of it is in a journal. it started out really cathartic—encouraging me to deal with feelings i’d otherwise suppressed. but it quickly started to unearth feelings i didn’t realize i was having. and much of it quickly broke me.
i’ve since stopped journaling. it was too… exposing.
but in the spirit of the new year, i’ve been reading through my entries. and on september 28th, i wrote words i’d never imagined i’d think much less write out…
“if i’m not an auntie, who or what am i?”
between my two brothers, i have nine nieces and nephews. as if that weren’t plenty, when you also take into consideration the children of my cousins and friends, i have A LOT of nieces and nephews. while i’ve never really been keen on having kids of my own, i loved, loved, LOVED being an auntie. and everyone would tell you i was the best damn auntie they’d ever known. that was my thing.
the problem with this was that i’d lost myself in the process. who knows exactly at what point that happened, but it became very obvious this past year.
there was an incident that happened within my family last year—and i’m not going to talk about the incident itself so as to protect the privacy of the kids involved—but it occurred “under my watch“, so to speak. to be clear, i didn’t know it happened until a week or so after the fact. still, there’s no question the amount of guilt i felt just thinking that maybe if i’d done anything differently at that time, that i could have prevented it.
it didn’t matter.
because as soon as word spread about what happened, i wasn’t anything more than an auntie—and a bad one at that.
it’s as though i just ceased to exist…
as a daughter,
everyone just disappeared. and i was made an enemy.
all of a sudden, i was the one they distanced themselves from. i’m the one they stopped talking to. i’m the one they blocked or unfriended/unfollowed on social media.
just like that.
after being the one who only ever tried to help. after being the one who would listen at any hours of the day. after being the one who, without hesitation, spent time, effort, and money. after loving unconditionally.
only to be met with conditions.
and so, as hard as it was, i spent the following months learning how to love myself first—to not take for granted the qualities that made me the auntie i was and to be proud to be that… person.
maybe i’m not the world’s greatest auntie anymore. maybe those days have come to an end. but i’m a damn good… person.
and as we enter a new year, i am embracing her.
and i sure as hell won’t apologize for it.
happy new year, y’all.