Some things just take time


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Posted by Maureen on September 10, 2002 at 06:48:16:

In reply to: What to do about unsupportive family posted by Nancy on September 9, 2002 at 18:07:23:

Hi Nancy,

I think that it is often difficult for parents in particular and
often other family members as well, when they are confronted with
something that makes them view you in a way other than the way they
have always viewed you. A visual is very powerful. Sounds like they
had a notion that you were into mehndi, but perhaps it took seeing it
to really know what that meant in terms of their having to make a
mental shift in their image of who you are. If you think about it,
their know of you has never been with designs on your hand. Those
are not the hands they know. You brought new hands into the house
this time. It can certainly take parents a while to digest that and
to even come to terms with what they are thinking about it. Their
first reaction may well not be their last reaction.

That your father rubbed it is interesting to me. That was one way
for him to understand it. Does it rub off? I guess he was hoping
that it did...LOL!!! But, it takes people a while to "take in" what
this mehndi/henna thing is if they don't know what it is and are
first time seeing it. I remember some of my family members questions
were related to what the henna stains meant in terms in change in
me. Did I change my religion? Were the symbols significant of some
new belief system? They were clueless. And I had to be patient with
their quest to find out what this meant about me. Soon it all
settled out. I had not changed. I was still the same person. All
was well with their world and their sense of who they thought/think I
am.

Some family members are always my ready subjects. Others remain
fascinated from a distance. My brother, who is a minister, is
fascinated with my talk about henna/mehndi and when he comes into
town, always wants me to mix up some paste for him to take back with
him. He is not going to ever use it on himself and would have to be
hospitalized if his wife ever used it. But he is obviously
demonstrating it and showing it to somebody.

When you bring something new into a family system, pretty often you
have to steel yourself and allow people to take the new thing in, in
the best way that they can and in their own time. I have no doubt
that if you hold on to your own appreciation of your henna designs,
that your father and mother will come along. Will your hands with
henna designs on them ever be the hands of their child that they have
in their minds eye? Probably not. But your henna hands are and will
be the hands of their child that they love.

Even when grown and no matter how old one gets, for most parents,
there exists their own "reality" of who and what their child is and
does. And the hardest part of being a parent is often when our
children grow up and we realize that as they live their own lives,
they may and often do and must, live in ways totally different from
our "reality." Sometimes the powerlessness of that situation can
make parents say things and act in ways other than ideal. But as you
change and grow in ways that seem "away" from them, know that
sometimes that is hard for them. Sometimes a henna design is not
just a henna design. Sometimes it is also a symbol of something you
learned separate from them. It is inevitable...but it is not easy.

Maureen

 


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