Marriage seems to have given me a new perspective on several things, but most specifically, it has widened my understanding of family ties and dynamics. I now find myself perfectly comprehending the internal family dynamics that pushed and pulled and confused my own mother, way back in the past. Having begun to walk my own path in her shoes, I have a new sense of revelation of everything related to family. The shoes that I am walking in, are the shoes that every bride and wife walks in. But, a few years earlier, I would have never guessed that these shoes held so much in them to define my feelings towards family units.
They have taught me how immeasurably significant my own family clan is to me. Having taken my own family and extended family for granted for decades, I have now come to this place of such intense longing for my own people, that it surprises me immensely. A recent family reunion has left me homesick or rather family-sick, for perhaps the very first time. Even though my own parents were not part of the gathering, I felt, so very very much, at home. It felt so overwhelmingly good to BELONG, so very unconditionally, just implicitly. Despite the petty differences and the inevitable trivialities simmering in the background, I reveled in the certainty that I am implicitly accepted for who I am, and just the way I am. I will remain inextricably a part of them, and the feeling was so heady, so comforting, so peaceful. The feeling screamed - "Your are one of the daughters of the clan". Period. I carry in my veins the unique legacy and history that everybody around me shares and identifies with. Uncles, aunts, and cousins mirror me - myself, something strong within my core. And that moves me, refreshes me, in a way I never imagined possible. I could grasp that common thread that binds us and that transmits love, no matter what. For it assures me that I don't have to guard myself every minute; that I don't have to think twice, thrice, before uttering every single sentence; that I don't have to replay my responses in my head and worry if I did alright; that I don't have to be cautious of my every action; that I don't have to EVER wonder if I'm being judged, evaluated, scanned, or scrutinized; that I don't have to fret over whether I'm being accepted, and if I would be allowed to belong.
It felt exhilarating to not wonder about my acceptance and place. Acceptance embraced me from every nook. The sense of belonging that pervaded me is a precious tonic, a loving shoulder to lean on. I have never smiled so much, and so openly and happily in a very long time. I never thought I would be moved by meeting second cousins for the very first time.
I'm grateful for these ties that always hold me tight, no matter where I go. And I'm grateful for the joy that my primordial sense of belonging gives me. I can now understand the fierce protectiveness that people cultivate towards their place of belonging. I know, it's the motivation of our selfish genes, but nonetheless, I am grateful.