Though I wish we could, we don’t get to pick the families we are born into.
We do, though, one day get to pick those who raise us.
My life may not be typical, but it’s beautiful.
I haven’t been home in over seven years, and that’s my choice.
I’ve chosen to live a better life—one in which love is around every corner, my true self can finally develop, and my younger child parts within me are free to run and play, as all children should be able to do.
I don’t go “home” for Christmas or other holidays, but I always manage to find a home wherever I am.
My so-called “family” may not be traditional, but it’s one in which I’m embraced and encouraged to be my authentic self. I have a long way to go in developing this, but I’m beginning to see her take form. She’s beautiful, strong, and smiles the same as the picture of the five-year-old I keep in my jewelry box.
I may struggle still with mental health from time to time, but I’m getting stronger. I’m beginning to hold space for all my parts. I thank them for their roles in my life and allow them to step aside so my adult self can continue on with her life’s purpose.
As the holidays are approaching us again, I do, at times, think about the home I won’t be returning to. Though there is much anger and pain still within me, I thank my past for what it has taught me, and for it placing me on this road filled with community and lifelong learning.
My family isn’t typical, but it’s beyond beautiful. It may not be common or understood, but I am thankful for being able to call on my families in Costa Rica and Brazil, friends across the world, and the Sangha community of monks if I’m ever in need of reminders that I’m not alone.
It’s a place deep within your soul that glows—a place where one’s ego does not exist.
It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever known.
*Originally published on Elephant Journal
Rebecca Donaldson is a confessional poet, a Speech-Language Pathologist, and a PhD student in Positive Developmental Psychology. Her research interests include adverse childhood experiences, resiliency, narrative identity, and personality development across the lifespan. She writes on topics pertaining to psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, inequity, and the shamed soul with Borderline Personality Disorder. She believes therapy should be collaborative between client and therapist and writes to advocate for improved treatment for clients with BPD, complex PTSD, and DID. For her, writing is a medium of self-expression in which she can be open, honest, and reflective about the mud in her life and the flowers which grow from it. She attempts to be raw with the world as she is with her friends and disowns all labels of mental illness. She is a human being, a researcher, and a dancer of Brazilian Forrô.