Thursday, April 9, 2015

Family Encounters

I talked with E today. We all met at lunch: my parents, Sissy, T, and E. My mom's brother's daughter is T, and E is her daughter. E has two older brothers, and she is the only girl. I didn't know too much about her life recently--hardly anything, in fact--so I asked her questions as we walked around the city. She bought some $35 earrings, so I knew she had some money. I can't remember what I asked her, but she said she was a brat. I had not gotten that impression at all before. But as she explained things, I kind of got sad.

I think T really wanted a girl, and T is pretty feminine. Probably after the stress of her two boys, she wanted to lavish E's presence. E explained that she gets what she wants. She also answered my follow-up questions, so I learned that she's a senior in high school without a license, she doesn't know how to work hard, she has no clear passion, all of her temporal needs have been taken care of by her parents, and she hardly has any life experience. She is dependent.

I felt like I was looking at a similar version of me. I have more of a drive to live now and to accomplish things, but it has taken a long time, and I lamented that she was raised that way. I guess struggle really teaches you to value life and work hard to accomplish a clear goal, but she had no vigor for such an endeavor. She needed a catalyst--either a radical experiment to teach her to be independent on her own or to gradually accept adult responsibilities (but it also must happen in the time that she wills it and not forced upon her). How can you work with someone who doesn't have passion? Should we not be zealous to live life? Aren't we grateful to have something to work for?

I have never been a fighter. I admire activists who have known what right is and have fought to preserve it at all costs. They have an inner moral compass that steers them independent of popular social belief. I wish to eventually fight hard for something, to know my purpose and to boldly declare it.

I do not doubt that E has that fire within her. But it is kept under many layers. It will take a lot of effort to bring it back up.

I was nervous about being alone with her. She is quieter than I am, so I felt responsibility to create the conversation. But as I opened up about myself and what I have learned, my words endeared her to me. She was grateful I spent time with her.

I hope my words inspired her to act. She must not use her circumstance as an excuse to spiral downward. She much make conscious choices to act, to work her way out of dependence, and to shape her own future, for it will not come to her without effort.