Whoa! It’s been quite some time since I’ve been on here, but I’m back. So my time at home and at NASPA is wrapping up. I want to spend the next couple posts reflecting on what I’ve learned since I’ve been home and through my experience with NASPA. Is that okay? I hope so.
So everyone knows how much I complained about you know well, living at home this summer. I wasn’t complaining because I disliked my family. I was complaining because I knew I would be giving up my own personal space and go back to sharing a house with my wonderful, wonderful family. I’m sure you all have a pretty good picture of what life is like with the Maffetts; it’s great, ha! Before I got home, all I could think about was losing that sense of my own space and my own freedom. I dreaded it. There were a couple reasons why I primarily took the internship at home, but living at home was not one of them. I’m not saying this to make my family feel bad or anything, because I know they’re reading this, but I’m just being honest.
Being at home has shown me this is just what I’ve needed. Since I went to college after high school, I’ve been pretty independent. I’ve worked and lived on my own during the academic year and most summers during college. I’m used to taking care of myself and generally living by myself. I’ve housed myself, paid for myself, fed myself, and developed a support system of college friends and res life mentors. That in a sense became my new family. I love it. I love my space and I love being able to do what I want to do on my time.
I’ve also changed a lot. I’ve barely matured, but most of all, I’ve fully come into who I am. High school is always that awkward toss up of trying to be you and trying to fit in. I don’t remember struggling with that too much, but now I am fully Brittany Maffett and continuing to grow more into and learn more about that person. I’m not 100% the same person I was when my family first sent me away for college. Knowing that always causes me a little tension when I go home. There are things about me that just don’t always “fit” with my family, so sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in. I’ve never felt like my family didn’t like me or anything, but I’m just the odd ball at times. My lifestyle is just different from that of my family. I’m sure many are thinking about my sexuality, but it’s not just that. It’s a lot of stuff. The way I talk, socialize, dress, think work, my passions…they’re just different. At school, they aren’t different, so that’s where I generally find my comfort.
Being at home was just what I needed. I’m not the oddball at all. I’m just like the rest of my family and am appreciated as much as everyone else. We all have our differences, mine may be a little more off the deep end than my siblings, but we are still equally my parent’s pride and joy. I am not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but I needed that. I needed that reassurance. It’s come in several ways throughout the summer. The way my mother expresses her love for us is incredible. We’ve never been a big Brady Bunch type family, but we all work hard, love hard, and be the best we can be. From my mom’s chair rants to complaining about my cleanliness to even my traumatic experience, my mother loves me. It’s an incredible love. It’s a love that my own “independence” felt I didn’t need at times.
Isn’t that crazy?
We get so “big” and “on our own” that we feel we don’t need those people and things that really are our core. We make so many friends and go into different jobs and feel like yeah, I got this. Well, when I was in Boyds, MD, who did I call? I needed this summer to really love, appreciate, and respect my family again the way I did when I grow up in this house. I needed this summer to see the value my family places over my life and to assure myself that I’m not the outcast. I needed this summer to fight with my brother again and sing with my sister despite her being unimpressed with my voice. I needed this summer to be with the most important people who I seemed to have pushed aside through my need for independence. I needed this summer to see again why I’m so excited to one day have my own family and share these same memories with my own loved ones.
This is probably the last time, God willing, that I’ll live at home for an extended period of time. It was an incredible time. I hung out with old friends and spent good time with my family. There’s more I could have done, but this lesson right here made it all worth it. I love my family and I hope to never forget or lose that connection no matter where I end up. I don’t want to get so involved in myself and what I’m doing that I forgot it was Charlotte and James raising that brought me where I am. Again, we we were never the big Brady Bunch family, but my parents instilled in me some values that lead me to the success I have today. My parents worked hard; they worked very hard so that we didn’t have to see any struggle or poverty. My parents disciplined us to be respectful and taught us how to talk to people. My parents taught us responsibility. I’m the baby, so I mean you know how that goes, but they held us to a standard and disciplined us when we didn’t meet expectations.
I’ve tried to credit myself and my mentors for where I am, but it’s not me. It’s not them. It’s the only people that I am God’s gift to– my family. I am thankful to have relearned that valuable lesson this summer.