I am accustomed to people verbally bashing my biological mother. I know they do this to try to try to make me feel better and show their loyalty to and siding with me when my mother’s loyalty wavered and left me. The number one comment that is a question put unto me about my mother with disgust, shock, and sadness is: “How can a mother leave their child?”
What they and many do not know is the #1 gift I received from my mother was a lesson on loyalty. The only way I learned about and could fully open and appreciate this gift was through my mother crushing loyalty by her leaving. When she left, I made promises to myself: I would be the strong one when everyone was weak. I would give and people could take from me. I would stand up when everyone sat. I would stay when everyone walked away. I would be loyal when everyone left and turned their backs. I would NEVER become her. I would NEVER become my mother.
Over thirty years later and I finally get a glimpse into explanations to why my mother and why some people leave others when life is at its worst rather than its best. The truth is that it is exhausting, tiring, draining, and completely unrealistic to always be the strong one who stands tall and who has EVERYONE taking. The truth is that feelings of resentment, anger, and being taken advantage kick in and the thoughts run faster than the speed of light going: “Well, who the heck cares about me?” The truth is that there is a very thin and fine line that I am learning about loyalty that there may come a point when you have to leave. Everyone wants to be cared for and considered. It is never just a one way street, but when it becomes one way, that is when the roads split. There you are at a crossroads to keep on walking and staying the same course out of loyalty and comfort and the roles that were created or to leave and try new and change with boundaries and limitations.
I recently had a conversation with my sister about loyalty:
I said, “Well, you cannot just leave someone when that person is at their worst. It is easy to leave at the worst and stay at the best when it needs to be the opposite.”
“Sometimes, you cannot always stay. Sometimes, you have to leave.”
“When do you know to leave or to be loyal?” I asked.
“When it is toxic to you.”
So, I can understand. I can even say that I get it. I can even now explain (not defend) my mother by saying: “Well, sometimes, the greatest gift you can give a person and to yourself is to leave.” It is only when someone leaves and when you yourself leave that you learn the value of loyalty. A person cannot be completely selfless without any boundaries or limitations. A person cannot always be loyal and stay true on the outside when there are negative and ill effects on the inside. Suffice to say, the unwavering loyalty that I held dear to me and against my mother wavers and I am about starting new. People may not like it. People may not even like you. But, what I am learning about at the core of loyalty is to be loyal to others, you have to be loyal and true to yourself.
Loyalty is very delicate that entails you continuing to stay or maybe eventually having to leave. When does loyalty end and the choice is to leave and start anew? Have you ever reflected on the roles you are in and how they were created and kept or when you had to leave these expectations of you? Have you ever said that you will never become one of your parents only to realize that you are following in their footsteps? When have you had to purposefully leave and loyalty ended because it was toxic to you? What does loyalty entail? How loyal are you?