“One of the joys of forgiving is that we experience a wonderful freedom in our lives. Holding grudges keeps us focused on our pain—on ourselves. Forgiveness frees us to focus on God and on what His plan holds for us.”

-David Stoop (Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves)

I begin the chronicle of my family life by prefacing that in this journey down memory lane, I am, indeed, embarking on a foreign territory.

To most people, family means everything to them. Michael J. Fox’s quote, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything” epitomizes the value that Western society, and frankly most societies all over the world, place on family.

Family should be everything. A family should be filled with unconditional love, care, warmth, protection and growth. Moreover our most treasured heirlooms should be the memories of and with our family.

However, in opening up about my family and upbringing, it pains me to say that I am an anomaly in this regard, and this has not been emblematic of my experience. In other words, while most people’s recollection of family is filled with pleasant memories of much joy and happiness,

peace never reigned in my family.

Thus, I narrate my experience fully aware that I may be one of the only ones who will not have the privilege of sharing this project with my family, for obvious reasons that are made clear in the subsequent pages. Rather, recounting my family’s history has been therapeutic in helping me heal and come to terms with the bitter, suppressed truths of the past, and with developing the courage to forge a better path ahead.

This project will not bring my family together. Unlike most of my peers, it will not be a reuniting apparatus to which my family can bond over, reliving fond memories of the past.

This is my diary.

I’ve never really thought about my upbringing and my childhood, as well as the effects it has had on me my entire life so this is new for me. I have always managed to suppress my emotions, bottle them up and think ahead–convinced that the only way to cope and to survival is to think of a better future ahead.

This is new.

My mother would always tell me growing up, “Never dare to air your dirty laundry in public,” meaning to never disclose private affairs to non-family members. I lived according to this for so long.

However, this has also held me back…

To that, I now write fully prepared to let go, to forgive and to live again.