Jokingly I asked, “Is he your boyfriend?”
Her reply was unexpected and she said it with such honesty,
“I don’t know what we are.”
This is a pretty common response in relationships lately. Facebook even has a relationship option of “It’s Complicated” so we are able to define the complexity of whatever it is we are engaged in. The only catch with this particular scenario is this is a 10 year old girl.
What I have come to terms with in my line of work is I cannot undo the circumstances where my clients find themselves. That’s a difficult pill to swallow. I want the world to be right. I want them to be children and enjoy the carefree life of riding bicycles, playing sports, taking dance classes, eating meals with their family and learning about life through healthy friendships and relationships.
This isn’t always the case, you see, it’s complicated.
I want to clarify something as I continue. We often site “society” as a realm of influence on us or our children and I feel the need to make clear: WE ARE SOCIETY. So as I carry on this discussion, don’t be surprised when I talk about us, we and our role and duty to remedy train wreck lines of thought.
We’ve taught our children these varied reflections of relationship and commitment. We’ve blurred the lines of value and worth and wrapped them up in packages of competition and unhealthy, deformed relationships.
We’ve witnessed examples of broken relationships that have caused hurt in our lives. Our own brokenness drives the decisions we make to defend and protect ourselves. Brokenness also drives our decisions to accept love in any form it’s paraded in. We accept what we feel we deserve and we are taught that others hold this power to bestow a price stamp on us (and then they decided whether to buy or bargain for a discounted price.)
People have taken pieces of our heart, we’ve given some away and from a place of missing fragments, we attempt to make “whole” decisions. But our lack causes a blindside that leaves us choosing unhealthy alternatives or roads to destinations that are actually healthy and good and so we taint what is supposed to be clear. We bring in our chaos to places of peace and make a mess of what is clean and pure.
My heart hurt for this young girl, it hurts for women and men at any age who’ve chosen this as an acceptable option. I remember the pain of the decisions I made in the vein of my broken understanding. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is how she feels at 10 years old and if this is how she begins her understanding and interactions with romantic relationships (and even friendships), where will these perforated boundaries take her when she is 16, 21, 32 and beyond?
Once again I realized how I could not undo what she’s experienced, but what I can do is offer her new experiences that can create new lines of thinking and restoring broken places with healing and an experience of truly understanding, appreciating and valuing herself. I see how very important it is for me to tackle, confront and walk through change in my own life that I might live an example the young kids around me may never see anywhere else. It is my responsibility. If I recognize a problem, it is an invitation to seek and be the solution (or the light that points to a path that says, “there is another way.”)
I appreciate Michelle Obama. I appreciate the way she carries herself, the value she places on her marriage and her children. I appreciate the value she places on herself as a woman and the many roles she is asked to play. I admire the grace with which she walks through ungraceful scrutiny and cruelty (and she looks fly while she does it.) The following video is the First Lady addressing a group of young girls about their value, the value of their education and the value of their futures … none of which revolved around their status in a relationship, their ability to gain attention or the attractions they held …
Here’s a note to all of us (and yes, to me most definitely) if it’s complicated, it’s not honoring the remarkable value and the precious worth we hold just because we simply are who we are.