During the past year or so, I've been exploring the nature of family relationships - the ties that bind. Discovering that within a family unit, there are some who step forward and some who step back, and some are forced back, and some cannot get their glow on...hidden in the shadow of a blazing star.
Is the quiet one less special?
Can someone really be too sensitive?
Does the loudest voice always win?
What happens when one person values justice over attention?
Does letting another take the spotlight diminish one's own importance?
Can one family handle more than one narcissist, more than one diva, more than one enormous talent? Who's turn is it on the stage?
Ah...The ties that bind.
This year, more than any other, we learned about duty, about love, about illness, about death. About fear & bravery, about humor & pain, about nobility and adversity. The roles we play within our families change - dutiful child becomes dutiful parent, caring sibling becomes care-giver, we must stretch, do things we never dreamed of doing, suffer horrendous loss, look to the future and find ways to lean upon each other.
We learned about each other and what meaning, what values rule our lives. We surprised each other.
Today I finished a portrait of two women. Sisters, perhaps. Together for a portrait, yet very removed from one another.
Is one stepping forward? Is one stepping back? Is the one in the background really duller? Or is she allowing her sister her moment in the spotlight. Are they posing? Are they happy in their roles? You'll need to discover the answer.
Ribbons of color weave in front, through and behind them. They hold them together, and keep them apart. In their moment, they don't even notice them.
Like all of us, we have ties that bind, ties that hold us beyond our control - through all of life's experiences. Like it or not, the ribbons flow around and between us - through our pasts, the present and the future.
Where do your ribbons go? Do they flow freely or hold too tight? What have you learned about your family this year? No matter your feelings about your family members, the ties that bind will last your lifetime.