When your family doesn't support you
Well... Throughout the years I've had different situations where my parents were not the most supportive. The most recent case was my cycling trip through the coast of Portugal and that made me think of past examples, even from childhood, and it propelled me to write about it.
I love my parents to death, don't get me wrong! I truly believe they came a long way and they did their best to raise me and my brother well. And their best resulted in 2 pretty fucking awesome human beings, so I guess they did a pretty damn good job!! However, there’s a lot more they could've done but, in all honesty, they were/ are not even aware of it, which makes it harder on them.
The one thing I would like to have, if there was anything I could change, would be their support. I know I have a lot of crazy ideas, I don't have the most conservative lifestyle or the common interests of most people, but nonetheless I’d like to have their support.
As some of you may know, last July I cycled 270km through the coast of Portugal. My parents were both very much against the idea, mainly because they were worried about my safety. I get their point. But, on another hand, my dad simply viewed the idea as pure stupidity and tried his best to get me out of it.
Our finish line was Tróia and from there we had to get a boat to Setúbal. My parents met us in Setúbal with their van to take the bicycle. As I sat down in the van, I started telling them a few things about the whole journey, the easy parts and the hard ones. Even though they both smiled at me when they first saw me, which made me think they were happy and proud of what I had achieved, during the drive their words said the opposite.
Mum was quiet most of the way and dad being dad, he had no time to spare. "I told you you would've been better off doing it with your brother, on his motorbike!". I don't know if it's just me but... hearing this after 6 days of hard work, cycling under the heat, just as you start to feel like celebrating the 270km milestone you just finished, fells like a pretty hard kick in the face. He carried on saying something along those lines but at that point I had already switched off and I can't even remember what he said. Or maybe I was too cough up on that first sentence, trying to digest it.
I made him stop his monologue but in my head started a trail of memories in which I felt that same way. Going back in time, I remember being in the high school's soccer team and my parents never gave a damn about it. I even took part in a regional championship and I remember being in the finals, looking at the seats, hoping my parents would come. Some of my other team players would have their parents attend all our Saturday games. My parents didn't make it to any, not even the finals.
Another similar situation, when I was about 12 years old, was a play I took part in. The school was doing a play and I was the narrator. I remember constantly looking at the seats, looking for my mum. She came late, but she came. But I remember thinking if she would even come. (I know, work commitments and all other things that parents need to do but, my parents were always self-employed and it’s not like the play was not arranged months and months in advance).
Most recently, obviously due to my Muay Thai training, I have felt this same way. Mum is devastated I’m not working in an office, sitting in front of a computer, probably looking pretty the whole day. Both my parents don't understand why I train Muay Thai, why I cycle and why the hell I run such stupid distances. I don't need them to understand really, I just want their support! This summer while in Portugal, I told both my parents next year I will be doing an Ironman 70.3 and their reaction was far from exciting... "What?? You can't do it Kelly!!", said mum; "What? That's stupid!", said dad.
Even the decision to stay in Thailand, or back when I moved from the UK to Italy for a short while. Mum lost it when I told her I had found a job in Thailand and that I was taking it. “What are you going to do there??? The money is worthless!!”. The whole experience idea, growth, self-discovery, self-mastery, adaptability and flexibility, that’s all bollocks for mum.
Another time, I mentioned the fact that I would love to do a cycling route which goes through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, over 600km. My dad's feedback was one of the funniest and most ridiculous comments I've ever heard "You're crazy!!! You keep going on like this, your body will be completely fucked when you get to 50 years old. Your body will be a piece of shit!". I bloody hope he will be here to see it and realise how wrong that statement is.
I think a lot of these things show how much you are involved and how much you truly want to support your children. Don't get me wrong, I know my mum and dad would do anything for me!! My mum’s life story proves it… But parents have their way of showing support and love. Some (if not most) might just want you to fit into their tiny little box and be their little girl forever, who follows all conventional rules.
Mum has now accepted the fact that Thailand is good for me, after hearing all her friends say I look better than ever: stronger, happier, relaxed and beautiful. She has also come to realise that my work with the kids at school is important. She knows and sees they love me, and I guess, she loves hearing me say I want a baby of my own too.
I wanted to put this out there because this has given me some pretty tough times. I guess, tough love right? Not having their support has left me many times feeling lost, wondering what to do and how to go about life decisions. I guess, if I’m being honest to myself, it still has an impact on me. I’ve always had this thing in my mind, on one hand I have what I want to do, and on the other, what my parents would like me to do/advised me to. There has been many years where I just didn’t know what way to go and how to go about life.
And here I have a SPECIAL THANK YOU to 4 very special people that have played a big role and made a HUGE impact in my life: my brother, Dwayne, Steve Curtis and my UK dad. These 4 adult man, successful in their own ways, have guided me over the last 8 years and I can’t possibly thank them enough.
Finally, special thank you to my parents, of course. They have been my inspiration my whole life! Their whole lives, they worked harder than anybody I’ve ever met. They showed me tough love and I wouldn’t change it for the world because it made me who I am. I have good common sense and I know the real value of things. I know what matters the most. I work hard and I don’t break easy. And although I don’t always have their full support, they have also allowed me to go about my own journey and develop into what I am today (never ending process by the way!).
If this resonates with you, I hope you keep pushing and I’d like to say, follow your heart. Follow the hand that holds what you want and don’t let other people’s advice create doubts about the life you want to have.