Dining Room Table

The following piece is referenced from the book, Finding Peace isn’t Peaceful: 

Chapter 5: Family Matters

“We don’t have a dining room table. 

Those close to us have died, been raped and murdered. 

Some, have battled with drug addiction, depression, and prostitution. 

Others, are living with sexually transmitted diseases or spending most of their lives in a jail cell,

and despite the pain it causes us, we don’t talk to each other about it. 

I can’t help but believe if we had a dining room table, we’d be more of a family.” 

Have you ever noticed the things in your home that makes you a family? The one thing that keeps you and your family connected? Or better yet, doesn’t make you a family? And causes you to be disconnected? I remember talking to my Mother one day, and she had expressed how she wished she had a dining room table so we could all eat together as a family. My mother had said something so simple, but profound so to me..a dining room table. I never correlated our disconnection as a family with not having an area or item that brought us together. 

I remember moving to Grandma’s house in Atlanta and feeling incredibly awkward during the Holidays because we had to sit at the dining room table and actually eat together. For some of you, this may sound odd. However, the last time I can recall me having or eating at a dining room table with my family was when I was about 12, and I am 24 years old now. At my Grandma’s, I was always anxious around the Holidays because I knew we’d have to sit and talk to each other. I remember my first Christmas with Grandma; I had so much anxiety that I woke up extremely early Christmas morning and told my Grandma, I had to go to work. What she didn’t know was that I requested that shift and I would have worked all day if they allowed me to just to avoid opening presents and communing with them for dinner. I tried to avoid it so much that I showed up to work 5 hours early just to sit in my car until my shift began. 

I would always be in shock how my cousins would come home from work or school, and they’d all be in the living room talking to each other, laughing, or watching TV together. I thought it was strange, but I admired it, and I yearned for it with my family back at home. However, that wasn’t the expectation back at home. I could never talk to my family about anything, but we could argue though or kept things at a surface level.

On the podcast, Shantelle Blackburn talks about how she found refuge in Therapy since she couldn’t talk about her feelings at home, and I am also an advocate for Therapy. I believe Therapy has helped me break down some of my emotional barriers, especially the ones that I have towards and because of my family. I think everyone should find their positive, safe space and talk about whatever is on your mind and your heart within that community. There is something beautiful about expressing yourself. Shantelle also discusses how she found comfort in her friends and their family. So I’d recommend to anyone who doesn’t have that space at home to find it with their friends or within a school organization. I’d also challenge you to attempt to change the tone in your house and try to create a space where you and your family can talk to each other. 

Please let me know how it is going for you!

Until next time.

— Ma’ Ronda X — Peace Be Upon You

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