#relationshipgoals – Ashleigh Howells
My father’s name is Howells. A name given to him on his adoption at two hours old, yet there are no official adoption papers to document this bestowment. Hurt by his abandonment he swore to never get in touch with his mother; this to me felt like a great betrayal. I knew nothing about his birth parents and the information I did have was Chinese whispers between gossiping relatives and family friends. It was clear that without some serious digging I was going to be left in the dark about all of this but despite the ever-powerful Google I couldn’t give a basic fact to initiate a search. I let this lie for many years enjoying the grandparents I did have and upon their deaths I realised I had to start searching once again, and this time I was successful.
Meeting a blood relative for the first time is often something only new-borns have to deal with and in their naked confused state they have zero responsibility for being immediately adored. At twenty-one I feel the introduction to be significantly more difficult. I fidgeted a lot, planning in my head all the scenarios of a successful meeting. My goal was to impress, to make this woman proud of the grand-daughter she had never met. I gulped wondering how best to sell myself. This was the world’s most intense job interview.
And as a I sat across from this distant unfamiliar woman, this stranger, our eyes met and she started to laugh and in her laugh I heard my own high twitter-like shrill, and I saw my face in her laughter lines. I laughed along with her and we collapsed into each-other’s arms. Without a shadow of a doubt she is my Grandmother, and years apart were healed with a single smile.
This dark haired tanned woman was a contrast next to my fair hair and blue eyes. I sat swinging my Jimmy Choo’s next to her muddy Adidas trainers and I learned that the true relationship goal is not to find someone who is the most compatible. It’s not about falling in love at first sight, these things are best saved for fiction. In reality the best goal is to find just one familiarity that resonates. A silent story or inside joke. That private connection that a single look or wink of the eye expresses- telling a thousand words. My relationship goals have gone out the window.
Our heritage seems to be a knowledge that as humans we feel sentimentally essential. It seems we are entirely inept at living our lives devoid of any history to help us navigate through difficult events. I think it is important to aim for a relationship not that flatters you in your ability to make people like you but to find something that makes you feel like you belong, that you have a place in this crazy world, despite all the odds.