Let’s Talk About It!: Settling Differences with Family

Family squabbles happen all the time, no matter what background you come from.  Disagreements stem from a wide variety of issues: money, whom you love, career choice, housing, rearing children…the list goes on.  Because they are your family- parents, sibling, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins- they will always feel the need to share their personal opinions about the decisions you make. Solicited or unsolicited.

How do you handle a situation when you address your family with a life change that you are passionate about, and find the support you’ve been depending on for years is snatched away because they disagree?

Do you take their opinions as personal and break ties with your family? Do you cower down and give in and forsake your wants/needs/dreams? Or do you step away, regroup, and think the matter through…become the bigger person and approach the matter again with the intention of mending the relationship, even if your final decision does not please them?

In Jaded, Yasmine Phillips finds herself at this crossroad.  No longer searching for love, she invests her time in doing something she’s been dreaming about for months: starting her own business as a Fashion Consultant. The idea is not foreign to her. After watching and assisting her parents in opening and managing a bed and breakfast chain, she’s gained the experience and earned the business degree needed to be comfortable with her decision.  She has no doubt they will be supportive of her goal.

Or will they?

Excerpt:

My parents looked at each other before giving me their full attention.

“What’s on your mind?” My mother shut down her laptop.

Nervous, I took a deep breath, steadied my voice, and let Zack and Ms. Belinda’s positive comments about my business calm me. If strangers could believe in me, why wouldn’t my family? I glanced at both of my parents. Keep it simple, concise, and to the point. Anything else and they would lose interest.

“I want to thank the both of you for all of the hard work you’ve put into running this business over the years. Your work ethic has not only been taught, it has been instilled in me. Seeing you guys have your dream come to fruition has made me want to follow in your footsteps and start a business of my own.” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my father’s eyebrows crease.

“What business?” Mom asked.

I cleared my throat. “I want to be a fashion consultant.”

The room went silent. I glanced over at Brandon who’d taken sudden interest in the bottom of his shoe.

“A fashion consultant?” My mother responded.

I nodded, retrieved extra copies of my business plan from my bag, and distributed it around the table. I opened up my copy and began going over my research information, charts, and business set. My parents remained silent as I went through the details.

“So that’s what you’ve been doing with your time.” My mother shot a knowing look at my father when I was done.

Dad leaned forward to rest his elbows on the kitchen table, his fingers steepled. “How much are you asking for?”

I gave the number and didn’t flinch.

“Are you kidding me?” My mother snapped. “Yasmine, do you know how much it’s taken us to get the new place up and running?”

“Yes, ma’am. What I’m asking for is nowhere near as much.”

“That might be true, but you’re asking anyway. What I don’t understand is your timing. We’ve got three hotels to run. Now you want to dip into that budget?”

My father opened his mouth, but my mother silenced him with a raised hand. “For the last three months your job performance has suffered, now I know why. Your head is stuck somewhere else entirely. You have no intention of continuing to support this family.”

“What? Yes I do. That’s part of my plan. My goal is to have Dreams become a side business run out of the hotel, not something that is done full-time or off site. My dream is to—”

“Your dream is going to screw this family’s hard work.” Her lips tightened.

I sat back; my spark of enthusiasm fizzled out. “I would never let that happen.”

“I seriously doubt it.” She pointed to the pile of papers spread across the table. “If you were distracted during planning, how are you going to balance that and manage the hotel?”

“It wasn’t just this…I had a lot of stuff on my plate, Mom. Ebony’s wedding—”

“Exactly. It didn’t take much for you to make mistakes. Even though they were minor, they affect everything. I’m sorry, Yasmine. I can’t support this. Our family has worked hard to get things to where they are.”

“But—”

My father held a hand out to both of us. He looked at my mother before he faced me. “Yasmine, what your mother is saying is you came to us with this at a bad time. Opening the new location has been stressful, but thankfully we’ve made it happen.” He shot a sideways glance at my mother; her lips tightened even more. “Investing into a new project before we’ve recouped any money already spent is not a reasonable investment. If you put it to the side and wait for say…six months, then maybe we’ll be able to help.”

“Six months! Are you kidding me? You’re telling me I can’t do what I want to make myself happy. I have to continue to help you keep your dream alive and kill mine?”

I stood abruptly, my chair scraped against the tiled kitchen floor. Every bone in my body shook as tears welled in my eyes. I was pissed, angry, and disappointed. There was no way to keep it in.

####

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