Day 4 of 500 words a day challenge:
Well today’s prompt is a single word…..FAMILY.
If you know me personally, you know one thing about me for sure. That subject is a delicate, and somewhat convoluted one. But hey, lets not pretend like it’s less complicated for everyone else.
Over the years I was in and out of my friend’s families. Visiting different house holds for every holiday, finding myself more lonely most of the time because I was trying to fill some internal space that wasn’t really meant to be filled. I found a lot of my identity in who was in my life, and I needed confirmation from my loved ones to feel worthy.
This was my first of many mistakes in life.
I kept jumping into relationships with friends, with lovers, with role models that never quite gave me what I was looking for. It took me a really really long time to realize that I was never going to find what I needed in any of them. I needed to find myself first.
I am constantly learning who I am, but I am much closer to the answer today than I was yesterday.
I began to realize that family was not what I made it out to be at all. I had this “Full House” fantasy. That is not what family is all about. Family is a group of people that love one another unconditionally, and decide to extend understanding, support, and love to one another. Family does not have to be biological. It can indeed be biological and also possess those characteristics. But you can find a group of people that will extend that type of bond to you with no biological attachments. It is interesting that for such a progressive society, we still only include two definitions of the word in the English dictionary.
a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit.
all the descendants of a common ancestor.
When you describe your family, are those definitions what you truly feel of the word?
The word signifies differing things across all areas of culture, demographic, work place, and loyalty.
For years I sat around coffee tables, dinner tables, picnic table, boats, planes, jeep rides, and couches listening to everyone’s families communicate and connect. My observation of some of these relationships was beautiful, organic and supportive….and my observation of others was dysfunction, judgement, and disloyalty.
So my thoughts and relationship to the word became detached from the original definition I previously related to. Family I realized was not who shared blood with me, or who knew me the longest.
Family to me are the people that push you to be better than you were yesterday, people that acknowledge you as an equal, people that see you for who you are….and accept you no matter what, people that for whatever reason give you unconditional love in the face of good or bad. I was looking for something so permanent and substantial to attach to, in order to I feel connected to this word. But what I realized, was that by searching for something, I was missing out on everything around me.
This world….is family. The people it is filled with, the animals that we share it with, the plants that we walk among, the rivers that we swim in, the mountains that we climb, the skies that we look up to, and the stars that shine down. We are connected in such a vast and beautiful way, that there is no need to limit our family to blood. I do not need to look like you, for you to be my brother or sister. I do not need to share stories of my childhood with you, to acknowledge your inner child, I do not need to sit around a kitchen table with you on Dec, 25th of each year to feel included in something special. Every single day we have a chance to build our own family, we have a chance to encourage connection instead of limitation. Family should not be exclusive to the few, it should be open to all.
That way we can see what we truly are.
We are ALL family.
I was a sad young girl for a long time in search of the family I thought I needed.
But when I realized that I had a chance to build my very own, out of each and every living being around me, I no longer needed to be recognized by one unit to feel worthy.
I realized how warm, and inviting life can truly be.
And I feel a lot less lonely these days.