on family and home

there’s a lot of stuff rumbling around in my head right now, but the main one is on “real” family vs “chosen” family, and “going home for the holidays.”

Some people well, actually, most people assume that when I talk about how I’m having fun with “my family” that I’m referring specifically to my blood family. I have no reason to do this, unless I’m talking about the rare get-together-things with my extended family that lives up here — and I refer to those as “a party with the cousins” or whatever.

It seems, some days, that it’s impossible to have a “chosen family” that is closer and more awesome than your blood family, just because that’s the impression that one can get from society and how family is portrayed in the media. Family is valued above all else, and I’ve even been told that I need to just “get over” my “angst” so that I can be a good daughter and honor my parents and blah blah blah. Seriously. The same person said that the abuse doesn’t matter, because the family is the most important thing.

I have a family. My family is my boyfriend. My family is my best friend in New York. My family is my mentor in Colorado, my previous play partner in Colorado, my friends in Oklahoma and California and New Jersey and Kansas. My family is my friend in Olympia who has saved my life in so many ways it’s impossible to list them all. My family is Shakesville, and Fugitivus, and Polimicks, and Shapely Prose [which is now sadly closed], and Two Whole Cakes [used to be Fatshionista].

A family is not always connected by blood. Experiences, friendship, trust, honesty, respect, and love are what holds a family together, and if a person’s blood family violates any of those it is a person’s right to break off and isolate from their relatives.

It is not wrong for any person to separate from anyone, even their blood family.

In that same vein, “home” for me is nowhere near my parents. Home is with my boyfriend, or my flat at school. I will be going home for the holidays, but I won’t be seeing my parents. “Going home” is not synonymous with “going to your parent’s home” and I’m tired of the two being conflated. I’m tired of correcting, time and again, that I don’t see, speak, hear from, or care about my parents.

Open your minds, people. There are those of us who were irreparably damaged by our “family” and we’re tired of hearing the push that family [meaning our blood family] is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF THE HOLIDAYS, GOD. It’s triggering, it hurts, and it’s not necessary.

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3 Comments

  1. December 20, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    […] My wonderful friend Kaie said it best when she wrote about her definition of family. […]

  2. decodevo said,

    December 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Open your minds, people. There are those of us who were irreparably damaged by our “family” and we’re tired of hearing the push that family [meaning our blood family] is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF THE HOLIDAYS, GOD. It’s triggering, it hurts, and it’s not necessary.

    This. So much this. I really wish more people would understand this, or at least just accept our word that being around some people does more harm than good.

    Sending you a gentle hug, if you would like one.

    (here via Shakesville, hope you don’t mind)

    • Kaie said,

      December 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm

      ah, yeah, I don’t mind since I know you’re a real person. I just got hit by a really asshole troll and I’m a bit punchy.

      and regarding the “accepting our word” thing, that would require them to accept that something happened, which would make their world fall apart. good times.


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