A little over a year ago I wrote a post detailing my separation from my parents. TL;DR: After the loss of a job, the aftermath of a hurricane, and all the financial woes that would come from both I was making a lot of our debt payments late. I have a private student loan cosigned for by my mom from my undergrad years, and so instead of receiving calls asking us how we were or if we needed help or caring things like that, I received texts demanding that I pay the bill because (a) she wasn’t going to help me with it and (b) it was affecting her credit. I told her that if the only role she could find to play in this scenario was bill collector then she needed to either help us, or stop calling & texting and leave us alone. Then I blocked their numbers.
When I tell you this was one of the best decisions I ever made, I mean it. For so many years I held tightly to the idea that family is family and you stick to blood no matter what because they are family, but last year I finally snapped in a good way. NO ONE, not your parents or your siblings or your cousins or the guy that lives down the street that you barely know has any right to treat you badly or disrespectfully. Your family is made up of people who care about you, who support you, and who make sure that you are okay, and you do the same for them in return.
I don’t have a lot of family, but the ones I have I would be there for without question. Some I have never met in real life, but we support each other virtually, something I couldn’t have done earlier in my life. My family is scattered all around the United States and as far as England and Germany. I have people I know I can talk to, I have people I know will help me, I have people that I can depend on. I hope they all know that they can expect the same from me in return.
So as we head into the holiday season where familial bullshit tends to smell a little more pungent and baggage tends to get a bit heavier and memories come out of the dark to stab us in the back, remember what family is really supposed to mean. Reach out to those that mean the most to you and take heart in the fact that it is 2018 and we are in the middle of a great re-imagining, insisting that societal norms are redefined to be more accepting of a greater diversity of peoples, and that includes the definition of family. If you have the safety and space to make your own, get that freedom and happiness wherever you can.
It is the age of deciding, as Dumbledore said, between doing what is right and what is easy. Just remember doing what is right is rarely easy, even if you are simply doing what is right for yourself. It gets better. Be brave.