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Things I Wish I Had Been Taught...(...Like two things really...so far...)

April 19, 2016

There are things as children that we are taught by our wonderful, hardworking parents - look both ways before you cross the street, don’t touch the stove, no, don’t put that piece of metal in the light socket - but there are some things that maybe I was taught and have forgotten or things that I wish I had been taught. So I figured I’d share them…


-“People can change.” I’ve heard those words many times in my life, and always with a positive spin. Change is good, people can change, therefore give people a chance because they could become something greater than they were. 


However, what wasn’t also drilled in me is that people can change in the opposite direction. A friend who used to be close could have made a poor decision in life and decided not to live up to the needed standard for you to maintain the friendship. A family member that used to be someone that you revered slipped from that spot with how they’ve treated you over time. People can change, and it’s okay to let them go if that change brings you to a place where it’s harming you to attempt to stay close with them. 


-“Why do I have to see them?” “They’re family, they’re your blood.” As a child I saw my family as the ideal sort of family. Sure, there were ups and downs because everyone in my family is in fact human (beside the dogs) but from the perspective of kid me, the close-knit relationships were amazing. 

I’ve heard the phrase over and over again that family is family because of blood, because of roots, and family is supposed to take care of family for these facts and I never gave it much thought until I was older, until my view was expanded past my own family and experiences. 


You see, my husband was adopted from a woman that clearly wasn’t family to his own but his adoptive parents took care of him, raised him, and tried their best to do what parents do…but the words “they’re blood” is meaningless to him. 


You could point out a cousin twice removed that he’s never met before in his life and he’d shrug with indifference about never meeting them and move about his day. It isn’t the fact that he’s uncaring of their existence, he just doesn’t see the need to go up to someone who he’s never spoken to in his life, who he’ll likely never see again and run down a line of pleasantries just to appease the argument that family is family, which is apparently supposed to mean something. 


On the other hand there is the perspective where you take a person who you grew up with, who is your blood, who morphed into someone far less recognizable to your younger kid self, and there is this constant struggle of guilt over the fact that they’re “family” that there has to be something done to maintain the relationship, that blood is “thicker than water” which apparently means there is some eternal, non-scientific tie that binds you together, that obligates you to put yourself in a position that you wouldn’t do for a mere acquaintance. Whew, that was a long run on sentence…


Those examples bring me to a point, a very specific one that I’ve been pondering for a while based off of my own personal (very personal opinions, so please, take it as such and if you happen to agree or if it helps you with something, then yay!) views of family. Blood is indeed thicker than water, that’s a scientific fact, but it stays in a persons own, self serving body and genetic code aside is about as meaningless as said water. 


It doesn’t define what “family” is, in the emotional sense. 


A common ancestry path is only relevant for which woman you popped out of, to the woman they popped out of and so on and so forth and can tell you that that dresser over there was owned by your great-great-great-great grandmother so it might be worth some money (unless you’re the kind of people who deep into their “Yeah, I’m Irish!” roots and traditions, but seeing how I’m an American mutt you have to keep in mind we don’t really have much of those traditions.) Or to see if you’re more likely to have twins down the line, or high blood pressure.


Getting off point again. But really the tl:dr (means - too long;didn’t read) point of this is, is that family is what YOU make it to be, and who you make it out of. Family is your Mom and Dad, or just one parent, or no parents. It’s your husband and wife or kids, or just your best friend and their parents. It can be a group of friends who have no relation to you what so ever…leaving out the people who are defined as “family” because of their genetic disposition to yours.


But the most important thing of all? Just because “they’re blood” doesn’t mean you ever, ever have to sacrifice yourself, your well being, or your emotional state on their behalf. A one sided relationship, or a harmful relationship where you’re the only one trying to improve isn’t something to hold onto for any excuse be it your good intentions, your past feelings, or for the sake of that other person.


Do not be someone’s stepping stone for any reason.


People can change, and it’s not always for the better.


Bonus: - “Don’t eat the cookie dough, you’ll get salmonella.” Seriously? I’m going to take my chances with the salamanders or whatever. 


I’m sure there was a coherent thought in there somewhere, I just hope it actually made sense among the rambling. 

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© 2016-2018 by Katie H. Weill