Your Name Is Not Your Family

Categories Life

Let’s talk about chosen families and how they’re the only family that should matter. First and foremost, no matter how many people will bring up the ‘family is blood’ argument; your name is not your family. Your name does not define who you get to call your family, that is a choice that you have the right to make. Nobody can take that away from you. If somebody is offended that you have not included them in that demographic, well – to put it nicely, they can take their issues somewhere else. As your own person and your own being, you have your own life and are entitled to say who has access to it. Just because somebody has a blood connection to you or has the same name does not at all mean that you owe them anything. It doesn’t mean they’re a good person, and it doesn’t mean that they’re worth a second of your time. We don’t get to choose the ‘families’ that we’re born into – we don’t say who shares the same blood as us – but we sure as hell have the ability to choose who we define as our family.

There a number of reasons why you might choose to remove somebody from your chosen family, and I won’t go into the details because it’s different for everybody. But the point remains the same; you still have the right to remove them from your circles, no matter whether other people think that you’re being too harsh or too dramatic. That’s a load of bullshit. It’s your life, you get to choose who’s in it.

Sometimes, and, in fact, a lot of the time, family members get away with pulling shit that’s both abusive and toxic just because they hide under the umbrella term of being ‘family’. They think it’s okay to act certain ways, do certain things, all because they believe they have the blood equalization of a ‘get out of jail free’ card. No, that bullshit doesn’t slide with me. You should be shunned just like the next non-blood-related citizen would be. Just because they have some kind of attachment to you somehow makes them think that they’re entitled to treat you however they wish, and that’s just not how it should be. If you act like somebody who doesn’t deserve to be a part of my life, then I’m not going to let you be involved, no matter whether you’re a stranger or a family member.

Likewise, other members of your family will be so quick to tell you to get over what happened, or to tell you it was in your best interest because they’re ‘family’, they ‘love you’. Cut it out. Don’t make excuses for their actions. Blood is nothing when it comes to the people we choose to be around. My blood relations do not define who I should or should not be in contact with. My blood relations do not dictate who I turn out to be or how I should live my life. In one way or another, I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with that feeling – having a name held over your head, whether that be a reputation or the expectation to progress into a certain profession. It’s tiresome, really, and we ought to allow people to live for who they are.

In that respect, we do get to choose our family, and I think having a chosen family is so much more important and significant than having blood relations. You are not your name. You are not who your family are. Their doings are not yours – both good and bad. Just like your doings are not theirs. If you wish to distance yourself from those attached to you by blood relation, then, by all means, do so. You don’t even need to necessarily have a reason, and you don’t owe anybody an explanation. It is your life, so live it, as the cliché goes.

A chosen family is the friends that you can rely on in any situation. It’s the people that you may have distanced yourself from, only to be able to snap back into the friendship at the drop of the hat. It’s the pets that you adore, it’s the shows that you love, it’s the characters that you relate to. A chosen family can be anything – it is your support system, but notably it’s mainly the people who matter the most.

I am somebody who believes that my chosen family – or, at least the one I hope to have one day – is the only family that people think matters because it’s the only one that will matter to me. I don’t care if you’re related to me by blood – I do not owe you anything, and if I don’t want you as part of the family that I choose to belong in, then that is my decision. If you are offended by somebody doing the same to you, or you’re even offended by me writing that about my own family, then it’s likely you’ve done something that would lead to being ‘disowned’. Rightfully so, if you mess with somebody, they have a right to cut you off. Sorry, hate to tell it like it is, but that’s just the way it works.

People will cry out that this is ‘hurtful behaviour’ to those people in question, but they don’t stop to consider that perhaps, just perhaps, we were hurt more as a result of their actions. They don’t consider that maybe there is a reason as to why we’ve burnt that bridge, or at least we’re making attempts to. Sure, some people might wake up and decide that, even though their blood relations haven’t done anything to harm them, they don’t want anything to do with them. That’s still their choice – that’s still their decision. Just because you’re born into a family doesn’t mean that you’re owned by them.

I would much, much prefer to be surrounded by people who have absolutely no biological link to myself (apart from the obvious evolutionary standpoint) than have to be forced into belonging to a family of people who are toxic and make me uncomfortable. I would rather be comfortable with those I choose to be than have a hierarchy dictated by blood that makes me want to crawl into myself. I’m content with being around people who make me happy and have earnt a place in my life, rather than just giving a spot to somebody because they’re related to me but don’t actually deserve it.

I’m not going to buy into the act that I have to put on a smiling face around those that I am forced to be in contact with. If I do not inform you of my life, and I don’t want you in it, then that’s my choice and my decision and you don’t get a say in it. In my case, you probably did something to deserve it, but feel free to get in touch with them so I can really give you the rundown.

To be frank; take your blood relations and put them in the garbage, for all I care. Your chosen family is the only family that matters, and the only family that I have time for.

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