Family Has No Limits

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Growing up our family home never felt calm or comfortable to me. It was hard to predict when someone would start yelling at someone else, it felt like people were always hurriedly passing through the front door, and all of the constant action took place over the TV that was playing in the background. We didn’t have a lot of extended family close by so it makes sense that I sought to escape the chaos and confusion at home in friends and people not born of the same DNA as me. This has followed me into my young adult and now adult life. I see family as having no limits and the group of people I consider family is so much more than blood. For me family is not just people – it’s also a feeling of safety, security, and acceptance.

In college I formed another family of friends. We grew up together, living away from our biological families for the first time. After college I moved abroad and expanded my family to include people who were from various countries all over the world. Again, there was a lot of growing being so far away from our homes. Growing up and growing together. At each step of the way I keep thinking that the group of people I consider family could not possibly get any bigger, but for me it does.

When I speak of ‘family’ now I find myself explaining who people are. “My California family” … “My biological family” …. “My family of friends” …. I am so thankful for all of these people I get to love and all of these families I get to be a part of.

When I go home to my childhood house now the TV is still in the background as mom’s sewing machine hums over it but it no longer adds to the chaos. It is the same house, but somehow it feels calmer. People still move through the front door going to and coming from but it’s not as hurried. There is less stress involved. My dad still listens to CDs on the same CD player he bought when I was in 6th grade. Some are even the same CDS, but they sound more relaxing now. Or maybe I am just a bit more relaxed. I have a California family now – a family that seems to love me because of my weird eccentricities, rather than wanting that part of me to change. They have been the unconditionally supportive family, the people that never tell me I cannot do something. I still have my family of friends from high school, college, and my time abroad. These families help me remember who I was and see who I have become. I also have a family in my LGBT friends and all of the people I have met who have had a parent come out. This is my family that deeply understands secrets, pain, shame, and closets. Without one of these families I feel incomplete and unbalanced, these are the people that have shaped me and helped to pick me up with I have fallen down.

I don’t know what the future holds, most days it feels very uncertain. However, I do know that with these people – these families built from love – I will find my way forward. We will all find our way forward, together.

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