My family is one of the lucky ones. I have both parents, a stable home, and have never truly known death in my life. We are like the Brady Bunch without all the weird serial killer behavior and bell bottom pants. So now that we have that out of the way and you all thoroughly hate my guts, let’s begin. I thought rather than tell you about my family, I’d talk about families in general. I promise not to include any more rainbows and sunshine if you keep reading… okay, well maybe a little unicorn frolicking in a meadow if I have the time.
You’d enjoy that, wouldn’t you? Here goes…
The physical needs of the human race are well know to anyone who has the ability to form a coherent thought (also, apparently Dane Cook knows them too, much to the chagrin of people with senses of humor). That is to say, what our body needs in order to survive is an intake of water, food, oxygen, and some form of shelter from the outside world. But the human condition is maintained by more than just sitting in your house eating Funyuns and drinking a 2 liter bottle of 7-up while playing old N64 games on your flat screen.
There is another type of need, which we must address in order to stay emotionally happy:
companionship. It is the people who provide for this need, even when we don’t reciprocate,
who are our families.
Now a stereotypical thing to do here would be to quote from a reliable source the true
meaning of the word family and, from that, tease out an essay worthy of that ‘C+’ from the English teacher who really doesn’t like you (I know, I know, She’s got it in for you). The problem is, I don’t aim that high. Instead, I present you with this half ***** attempt from Wikipedia:
“Family… is an group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence.” (sic). All that those fancy words mean is that family is either the people you live with, have a friendship with, or share the same blood with (insert vampire joke here).
The point is family is what you make of it. So, why is it then that so many people put-up with so much crap just to keep the shambles from falling any further? Some say love is blind, I say it’s retarded (in the fun loving ‘unicorn frolicking in a meadow’ sort of way). I feel that sometimes the best option is a new start. All the remedies in the world can’t heal you if you are still drinking poison.
Contrary to what you may have gleaned from my long winded stream-of-consciousness style writing, I in no way support you getting an emancipation at 13 years old because your parents grounded you for a week when you stole their car and wrecked it after an all night binge at your local pub. My intention was to focus you more on the company you keep: your friends in other words.
Many people I know have that one friend who they used to consider family. Now they are a little older, a little wiser, and realize that their once lovable tiger cub of a friend has grown up, and is eating the villagers. For some reason beyond everyone else’s comprehension, they keep this friend in their inner circle. They’ll scold the friend every now and again, possibly even have a fight, but eventually they reconcile; and, pretty soon another person goes missing (a metaphorical person usually, unless your friend really is a tiger or other large predator).
I’ve been in that situation before and I did the only thing I could think to do.
I kept them as a friend, but distanced myself.
I monitored my words and actions around them.I erected impassable barriers protected by grey wizards.
In short, I did everything I could without cutting them off completely. They could no longer get at my inner workings and mess around. This may seem a sad story but it was required in order for everyone involved to grow. The greatest thing about your closest friends is they can be whoever you’d like them to be. It’s a privilege to be on the inside loop and that’s something we sometimes lose sight of. That love you feel for that person may still be there, but that doesn’t mean they deserve your friendship.
Well, if you made it this far in: Congratulations. You survived. There’s no t-shirt, but you can be proud of yourself. Brag to people about it if you want. I hope I provided a break from the norm and cut up some of these saddest stories ever told by anyone who hasn’t been to Africa. I feel depressed just thinking about them. Go get a latté. It’ll make you feel better.