Family is more than blood

Confused, broken and unloved. This was the way I felt the day I lost most of my family because of senseless, trivial disputes. That day, I walked out of my grandparents’ house knowing that our family would never be the same.

You may have heard the phrase, “blood is thicker than water.” I’ve learned from experience that even though we might be related to someone through blood, it does not mean we are actually family.

When I was 11 years old, I lost my family. I didn’t lose them in the physical sense, though I lost the in an emotional, psychological and spiritual sense. I remember it like it was yesterday.

My face was like a marble cake, except that the cake’s layers were instead my pale skin speckled with red stains from intense crying. I knew it was time to put a stop to the harsh actions I had experienced for years.

I endured years of verbal and emotional abuse from the ones that should have loved me more than anyone else in the world. At any point in life, especially at a young impressionable age, no person should ever be told that he or she isn’t worthy. Family is important. However, if the family you are born into doesn’t treat you with love, compassion and respect, then they aren’t genuinely family.

One of the many things I learned from my adolescent years is that it is not selfish to prioritize yourself to spare your sanity. In general, the “forgive and forget” saying is wonderful. I am not saying we should hate everyone who has wronged us.

However, if you are constantly put in a position to be broken down and battered, then there is nothing wrong with remembering. What I mean by that is simple. Do not put yourself in harm’s way over and over again because you feel obligated to pacify your family members.

After I graduated high school, I moved to a new state with only my mom. After a year of working towards a better life in a new place, I have gotten close with individuals whom I consider my family.

These people don’t scream or curse at me for existing. They acknowledge me for who I am and don’t want me to change. In short, they love me for me, which is what family members are supposed to do.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, family is, “a group of persons of common ancestry.”

My own personal definition of family is “family is the people in your life who respect you and love you unconditionally.” Taking countless years of abuse from people just to keep them in your life negates the fact that they are family in the first place.

As Mira Grant wrote, “blood is thicker than water, but family isn’t just about blood. Family is about faith, and loyalty, and who you love. If you don’t have those things, I don’t care what the blood says. You’re not family.”

DNA does not make a true family. You’ll always be related to people who have the same DNA as you. However, an authentic family consists of people who stand by you through your hardest trials in life. If you are around someone who hurts you constantly, that person doesn’t deserve to be called your family.