What makes up a family in 2023

This morning I checked my email for the Bloganuary day 8 prompt and it was “How far back in your family tree can you go?” My immediate response was DAMN that’s a big prompt! My aunt has been trying to create a family tree for years past our immediate extended family and it’s been hard work! What a tall order (get it like a tall tree) for a blog post!

Tall trees for puns 😂

And then I thought of my audience, and who I write my blog for. I write it for me, but I also write it from a therapeutic perspective. And in that I decided this post will be less about the historical lineage of my family and more about family in 2023.

As a cis white woman with European background, I can only imagine that finding many layers of my family tree is possible. I know for sure that we know my great great grandmother, as my mom talks about her a lot. And I’m sure we can go further than that. But for many people, this is not the norm. There are folks who’s family members were lost amongst name changes due to slavery or residential schools. There are individuals who were abandoned, or perhaps adopted in ways that leave them without a way to find their blood line. These individuals may never be able to follow that blood line.

And then there are people who’s lived experiences with their blood family are not good and they may choose not to connect at all with that family tree. A lot of LGBTQ+ community members may not identify with family, for example, due to trauma around coming out, being disowned or being abused. Chosen family can be stronger than blood relations, and can be the people you want to focus on when speaking of family.

For all these reasons (and for the reason of not wanting to share my entire family tree on the Internet), I wanted to focus on chosen family.

This year more than ever, I have realized the importance of focusing on nourishing the family that nourishes me. This includes both family related by blood, and family created through friendships. While planning our wedding, this became very apparent, as we tried having a “family only” wedding, which ended up expanding as many people who raised us or who we care about as family are actually not related to us. My parents were shocked to hear that some of their friends were invited to our wedding, and despite insisting they don’t have to come, we want them there because they’re important in my world. Some of the people invited were more safe and accepting when I came out than related family. I’m sure I’m not the only one who tells their friends more about their intimate life details than their families.

I guess my intention behind this post, which is my goal with all my blog posts, is to remind everyone that family is who you chose to surround yourself with. If someone in your life nurtures you, emotionally supports you, looks out for you in hard times, makes you laugh etc, that is true family. If there is toxicity amongst blood family, as much as you may feel pressured to keep that connection strong, it is not your responsibility to soak up poison to make that person feel better. You are worthy of beautiful things in your life, of feeling loved and feeling safe. Find the people that make you feel that way and hold them close. Find the people that love you for exactly who you are, and cherish them and tell them you love them. You are imperfectly perfect, and your people should see you shine and help fuel that light ❤️

I am so thankful to have family around me, both some blood and some chosen, who love me and accept me for the person I am today. For the people that accept and cherish me as a bisexual woman who is deeply in love with another woman. For the people that celebrate my wins and embrace me physically and emotionally ❤️ My family tree may not look like one single tree, but I like to think of the beautiful trees I saw in BC. Ones that have little baby trees growing on them, nourishing other trees outside of their lineage! A loving, created community !

Published by maiiflowerr

Pronouns She/Her/they/them. I'm a millennial just trying to make a difference in the world, and create space for people to accept themselves and live their best lives. My fiancee, Sydney, and I are mothers to our two goofy cats, and the queens of creative adventures. I am an Occupational therapist, a dancer and a yoga instructor with a passion for supporting people and creating community.

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