Today I have been thinking about what I want to write about. Maybe consent or feminism? I do have a lot to say about those, but there’s a lot I’ve already said, so I want something else, something a bit closer to home.
A lot of people have a chosen family because their biological family was shit or they’re physically distant. This is not the case for me – my bio family mostly lives within a couple hours driving distance on the heaviest of traffic days and they’re mostly ok. My parents raised my sister and I well. There’s a few decisions that they made and a few pieces of their child-rearing philosophy I disagree with, but overall, they are/were sane and intelligent parents.
I have a chosen family because when I became an adult I grew apart and beyond what I grew up with. I learned about identity politics and started identifying outside of what I knew was a possibility as a child – as a feminist, bisexual/queer, as non-monogamous (eventually polyamorous), and now as genderqueer/fluid – and with that came people who challenged me to grow beyond childhood, beyond a childhood understanding of the world. I learned that love is not necessarily romantic and can take on so many forms.
My chosen family, on the basest level, are the people I choose to have in my life. I remember reading once about the idea of love being a series of choices; waking up each morning and asking yourself, “Do I still want to be with this person/these people today, whatever that means today?”, and confronting what that means if the answer is hesitant or negative. My chosen family is made up of the people that I keep saying yes to those question – maybe not every single day, maybe missing days, but a great majority of the days.
Seeing these families in action surrounds me with a sort of compersive love, like a safe hug. And it isn’t even the big things. Lately it has been smaller things – picking people up from the airport, spending time with them at the hospital, putting together a schedule to take care of someone who needs it, and with my LLC, building plans for a future home together by getting together for dinner, drinks, and nonsense with our business.
I love it when I feel safe enough with people to expand my chosen family – not just by taking on new partners, new lovers, but taking on the people near them, my metas, their metas, those they have chosen. And I like it when I can help expand other people’s families as well.
This is not to say that this is the perfect family form. We still have conflicts like any family, sometimes we drive each other up the wall, and sometimes we fall apart a bit, but that choice is what matters – I can choose not to have someone as part of my family if the relationship is too toxic, or distance myself a bit if I think that the relationship is not currently healthy, but may be salvageable in the long run (and is worth the effort to do so).
I love you all, in some way, and I hope to see that grow and change every day.