Growing up, I was always under the impression that families had to love one another and that you wanted to spend time together, because you were related. When I was in high school, I slowly began realizing that this, in fact, wasn't the case. I began to learn how members of my family despised me for who I was, what I represented, or even the fact that I existed. It hurt my heart like no other. Despite telling myself that I am better off without them, I still feel a void in my life that I know can never be replaced no matter how hard I try.
As I am welcomed into the homes of my friends and significant other, I feel the love they have for me and continue to express on a daily basis. I am wanted at family gatherings and am told I am missed if I cannot attend due to school or work. While this brings me joy, it uncovers the imminent sadness I feel as I walk through life knowing that throughout the country there are people who share my blood and wish I didn't exist. Of course these feelings are never expressed directly through open communication. Why, that just isn't done. Instead, their hatred and resentment is expressed through quippy little remarks on social media or at holidays under one's breath. I hear and see all of these "subtle" messages, yet I choose not to respond.
When I was younger, I often dreamed of the day in which I could tell such members of my "family" off. I could recall every hypothetical situation down to a tee. However, what good what that do me? I would still be the same "entitled, self-centered, spoiled, bastard child who accepts handouts to get through life." I resent those words as the days go by. My heart aches as I come to realize you all would be happier if I was never born at all.
While I still struggle to find joy, I look forward to the future. To those who chose not to love me, I'm sorry. You will never receive the invitation to my wedding. You will never hear the cry of my first child. You will never have the satisfaction of knowing me for who I am rather than who you believe me to be. Family is not determined by blood, name, genetics, or lineage. Family comes from those who call you when you are having a tough time in your life and give words of encouragement. Family does not relish in the sorrow of one another. When one member of a true family hurts, everyone hurts. One day I will find this family, and I regret to say that it won't ever come from you. The damage between us is done, and I relinquish the power you once held over my life and my happiness.
Maya Angelou said it best in her poem "Still I Rise,"
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.