Most of us do not get to choose the family that we are born into. Some families are better than others. I believe that family has the ability to make or break you as a person. The hurt from family leaves a scar that is unique and sometimes seems as though it cannot be healed. A family is the people who build you up, tear you down, support you, disown you, love you, hate you, and everything in between. Some families are established by blood, sometimes it is through happenstance or adoption, but I believe that a certain aspect of a family you really get to choose for yourself based on the people you surround yourself with. This article is about those family members. This article is about friends.
Friends are the family that we get to choose. I believe that friends can play just as big a role in an individual's life as blood or adoptive family does. Friends are the people that you choose to do life with. Friends are the people that you freak out and push away, but they are still there when you come back. No matter how hard you push, they do not go anywhere and unlike legal family, not running away is not an obligation. You might not tell your family everything, but your friends know it all. The right ones anyway. I am not simply talking about mere acquaintances. I am talking about the people who know the good, bad, beautiful and ugly and still for some reason decide that they want and need you in your life just as much as you want and need them in yours. I am talking about the kind of friends you can call crying and they just simply listen to you and then talk you off the edge when you're spiraling. I am talking about the kind of friends who don't tell you what you want to hear, but rather what you need to hear. Those friends. Those special people come into your life and they become family. This can happen in a month, six months, a year, or ten years, but it does happen with people that you let all the way in. They become as close as a sister or brother. They have your back and believe in you when you don't believe in yourself. They do life with you. The ups and downs. The calm and the hurricanes. They have all your pieces and you have all theirs. What happens though when you lose a friend that you considered to be family?
I also consider family as an extension of myself. Losing a friend that you consider family is as if you are losing an extension of yourself. You lose a piece of yourself and don't feel quite like yourself because you have a hole where they used to be. Losing a friend can leave the same unique scar as losing family. Being stabbed in the back by a friend can sometimes even hurt worse than being stabbed in the back by family. Friends make you uniquely vulnerable because you have allowed those people to hold all the pieces and see all the scars. You hand them all the weapons to hurt you, but in doing so you trust them not to, but when that trust is broken it often times cuts so deep you feel you may never recover. You are permanently damaged and your guard goes up. Losing a friend is not easy, because it is not just your trust they're breaking, but a unique bond as well.
I will fight for my family always and forever and sometimes losing a friend can make you realize that always isn't forever after all. Just because you are all in doesn't mean they are. Losing friends is losing family because at the end of the day friends are the family we choose. You don't have to always like them, but at the end of the day when you really think about it, you can't help but love them. Just like family.