Family Is Not Defined By Shared DNA

Family Is So Much More Than Shared DNA

Is family people who you barely talk to yet are related by some blood connection or is it people who have your best interest at heart and love you regardless?

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What exactly is a family? Is it people who you barely talk to yet are related by some blood connection or is it people who have your best interest at heart and love you regardless?

I feel like a majority of my life, I was surrounded by people who I was just related to by blood and who never really had my best interests in mind. They "loved" me but only like it was some sort of obligation for being a niece, cousin, or grandchild. Sure, I got nice gifts for my birthday and Christmas, but it felt like they were just throwing money at me to show affection. There was even a period of my life where I felt like I was in competition with my cousin to be seen or be the "favorite." It was a toxic environment, and I didn't even realize it until I got into high school. I just thought that's how a family was supposed to be.

Eventually, my parents and I grew distant until we were dropped by that extent of the family. We no longer wanted to be pawns in their little games. I'm from a small town with a huge Italian population. A family is everything! However, with the strange dynamic shift in my family, I always felt like I was missing out. I didn't understand why I didn't have a large family to have weekly dinners or cousins to hang out with.

Yes, we are "friends" on Facebook, but that is all artificial. They will like posts I made or comment "proud of you," but they do not call or ask to meet up. They only show public displays of affection and support, but they refuse to be there when you need them the most. When I turned 18, I asked for an explanation for the pain caused but was told I needed to get over it and move on. I'm sorry, but who gave you the right to tell me how I handle my trauma?

Yes, we are "friends" on Facebook, but that is all artificial. They will like posts I made or comment "proud of you," but they do not call or ask to meet up. When I turned 18, I asked for an explanation for the pain caused but was told I needed to get over it and move on. I'm sorry, but who gave you the right to tell me how I handle my trauma? Even though the pain of losing family members hurt, it ultimately was the best thing that happened.

I grew closer with my parents in ways I never thought I would. I have a very honest relationship with both of them. I know I am constantly supported by them regardless of my life decisions, and I am truly blessed for that.

It also made me aware that there is no singular definition of family. I considered my best friends to be a part of my family. They too are people I can turn towards for basically anything and everything. I will get calls and texts just checking in and asking how I am doing. I've even got small "thinking of you" gifts. All of this I never experienced with the people who are actually supposed to be my so-called "family." Anyone who is willing to be there for me as I am for them is family to me.

So to the ones who are always there for me whether near or far, thank you for showing me the true meaning of family.

Being related to someone by blood does not excuse the toxicity someone has. You are not forced to love someone who causes you emotional, physical, and/or mental pain just because you guys are related. We did not sign some contract that prohibits this foul treatment from those we may share the same DNA with.

If there is anyone searching for their own definition of family, don't worry, I'm here for you.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To My Parents, Who Love And Support Me Endlessly

I can't thank you enough.

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To my parents,

As my high school career comes to an end, I want to take time to say how much I appreciate you and love all that you do for me.

Thank you for all the times you have driven me to and from places when I couldn't drive. I wouldn't have been able to enjoy all the events and games if you didn't take me.

Thank you for dealing with my OCD of checking my grades and my obsession with it. I don't know how you dealt with it. But it's incredible.

You have been through my weakness and strengths throughout school and I wouldn't have been able to get through it without you. Giving me endless advice and support in every decision I made was a blessing. And still is.

My endless sass and stupid jokes — thank you for putting up with my BS.

Thank you for providing me with independence and letting me do things on my own. If I didn't have the independence I would be completely lost. I really would.

Continuing to give me financial support is a big one, going to the movies or going out with my friends you would always give me money and I couldn't be more grateful for that. When I was struggling to find a job you still supported me, even when I have a job now you still give me financial support because you want me to worry about school and other things than money. That is a true blessing.

Thank you for teaching me how to love someone and what I deserve.

Thank you for being my number one supporter in everything I do — school, grades, decisions I make, through my disease and going to events. The list goes on and on.

I know I sometimes don't seem appreciative of all that you do for me and our family but I am, here's to the next four years and the next chapter of our lives. Thank you for all you do and loving me endlessly. I love ya!

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