The Importance of Fictive Kin

The Importance of Fictive Kin

Because all types of family important.
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Kinship is defined as a network of culturally recognized relationships among individuals, either through affinal (marriage) or consanguineal (blood) ties. In other words, kinship is a sense of being related to another person or persons. Kinship is family. I'm pretty sure that most people have come to the consensus that family is important, however, we can't always rely on our families. Sometimes we don't live with them. Maybe they're in another state, or even another country. Perhaps our relationship with our family is complicated and we're not as close knit as some other families. Whatever the case, our "family," the ones that we consider to be such because of blood and law, cannot be there for us all the time. That is when the idea of fictive kin comes into play. We've been learning about this term, "fictive kin," in my anthropology class and it has been extremely interesting to me because of just how important it is. Fictive kin is defined as kinship that does not involve relations by blood or law, and encompasses all of the benefits of kinship without any genetic ties. Examples of fictive kin would be pets, significant others, close friends, or that uncle that isn't actually you're uncle because he's just your dads best friend but you still say, "Hey, Uncle!" whenever you see him. Now, I know the word "fictive" sounds a lot like "fiction" and thus we relate it to being "not real" or "fake," and that sounds negative, but that's not the case. The whole idea behind fictive kin is, yes, we are not technically related to these people, but we have created such an intense, real connection with them that it feels like we are. They are like family to us. Fictive kin is tremendously important to me for many different reasons. My friends and my boyfriend have always been the people I fall back on. If something goes wrong, they're the first ones I talk to about it. Since moving away from home, I've had to leave my family and friends, my kin and fictive kin, behind and all I can really do now is text, call, or video chat them, which is far less fulfilling than actually being with them. They aren't gone, they're just far, and that's hard. When I moved, it kind of felt like I lost that support system, and I needed to build another one. I did that with the friends I've met at college, the boyfriend who came with me, and, I suppose, the fish I bought (he can be family too). This little fictive kin that I've created here is truly making my experience easier and making me happier. We can't only think of family as one unit. Family is a bunch of different groups, some fictive and some not, but regardless, they are all equally important and necessary.

Cover Image Credit: Shannon Bay Gregory

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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