It’s been a while since we had a WOTD, and I’ve really meant to write a post about this since I finished watching The Fosters. I would have to add that TV Show to my list of favorites not only because it addresses racial and gender integration in modern society (I know, so elegant haha), but also this concept that it introduces and promotes: family.
“Ohana means family. And family means nobody gets left behind.”
For the record, Lilo and Stitch is also one of my favorite movies of all time. I cry every time I watch that movie, which is weird. Really gives you the feels, and I can’t point my finger to it.
Anyway, I want to talk about family because, supposedly, it’s the one thing that will always be there for you. You may never get married. You may never have children. You may never even date or be with another person. Yet, you’ll always have a past or a present that will always be there for you. What does that mean? Well, despite what you think, there is at least one person out there who actually gives shits about you. They’ll do their best to not hold a grudge against you because they want to forgive you. Want to help you. Not everyone is willing to go the extra mile for you.
Believe me, I won’t.
A part of family appreciation is growing up. I didn’t realize how annoying of a person I was in the seventh grade until after a year spent in college. All throughout high school, I thought of my parents as these really annoying people who constantly yelled at me about being lazy and unambitious. I also thought they were wrong about all of it. As a defiant teenager, I went through multiple stages of sadness and depression because I was constantly grounded, lectured, or friendless.
Well, not whatever. Sure, those years are over, but I also think it’s worse that I didn’t get my shit together until I left my hometown to go to college. If I had listened to my family and my parents instead of trying to constantly argue, I probably could have a) gotten into a better school and b) not have to work from the bottom to the top since I would have already been at the top. If anything, I made life harder on myself. As a typical adolescent, I kept thinking to myself that if I got out of that house, life would be so much better.
Hint hint: it’s not.
When I have to make decisions by myself, they happen to be the most monumental decisions and those moments when I want my mom to make the decision for me. I’m going to France in a month, and even though I’m so psyched I’m about to pee in my pants, I can feel my muscles tense as I think about how I’ll be traveling alone. Without my mom yelling at me. Without my family telling me where to go or where to be. I’m not a kid who gets homesick, but when it comes down to you vs. the world, life becomes a little more intimidating than before.
That’s the other thing the Fosters taught me. Family isn’t genetics: it’s love. We make our families and we can also join families. You may be born into a family, but it’s your connections and your interactions with everyone else that makes you a part of that unit. A child can be born into the richest family and then run away from home, declaring that his mother is not his family. Those are different things.
It’s nice to know that you can make them, though. You get to choose who will and who will not be in your life, which is honestly a privilege. Yes, it takes hard work, but that’s part of life. As a half-Asian, I go to one side of my family with the most American accent, putting me aside as an outcast from the start. Then, I visit the other side of my family where my sister and I are the only ones who are not pale and blue eyed. After a while, you get used to it, but it’s a struggle when you walk through a mall with your red-headed cousin and explain to her friend that you guys are actually related.
Plus, when you live in the South, racism is just heightened and literally nobody believes you. Which is worse.
Yet, who cares if she’s related to me or not? By blood, no it doesn’t matter. I know she’ll always be there for me whenever I need her, and that’s what really counts. If being there is what family means, then I would also count some of my friends as family.
We’re there for each other. And we love each other, which is important. Somebody who will good-heartedly try to help you without deceiving you or trust you even if you don’t share the same beliefs. Or laugh with you when you crack the same jokes over and over. Or criticizes you, even if it hurts. Because it’s honesty. And that’s the most important relationship of all.