There's been a lot going on in my life lately and more than anything, it's made me think about family. I am so, so lucky that my immediate family have always been with me in the most physical of senses, we have all always lived under the same roof (disregarding Marc and university of course), we come home to each other more days than not, even when they're away from me I speak to all of them most days. Like I said, I'm so lucky to have that aspect of family. (NB: all the below photographs were taken pre weight loss.)
Earlier this Summer I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and, currently, my doctor is leaving it alone to see if it becomes more bearable on it's own in the current months. Some days I feel like my diagnosis is complete overkill and, although I am anxious, it is manageably so. Some days I feel like I can't breathe over the stupidest things, I can't even wear my headphones on the bus in the morning as I am completely paranoid my breathing is somehow wrong and everybody around me if judging me for it. This has made me think about my family even more. When I was seven I lost a huge chunk of my family due to an disagreement, As I've grown up, although there have been times that I've wondered whether reconnecting is something I might want to do in the future, the fact is I don't know whether I will ever be able to make up time with the relatives that turned their back on a seven year old child, the relatives that haven't known me for over half of my life. When I started to really struggle this year, I distinctly remember a conversation with my then girlfriend; it's impossible when a big thing happens to wonder whether if a significant life event like that hadn't happened, would things have worked out the way that they have now? The plain and simple truth is, I don't know. Nobody really does, and there's nothing I can do to change it. The last few weeks have given me a little bit more of an important perception about family.
Family doesn't, it's true, end with blood. It's taken me a long time to realise that I have all the family that I need. I don't mean I have a mum, a dad and a brother who give me endless support; although I do, and I will be forever grateful, but I mean I have an entire mismatch of family that I have picked, and have picked me in return. I not only have cousins, aunties, uncles, but I also have two ex-boyfriends-turned-best-friends who are endlessly encouraging, and who read draft after draft of half written stories, I have a best friend who grew up with me like a sister who has done more for me than I can ever imagine, an other half who puts up with everything life throws at us. I have a work team who keep me strong, day in, day out, five days a week and a girl who quite readily calls herself my mum's favorite daughter.
The thing for me is, I was looking too deeply into who shared blood with me, when I should have been looking for something far deeper than that. My family in the traditional sense may not be as big as it rightfully should be, but that doesn't change the fact I have an entire family around me that, yes, might not share my blood, but shared every single one of my dreams, shared my experiences, shared my sadness and my happiness. I am surrounded by the most perfect family I could wish for, and they might not share my blood, but it's undeniable that they shared, and continue to share, my life.
What are your views on family?
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