My Chosen Family

Holidays were never a great time in my childhood, I absolutely hated them. I don’t know exactly what age I was when I realized it was all fake but I remember the feeling of emptiness as I sat at the dinner table watching my family laugh and smile, pretending that everything was okay, when asked what we were thankful for we’d all say family and the life we lived but it wasn’t true. As much as they tried my family wasn’t good at acting. I spent holidays trying my best to become so small that no one would notice me. I wasn’t thankful for the DNA we shared nor the holidays that brought us together I was desperate for an escape. I found it so hard to comprehend that this would be my life forever, society has this idea that “But that’s still your family..” to trap people in these toxic relationships, and if you leave behind your family you’re a terrible person. Because of this, I felt guilty for fantasizing about my life somewhere else but, I never thought I’d find a place where I’d fit any better, who’d want me if my own blood family didn’t? 

But thankfully I was wrong, I did find my people. My best friend and her family had been apart of my life since I was in first grade, even though a time where they lived across the country we kept in contact and couldn’t wait to be reunited. When they returned to our hometown we instantly became close again, But, like most kids, I didn’t want anyone to think I was different so I did my best to hide my home life. I didn’t know what unconditional love meant until I was exposed to it with them, I didn’t know what family meant until I joined theirs. It changed my whole view of life, to suddenly have people that cared about what was best for me and wanted to help me grow changed everything. I felt seen and understood in a way I had never before. I would spend weeks, even months at a time with them and I would dread the days I had to go ‘home.’ As time went on I fully integrated into their family and when I was 14, I officially moved out of my bio family’s house and got to call my safe space home.

My family Sierra Moore “Family” isn’t defined only by last names or blood. It’s defined by commitment and by love. It means showing up when they need it most."
~David Willis

If your home life is anything like mine was growing up, I hope you find your chosen family who gives you the unconditional love we all deserve. And, if you do don’t feel guilty about choosing them and for choosing yourself. Chosen families present themselves in so many ways, it could be your friends, a significant other, your pets or similar to mine; they’re all valid. The holidays are about being with the people who make you feel loved, and wanted. 

I have this amazing chosen family now, and it's been hard at times for sure but it’s the greatest blessing in my life. I now have the most genuine, forgiving, loving mom who is the epitome of selflessness, a sister who has and always will be my best friend, with the kindest heart and even a big brother who never fails to make me laugh and reminds me that I’m family regardless of what our DNA says.  I love holidays now, I’m surrounded by an actual family with little traditions and love, it's so much different than the life I was used too. It took me a long time to realize that I deserve this kind of life, I never deserved to feel how I used to - no one does. Choose people who choose you and don't let anyone make you feel guilty for it. 

And to my family, thank you for choosing me too.