I am slowly learning the people who I choose to keep in my world are more significant than the people who were forced into my world by circumstance and genetics. I should not be expected to stay loyal to family members I did not pick. Family members who mistreated me. Family members who make my life a living hell.
I am slowly learning I am allowed to cut people out of my world, even if they helped raise me. I am allowed to make an adult decision and decide that not everyone from my childhood are heroes. Some of them are villains. Some of them are undeserving of my time and attention.
I am slowly learning there is no reason to feel guilty about doing the right thing for my own mental health. I am not going to feel bad about saying goodbye to toxic people. I am not going to let anyone convince me that family matters more than anything else and it doesn’t matter what they do because I should always stick by them. That is bullshit. Actions have consequences. Even if you’re my sister. Even if you’re my father.
You cannot treat me like a piece of shit over the course of years and expect me to forgive you. You cannot expect me to give you respect when you have never given me the same in return. You cannot curse me out and expect me to laugh it off because you’re family. That word means nothing without love and affection to back it up.
I am slowly learning family does not matter to me the way it did in the past. There is nothing binding me to those people except for our blood — and I care more about the surface. I care about the way people treat me. I care about whether people get along with me, whether they pay me respect, whether they look at me like a human being or someone they can abuse without retribution.
I am slowly learning there is nothing stopping me from removing certain family members from my phone, from my social media, and from my life as a whole. I don’t care if people judge me over it. I don’t care if they say I should be more appreciative of my family.
They don’t know what I have been through. If a boyfriend treated me like complete shit, everyone would tell me to leave him and never speak to him again. So what is the difference if a relative does the same exact thing? Why should I stay loyal to them? Just because our bloodlines happen to overlap? Screw that.
I am slowly learning family is something I can create myself. Family does not consist of the people who were inside of the hospital room on the day of my birth. Half of those people are dead to me now.
My real family are the ones who have been there for me during my darkest hours. The ones who would never say hurtful things to me, even if they were enraged. The ones who love me and also like me. The ones who lessen my stress, not heighten it.