My ‘Chosen Family’ Is the Best Holiday Gift of All
My partner and I called them “orphan” Thanksgivings and Christmas dinners. Many of us were abandoned and ostracized by our given family because of trauma, sexual orientation, or addiction. We all deserved somewhere to land on a holiday, and we made sure everyone felt like family.
What led to me not being associated with family at the holidays was when I spoke the truth about my life to my family and they chose to abandon me. Some did not know what to do. Did not know if they should choose sides, so they did nothing, basically turning their backs on me. I was in my early 20s, and I was on my own.
I was new in a relationship, and we fast became family. Also, I am an outgoing person and began to make friends at church and work. I also joined support groups and made friends that way, too. My friends and I were all misfits. No real home base. Just existing in a world where our fundamental connection had been broken. So, we gravitated to each other and found a new home, a new family. Chosen family is the best. We still bicker like family, but our bonds are superglued.
One year, we all gathered for Thanksgiving. I am not much for sharing my kitchen, so I did most of the cooking. Others brought their family favorites (I did have to object to the tofurkey — that was one step too far). Some brought sodas or store-bought bread and that was OK — we all contributed to a feast meant for family. It was the first time I made dressing with giblets (I made way too much by the way). We sat at our big dining room table with the kids at the kids table and before prayer, we all went around and said something we were grateful for. There was not a dry eye in the house when we were finished. Most said they were grateful for the people in the room for a feeling of belonging finally.
You, too, can celebrate with chosen family. You are not obligated to spend time with people who are toxic for you. Sharing blood does not require you put aside your safety and security to just meet others’ expectations of you. You owe them nothing. You owe yourself a lot.
I owe my life to my chosen family. They bring me joy and security. They let me be my authentic self and they celebrate me just the way I am.
Be brave and Mighty strong and choose a family that loves
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