I come from a bit of a dysfunctional family which I suppose everyone does. Maybe all families are dysfunctional in their own way seeing as families aren’t exempt from life happening to them. 

I’m the fifth child and first girl in a family of seven kids and I didn’t really have a sense of family growing up. My family isn’t the best when it comes to communication so I never formed deep connections with the rest of my family members. As a result, I have always seen family as the people you choose as opposed to those you are born with. 

When I started writing poems about life at the age of 16, I don’t think I wrote a single one about family. However, since I started my business Love on a Canvas, I’ve been thinking a lot more about family and trying to understand why I have such a disconnect with the whole saga. Seeing as the focus of my brand is reaffirming the relationships in your life and showing the people close to you love, I’ve had to think about the people I value and why. 

It’s especially important for me to think about this seeing as I have a family of my own now. Since I turned 25, I never had many friends, but over the past two years, I’ve lost most of the ones I once did have.  The most valuable lesson I’ve taken from it is the importance of family. Here is why family will always be all that you have.

They’re Harder to Throw In the Bin 

One thing my mom told me when I was about twelve that stuck with me is that you only need a handful of friends. As I began getting older, I also noticed that my moms’ friends list started getting scantier. Now that I’m thirty, I can’t count my friends on one hand and that’s because of a number of reasons. Sometimes people change, sometimes the purpose they served in your life is up, and sometimes the relationship is no longer mutually beneficial. 

One thing you’ll find with family, however, is that your relationship isn’t based on how mutually beneficial you are to one another. You’re tied together because you’ve known each other since your inception, or because you share parents, or because it would be almost impossible to avoid them. It’s not as easy to say, “I don’t want to be your sister anymore” or “I’m dumping you as a cousin”. If you have people who love you in spite of what you bring to the table, I think it’s something worth cherishing and you should work on strengthening your family bonds

Because Blood is Sometimes Thicker 

Sometimes, family is all you have because blood is thicker.  As mentioned above, even if you stop talking to your family it doesn’t change the fact that you share past, present and future ties. For a long time, I was upset with my brothers because they never kept in touch or made an effort to reach out. However, one thing is for sure; whether they reach out or not, ten years from now, they will still be my brothers and we will still share the same blood. 

The exception to the ‘blood is thicker’ rule is those rare people that you don’t share blood with that become your family. You’ll know they’re family because no matter what you go through or how much you fight, there’s a sense of eternity in the love and connection you share. 

All of this isn’t to say that when family is toxicyou shouldn’t distance yourself. But if they’re human, and they care for you, then they may be worth the headache. 

It’s All That Matters 

The last reason I think that family will always be all that you have is because it’s all that matters.  No matter how many places you go or how much success you achieve, without people to experience these things with, what does it amount to? You want to share your joy with people who were with you, who are with you, and will always be with you. Most of the time, such people happen to be family. 

Looking back at the friends I’ve lost over the years, I miss some and some I don’t miss so much. When some of them left, it hurt me so because I took my friends as my family since I wasn’t close to my blood family.

Now that I have a family of my own, I’m understanding why family is importantand why keeping us together is worth working at. I may not have come from a close-knitted family, but that doesn’t mean I can’t create one. I want my son to know that no matter what, his family will always be there for him as that’s something I didn’t always have. However, I think family will help me write some of the best poems about life. 

Over the years, however, I have learned that it is okay for people to not want to be in your life and not want to experience life with you. Sometimes such people will be blood family, and sometimes they’ll be friends. Nevertheless, appreciate the few people who will be constant denominators throughout the course of your life and love on them. They are your family, and they are all that you have.