all this in between, volume 32312

When I think of my family (well, the ones who share my actual blood), I think of blizzards and deserts.  Yesterday, I was struck by how extreme that was.  And how it reflected some pretty important parts of who I am.

My mother’s side of the family is split between North Dakota and Arizona.  When my auntie left home, she got as far away as possible…to a place completely opposite to where she was raised.  She married a Mexican man, divorced him, and then married another Mexican man who didn’t speak much English.  That side of my family reflects a very different culture–one steeped in the pressures of urban living.  And it’s the one I feel most connected to–given my own childhood spent in such settings and cultures–but it’s a strange disconnected connection.

The rest of Mama’s side of the family lives in North Dakota–or nearby, in Minnesota.  They are super religious and intolerant–basically all the things I’m not.  I have a lot of difficulty with them.

My family situation is hard.  And yet, if there’s one thing in my life that I wish I could change overnight?  It would be that.  There’s a part of me that, as an only child, always longed for a tight-knit family.  When things got difficult, I wished I had a group of people who would be there for me, no matter what.  And I’ll admit–part of the reason I want to have kids and get married is because I need that connection to other people.  It’s really hard navigating life alone.

I have friends–good friends–and they’re great.  But the friends I’ve made as an adult are often close for a while and then life sends us drifting.  Old childhood friends feel more like family to me because of our shared history.  That gives us a connection that keeps us tethered to one another.  It’s the closest thing to family I’ve ever had.  With newer friends, that tether doesn’t exist.  It’s all a choice with these newer friends, which makes the bonds more significant, often–but also shallow…in an odd way.

I’m thinking about this now, I suppose, because of difficult friendships that have changed significantly.  While we are still friends and still connected, I don’t feel remotely close to them and don’t feel like it’s something I can fix.  Friendship is a partnership, and I’ve done all the heavy lifting.

As someone who was born into extremes, and learned to live in black and white–I learned how hard that life is.  How hard it is to always be hot or cold.  And I find, lately, as I get healthier, I see all the cracks in that existence.  And I just don’t want to live there anymore.  I want things that are easier–automatic–things I can just lean into.

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