Five years ago today, I moved out of my parents’ house.
This sounds relatively mundane — until you get to the part where I left because my father was quite possibly homicidal and evidently attempted to murder my mother. Or the part where my mother saw nothing wrong with the fact her own husband might be trying to off her, but thought that I was possessed by Satan and also compared me quite earnestly to Hitler. Or the part about the fires in the walls.
(Or the part where I would have had to cut ties even if they had been relatively sane, as they were painfully close-minded — and pansexual little me was moving in with her then-girlfriend.)
Or, my particular favourite — the part where my own parents promptly called the cops on me! For moving out! At age twenty-two! After having left them a letter explaining that I was leaving of my own volition, and why!
(Coming out to my parents via the West Virginian police was a close second favourite, though. That was fun.)
Five years later, and my strongest memory of that day is still the fact that I didn’t cry, not until Here Comes the Sun came on in the car.
Five years later, and I’m still not in contact with my parents, and have no plans to be. People talk about the importance of family, imply that one day I will realise this and “come to my senses” and so play the prodigal daughter card.
But if there is one thing I have learned in these past years, it’s this:
Family is the most important thing, but “family” goes beyond fucking genetics. (In the wise words of Bobby Singer, “Family don’t end with blood, boy.”)
Family is not limited to whose blood flows through you, and it most certainly is not who would shed your own blood, or the blood of the people that you love.
Family is who you would shed blood for.
Family is a foundation, not something that should tear you down.
And I left because I do value the ideal of family, and don’t care to see it defiled in that way.
On that front, I have absolutely no regrets.
And if there’s another thing I’ve learned in these five years, it’s that the other most important thing is Story. Sure, I may have gone through a completely traumatic experience — but who else can say that they came out to their parents via the West Virginian police? That their own mother confused them with Hitler? This isn’t something that’s going to break me. It’s something that I can use as fodder, to build a foundation all my own.
And the stories I’ve gotten since have been pretty damn beautiful, too. I’ve met people since who have been beautiful stories in and of themselves, and who have made beautiful stories with me.
So I suppose that, all in all, I might just have to count myself lucky.
And I do.
It’s been a long cold lonely winter, indeed.
But hopefully, here comes the sun.