Think back on all the books, movies, and TV shows you've seen. Think of the families you've seen in them, that you thought were ideal; that you wouldn't mind being a part of; that you really feel there should be more like them in the world.
Now ask yourself: What does the word "family" mean?
A group of people tied together by invisible bonds of love, who will support each other no matter what; try their best to understand and relate to each other no matter how much they change; and sacrifice for each other if necessary.
A person with male-coded genitals and a person with female-coded genitals who get a license from God or the government to use said genitals to produce as many more people as possible, all under the unquestioned rule of the oldest male-coded person.
I always thought #1 was the right definition.
My parents of origin told me that. The church I was born into told me that. The mass media, in the country where I was born, told me that. Everything was love and acceptance and babies and children, and the latter didn't have to come out of the womb of a family member. Adopted children were always, always, true family members. And caring for them was ennobling because they were fragile and vulnerable.
Somehow, while I was growing up, things started to change. A group of people with power, money, and a political agenda tried to redefine marriage and family, to make them more like #2.
Suddenly, we couldn't let kids get adopted, because they deserved to have parents.
Suddenly, we couldn't let people get married, because marriage is super important.
Suddenly, those bonds of love meant nothing, because family is everything.
The worst part is that they don't really believe any of it. Because when they try to defend definition #2, they use #1 for all their examples.
But it's easy to prove that the two aren't the same. All you have to do is talk to one committed same-gender partner, one child with two same-gender parents, or one person who was abused and rejected by her "traditional" family. Because in order for it to be right, no one who doesn't fit in can exist. Everyone has to be faking, or lying. The same way that many of them lie to themselves, telling themselves that they have to get through another day of their miserable lives because this is the only right way, and if they try any other they'll really be miserable.
That was my life for twenty-odd years. That was the fear which kept me bound to it. And which kept me from seeing the real monsters trying to tear down my family of origin were not outside it.
Today is Mother's Day. As a holiday, I'm not sure I like it. I feel like it's another excuse to pretend #2 is the real definition, and to make women and girls feel inferior by giving them impossible role models. Maybe it isn't to everyone, but it's wrong to pretend no one's hurt by how we observe it and talk about it, or accuse them of spoiling things for speaking out.
Having said that, there's no one I'd rather spend it with than my real family. My partners, rev_yurodivy and aliaspseudonym; my sister, cfmv; and my mother especially, burning_ground.
She's been there for me for the last couple years, helping me talk through ideas and see what is really important. She's been nothing but supportive of me, through everything I've had to go through, and has provided material help when said materials were hard to come by. She's also great at creative writing and spiritual / theological musings.
In our personal belief system, feeding another person is an act of worship and gratitude, and a way to honour Inari. We're grateful to have been fed by burning_ground, in more ways than one. And whatever the future holds, we hope to make her proud of us.
(2015 Update Edit: Yuro is no longer partnered with us, and cfmv has cut us off after converting to a conservative religion. It hurt us to lose each of them. We hope to someday find new family members.)