Family is one of the most complicated things in life. In many ways, they can do no wrong. So long as you know they love you, you can ignore the little problems. But some times family…well, sometimes it’s tough to have them around.

I love my parents very much, and my step-dad too. I love my brother and I care about my step-brothers (though I don’t know them very well). I grew up very close with most of my extended family (there are a lot of them), and many many of my cousins are more like siblings. I have two aunts who were teenagers when I was born, so in many ways they are like siblings too. I’m glad to be so close to so many people, but I wish I were close to all of them. Unfortunately, some of my family members have isolated themselves for various reasons.

I love my family, they are relatively good people. They try to do the right thing, and they usually succeed. But I’m starting to feel myself pulling away from them. I try not to isolate myself from my family, but there is too much that I can’t tell them.

I have a very Catholic grandmother on my mom’s side. She is a wonderful woman. She is very loving and kind. She is one of those people that will welcome anybody. And, while I know she feels homosexuality is a sin, she has never once said anything bad about a member of the LGBT community. However, to my grandmother’s mind, a person has to believe in God to be good. She doesn’t care if they are Catholic, but they must be Christian. She believes that atheists are trying to ruin the country. Nothing would upset my grandmother more than finding out that I’m an atheist, so I don’t tell her. In fact, I don’t tell that side of my family. None of them are that religious, but they love to gossip. The last thing I want is for somebody other than myself to let slip that I’m an atheist. My grandma’s in her 80’s, so I figure I can tell my family after she’s gone. But it is painful to keep that part of myself from somebody I love.

My dad’s side knows I’m an atheist. They were never very religious, so they don’t care. However, they are very conservative. I can’t tell them I’m genderqueer. They wouldn’t understand. If they did, they would try to change me. They believe that gender and sex are the same thing, and they believe that the traditional gender roles should be upheld. Since my fiance is male, they wouldn’t care about the demisexuality part. As far as they’re concerned, I’m straight. They are also quite anti-feminist. I don’t keep that one to myself, but it seems that any conversations I have with them along those lines just turn into fights. In fact, I recently took my dad and brother off facebook for that very reason. They’re happy to push their views on me, but they aren’t willing to listen to my views. The same goes for my political views.

I do have one uncle on my dad’s side who is a conservative Christian. Like, Evangelical, homeschool your children, avoid all things secular, Jesus Camp Christian. He and his wife separated themselves from my family when I was about 6 when my aunt was pregnant with their first child. Apparently my uncle wanted my grandpa to make the family Christmas gathering about Jesus, but my grandpa wanted to keep Christmas about the family. They stopped visiting after that. As a result, I’ve never met my four cousins. My uncle and I tried to have a facebook relationship for a while, but it didn’t work out very well. He has terminal cancer, so I doubt there will be a chance to fix things. I’d love to meet my cousins, but, given how sheltered they are, and given their family’s views, I doubt they’d be so keen to meet me.

I have never told any of my family members about my abortion. My mom’s side would be against it and my dad’s side, while they would allow me to make the decision, would have wanted me to keep it. I wish I could have called my mom as soon as I found out I was pregnant, but that wasn’t an option for me. I had to make the decision without her.

All of the things I can’t talk about make it difficult to be close to my family. I try to visit everybody once a year, since I live quite far from everyone, but between not having money and feeling tense about saying the wrong thing and causing a fight, it’s hard to motivate myself to keep in contact with anyone. Like I said, families are complicated.

10 responses to “Family

  • amberlisa

    Reblogged this on Amber Lisa's Literary Boutique and Spa! and commented:
    Ohhhhhhh child!!!! I feel you on this one!


  • lachouett "book reviews for pleasure"

    I feel privileged to have read what you have shared. It takes guts!!
    I hope you won’t mind me saying this though:

    I don’t think you need to tell anyone that you are an atheist. The same way that a religion is the cultivation of a personal relationship with God, an atheist can choose to not believe and that is a personal choice. No one has the right to butt in! (and this is coming from a Catholic :)).

    Once religion’s good intentions ( and you maybe know where they say those leads…) are used and limit other’s freedom to believe or not it completely goes against tolerance, so it kinds of deviates from its primary purpose.

    One last thing: Think about seeing your sick uncle, not to fix anything…just to be there. Something about how you just shared those words tells me you might regret it if you don’t and when the inevitable moment comes it will be too late.


    • hessianwithteeth

      I don’t think belief is truly a choice. I never wanted to be an atheist, and I never would have become one willingly. To me, belief is a matter of personality: some people are more likely to be religious, or spiritual, and others aren’t. But the point remains. I agree that it isn’t anybody’s business, but it is hard when something that is so vital to who you are can’t be discussed with the people you care most about
      Unfortunately, seeing my sick uncle probably isn’t a real possibility. If it were just him, I would have no problems, but his wife…well, that’s a story for another time. There is also a lot of distance between us. If the opportunity arises, I’ll jump on it, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Tree Hugging Humanist

    My family is the only reason I’m not openly atheist. None of them know.


  • brandonlbc

    I can’t imagine the pain and struggle that you’ve been through, but I thank you for sharing it…it gives me and should give us all so much to think about. I don’t know you, but please know that I support you no matter where your life’s journey may take you. May peace, healing, and love be with you.–B.C.


  • Cynthia Mauleón

    Wow. That’s tough. It’s brutal when you have to edit yourself to feel safe to be with family. I have so enjoyed your posts these last few weeks. You are a kind, brilliant, thoughtful person–never lose sight of that. Pulling away for awhile can be the kind thing to do for yourself if you are at a place where getting together with family feels too challenging. Sending you love and light.


  • paidiske

    “Families are complicated.” Ain’t that the truth!

    My biggest family complication is trying to be the generation that breaks the cycle of abuse, while still maintaining what relationship there can be. It is incredibly sad to realise that you are waiting for someone to die so that a particular tension can be relaxed.

    Sarah’s point about community is important. Knowing what our needs are and how to have them met is a key aspect of resilience. I wish anyone on that quest nothing but the best possible outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  • nancyabramsblogger

    It can be extremely challenging when you have a family that values completely different things than you do. I relate to this completely. They all mean very well, but when the choice is between arguing frequently and distancing yourself at least a bit, distancing yourself becomes the easier, and often the better option. I’m personally dreading moving back home after college in May. By the end of a summer I’m typically pulling my hair out over my family. I love them, and they love me, but we’re constantly on each others nerves just for being ourselves. That’s not a great home environment. Maybe you can find some common ground during your visits though. I have an uncle who’s very religious, and I recently found out that he sings in his church’s choir. I’m a choir member myself and have been for almost as long as I can remember, so at the last reunion, we wound up having a really interesting conversation about different choir directors we’ve had. That kind of conversation can’t be sustained throughout months or years of living together, but finding a topic or two that you and another family member really connect with can help bridge the gap during awkward reunions where you just want to disengage.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sarah

    No doubt that family is rough. *hugs* Making adult decisions sucks. I hope you have community who can support you during this transition time. If you need someone to listen, feel free to connect.


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