You don’t have to love your family.

There is always that incessant nagging from your immediate family, the constant pressure to show up at dreadful distant family reunions, events, holiday parties, but why? Why do I have to spend any portion of my time seeing distant relatives I truly don’t care about. The truth is, I don’t.

I do not have to travel to see my pompous, condescending aunt who is also staunch Trump supporter. I do not have to fly home for Christmas and go to that god forsaken Christmas party full of judgmental people. I do not have to like my insane cousins who pretend life is perfect when I see them, but have the type of issues Dr. Phil couldn’t even fix. I most certainly don’t have to go to the reunion full of people who call me homophobic and racist names for being in a gay marriage with a black man. I had to stop caving into this pressure and liberate myself from these distant relatives — whom I keep distant for a reason. I can now spend that time with people who actually mean something to me.

After my father passed away, I decided I would cut out his side of the family completely because they just aren’t nice people. I was finally liberated from them, and you know what? My brothers, sisters, and mother followed suit. However, they still play nice with that family. I’m done playing nice. I’m done pretending to like that god-awful taco salad. I’m done smiling as I choke down some dry ass turkey. And I’m done with that side of the family.

Coming out and getting married are the two biggest blessings in my life. I will not spend another day pretending to like people who not only blatantly disrespect me and my husband, but also call us awful names behind our back. I am so happy to no longer carry the weight and stigma of that last name. It feels beautiful.

For you, it’s time to stop. Stop pretending to care about people you just don’t have time for. Stop caving in to the social norms that say, “love your family” and “blood is thicker than water”. At the end of the day, none of that is true and none of them will ever have your back like your chosen family, your friends, parents, and siblings would. It is time to take back your life, set yourself apart, and truly be independent, to be who you are. It’s never too late to liberate.

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