Blut ist nicht dicker als Wasser (Blood is not thicker than water)

There are few things that people tend to say about their families. Some of us say we have families and are more than comfortable with them; some of us really believe that we have none (but we all know that’s unlikely because distant relatives are family too), and some of us just willfully don’t want to have anything to do with our own families. The latter seems harsh, but once you get to know the reasons behind some of our cold and distant attitudes toward familial ties, the more you realize that the meaning behind the saying “blood is thicker than water” doesn’t always ring true in every relationship. It sure is the best scenario to have  your relationship with your family be the strongest. There’s always that instant biological bond—that familiarity since birth that no one else will have with you besides your own blood. However, how many times have you heard of legitimately abusive fathers, apathetic mothers, and… evil twins? Unfortunately for some of us, families are not always our strongest ally.

This realization however does not make friends, colleagues, and coworkers immediately more akin to you, unless you testify as such. There lies the danger in generalization. That is why up until a certain point in my life, I’ve come to take the ever popular maxim blut ist dicker als Wasser (the origin is German) as something very relative and only true to some. Whenever I talk about my own relatives, it somehow shames me to freely express my hurts and disappointments with them. I think that is because somehow, somewhere, some smarty pants thought of writing about how broken families produce unstable people, and enough people bought into that lie. So whenever a poor soul expresses their being hurt for years by their family, the listening party despises the victim for not being right with their family and pities them. I must say, though, that in any kind of relationship, we all must work very hard and patiently to get it right. The loving effort must be there, and one must always be willing to forgive and reconcile with a repentant relative. However, some things are beyond our control, and acts of reconciliation aren’t perceived.

I’ve got way too many hurts from my own family to even know how to begin sharing them. I just know that I’ve done my part to love them. I’ve stopped pursuing them not because I’m emotionally exhausted but because I’ve done what I could, and it’s up to them to change their ways. What I’m saying probably sounds very common, but I think what is uncommon for a lot of people is the ability to partake in peaceful confrontation. Hiding from people to avoid confrontation or refusing to even hear what they have to say does not solve anything and only makes things worse. We’ve all got some sense of pride, and withholding someone from trying to be on good terms with you by avoiding them is feeding power to that monstrous pride. This action has little or nothing to do with the gravity of that person’s fault and more to do with one’s own greed. I have to admit that when I refuse to talk to someone because of what that person did to me, I feel somewhat powerful by punishing that person through shutting them out and remaining silent. Nobody who is willing and actively pursuing the ability  to make amends deserves that kind of punishment. Once you refuse to talk to the person confronting you to talk things out, you immediately become at fault for prolonging the problem and making it worse. Sadly, very seldom do people really understand this. I tend to brush this valuable piece of conflict resolution off at times myself, because it is easier to just not do anything.

If you placed me right next to my family for examination, you’d also be able to tell that I’m an apple that fell far from the tree—another expression turned around. Probably the only thing that really stands out as a similarity is the way we all look. I fortunately don’t act, speak, or think like they. It’s really odd.

I thought it was kind of interesting that I took these photos in my family’s old house as I was visiting about a month ago (as you can see, it is empty and ready to be moved into by the next owner).  Some of their stuff is still there, like that lamp and the vintage collage of my grandparents and their kids you can see in every reflection.

Well, there you have it. This post really cannot have a proper ending without the help of my family doing their part to fix the problem. I’m just going to leave this like an open-ended European movie, with the underlying theme of proper confrontation and communication as its main message. I’m just waiting for a deux ex machina…

What I Wore: Nine West pumps, a vintage red dress (label was torn) that I wore as a blouse, Talbots skirt