Finding is a journey. It is being willing to travel across spaces to connect. It is setting aside time to build community. Family is largely what we make it. There is a saying that gets misquoth often; The real phrase is ‘the blood of battle is thicker than the water of the womb’. As a queer human, my family of origin has taken me with mixed results. Some are accepting, some barely tolerate me and some opening disrespect me. Family is about building for me, not about something being handed to us. As I unpack generational trauma cycles in my family or origin and with my family of choice, it is like threading a needle. What might be a single stitch in time stretches out into a line of moments.
Throughout the first two years of my graduate program I was separated from my family by two and a half hours. The work of getting home while doing the work of grad school limited our visits to once to twice a month, with great exhaustion. Separation was terrible for my mental and physical health. Distance and traveling it was painful, and yet it was an important part of sustaining myself and remembering that this part of my life was a part rather than permanent.
As time goes on the individual voyages (nearly 4 hours each way by bus) have seemed to blur together, the way that the lights streaked into lines as I took this photo from the bus. The thread of our relationships will scribble across memory as the experiences fade from the present to the past. Family is foundational for me, as I’m interdependent on others for my health and welfare.