Jen YihComment

How to Love Your Family

Jen YihComment
How to Love Your Family

I've been taking a lot of long showers lately. I feel guilty while I do it, knowing that a major part of the world population doesn't have access to clean water, & forget hot water...and I'm living in my vain 1st world ways shamefully looking around at my products for "volumizing" hair blah blah blah. It's upsetting & I'm lessening how often and how long I shower. But, sometimes when I'm standing under the steam with my eyes closed, relaxed, and quiet I think about a lot of things. Today - it was about family. 

Family is important. They are the people that know almost everything about you. I mean, my brother at one point used to wipe my ass as a baby and now we do all sorts of adulting together. It's bizarre. His wife, is one of my best friends and sometimes when he's around HE IS the third wheel, poor guy. I can't get started on my parents, two of my best friends, total kooks, and inspirations - world travelers, hardest workers I know, creative, original, intellectuals - fully ridden with their own quirks & things that drive me crazy. It's not all stars and butterflies - we're a very confrontational family that when something goes wrong we duke it out...I won't bore you with those intimate details but trust me, we've all had to work on our taming our firey dispositions. 

I realized, I hang out with my family almost more than I hang out with anyone or anybody. We have fun, traveling, skiing, Sunday brunching, BBQ-ing, going on long walks and talks, we're good at hanging out. ...so much to the point I don't pick up calls to hang out with kids my own age! They humble me, call me out, bring me up, and love without any expectations or judgments. 

But - taking this one step deeper. Family is important because there's this sort of "unconditionalness" about it. These are people that are just automatically your friends & even if you are a P.O.S. they are somehow still obligated to care for you. (I know it doesn't always work out like that, but in general from the culture I'm from, that's the expectation.) When you do well or do good, it strengthens your family. When another family member is hurting, you're all hurting. It's a collective community & the stronger everyone becomes individually and together, the better everyone does... It's not just family though, learning how to treat your family right helps in your friendships. Once you make a friend, you expect that friend to be there for life! There's no in or out, no not friends or friends - yes, of course, you have the right to not always like or agree with your friend and vs. vs. But I find if you're someone that really really, I mean truly values your family, you value your friendships at almost the same level.

But - here's a crazy idea. What if everyone was your family? 

I recently watched The White Helmets - a documentary about a group of people (called the White Helmets) who voluntarily came together to risk their lives to rescue everyone and anyone from the bombings in Syria. (If you're not paying attention to what's going on in Syria, here's an article), and if you're really not paying attention - there are tons and tons of airstrikes/bombings happening daily. Anyway, there was a bombing in small a town, one of the main dudes in the documentary was calling and calling this other White Helmet on the phone hoping to find his brother, who lived in that small town. He was literally crippled with fear and anxiety, hoping someone would find him under the rubble. While he was on the phone, he heard a voice - he perked up and was like, "That sounded like him, is that him!?" and the connection was really poor and he didn't find out if it was his brother or not. He hung up the phone and said, "My brother, or not my brother, it's someone's brother...we're all brothers." ...I was like WHOA, that was f*cking profound. These men, the White Helmets, have lost their families and friends and colleagues and fellow White Helmets - and are so stripped down with loss of their loved ones - they now look at every human-being as a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, a grandmother, a grandfather...as one family, all the same. 

Am I making my point or just rambling shower thoughts at you?

I suppose what I'm trying to say is... everyone out there, is someone's someone. I'm not just talking about the cashier at the grocery store you're ignoring while you're texting during check-out, I'm talking about people that don't even speak your same language or immigrants or your boss or someone you've been talking shit about or someone who wronged you... Maybe sometimes we should step back, like way back, and realize that this is one big family and our home is Planet Earth. It doesn't matter if you're American, Mexican, Chinese, Ethiopian, [insert human labeling here]... everyone's feelin' all the feels... and what I'm trying to ask is that we all make a big resolution to be better to our big, happy, dysfunctional family. Okayyy? Peace. Literally, peace. 

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