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  • Writer's pictureKiri Self

Chosen Family

Where do I belong?

Tell me your story and I'll tell you mine

I'm all ears, take your time, we got all night

Show me the rivers crossed, the mountains scaled

Show me who made you walk all the way here

Settle down, put your bags down

You're alright now

We don't need to be related to relate

We don't need to share genes or a surname

You are, you are

My chosen, chosen family

So what if we don't look the same?

We've been going through the same thing

Yeah, you are, you are

My chosen, chosen family

Hand me a pen and I'll rewrite the pain

When you're ready, we'll turn the page together

Open a bottle, it's time we celebrate

Who you were, who you are

We're one and the same, yeah, yeah

We don't need to be related to relate

We don't need to share genes or a surname

You are, you are

My chosen, chosen family

Hello everyone, I’ve been quiet for a while - it was half term and I got to spend time with my son and some amazing friends, and then some more amazing friends came to see me for the weekend.

While I was away I heard this song for the first time - the Rita Sawayama and Elton John version. And a) I loved it anyway because it’s totally my kind of perfect song and b) I was sitting next to my gorgeous friend L at the time. We went though some similar stuff in our childhood, and listening to this song with her made me really think about the words.

Now first up I don’t want to make things worse with my genetic family than they already are. But I’ve been stalled on writing about anything else because this is really what’s at the front of my mind and what wants to be written about. So I’m going to try to tread carefully and hope that it will all work out ok.

So a big hang up I have is that I’ve been inclined in the past to choose people more than they choose me. I can be a bit of an annoying hanger on I think. And especially when it comes to relationships, for example with David I took the crumbs he threw me even when it was clear he didn’t really choose me. Not being chosen by him looked like, for instance, being hustled into a car by him after completing a half ironman. He had finished earlier than me and didn’t want to make his family suspicious by getting home late. I was exhausted and emotional and he was completely unmoved. He just wanted to get home. Why I put up with this is all down to my lack of self esteem and self worth.

I’ve been really upset by some family members turning their backs on me.

But this song

It hit me. It got me out of a self pitying rut. I do have friends that choose me and they do want to be my Chosen Family.

And I was sitting next to L, who could be like the little sister I never had. And not only do I choose her but she chose me too. She chooses to spend time with me, and she sends me cute photos of her and her kids. And I dunno it just made me feel really nice inside.

And then I kept on and on playing it. Because that’s what I do when I find something I like (good with songs, or sticky butterflies less good with drink or drugs!!)

I have been blown away by the people who have reached out to me. If I’ve spoken to or messaged with you in the last two months you are very much included here. Thank you more than I can say.

People do choose me and I don’t have to take the crumbs anymore. I don’t have to put up with shitty behaviour from people who call themselves friends but who aren’t actually being very nice to me. And I certainly don’t have to ever put up with anymore Davids of this world.

But what does being chosen family feel like?

Well, it feels like people who call or message you even when you’re shit at replying. I have a particularly lovely friend MM who always messages me even though he is going through the roughest time of his life. He is so patient with me even though sometimes anxiety can mean it takes days to reply. He keeps making the effort at his end. It blows me away.

My Second Mummy has been there for me for years. She took on the role almost when we first met - probably 15 or so years ago. I’m not exactly sure why but she took me under her wing, and has kept me there ever since. I literally owe her my life. She keeps showing up for me, and never judging me. She calls me out on shitty behaviour. She is just solid and always there. Seeing her and her wonderful husband last weekend was one of the highlights of my year. It makes me feel nervous inside writing about her here because of course I have a Real Mummy too. But I can’t really write about her yet - I’m worried about the consequences of doing so. There are good and bad things to say and I think I will save that for another day. I don’t want to cause hurt and harm but I do want to be able to tell my story too.

My Chosen Big Brother came down too, S. I love him. He’s exactly like a brother - gorgeous and wonderful and annoying as hell sometimes 😆😆 (I’m never taking him back to my favourite chinese after he terrorised the waiters at the weekend 😡😡) 😆😆😆 But god I love that man. He used to be David’s best friend but I kept him in the breakup, for which I’m eternally grateful. We practically lived together back in the day, and used to get up to crazy shit. When we were drunk we would put our favourite songs on YouTube and sing along to them. We both love musicals and it was brilliant.

L, my Little Sister in my Chosen Family. I say little because she’s younger but she’s more mature than I am 😆😆 being with her and her family just feels like being home. And Fraser feels the same way. Just sitting here thinking about her makes me feel all peaceful inside.

F, the Big Sister. Gorgeous and wonderful and sometimes a bit bossy but just gets me. She’s been through other bits of the stuff I’ve been through than L, and she always just keeps checking in on me. She’s always there for me.

And my Magnificent Seven. We bonded over death and pain and we have something that I don’t think can ever be broken. We chat absolute shit together. It keeps me going, seeing their chat even when I’m too frozen to respond to anything. P never fails to send me all sorts of random shit on Instagram and it always makes me smile. Or squeal. She is the Best Wife. She’s a bitch but she’s my bitch. She’s not perfect but neither am I. I used to love coming home and finding her in my flat even when she didn’t live with me. L and N and S and D2.0 have the kinds of relationships that I aspire to. They are kind and steadfast as friends. It’s an old word, steadfast, but it’s a much underused word. I think we should bring it back. Steadfast. You’ll find pictures of them in the dictionary next to it. Just like a normal family we’ve had our fallings out. But we always kiss and make up and sort out our shit. On my end I acted like a bit of a dick (ok a complete asshole) to D a few years ago. But he graciously let me apologise and all is ok again.

I think that’s one of the things that makes a family isn’t it? The ebb and flow of relationships but always that knowing that if the chips are down, they’ve got your back. The dynamic that keeps everything going with energy from those that are able to give it. That energy changes as time goes by but it’s always there.

For some unknown reason they keep choosing me. And I choose them right back.

PS Reading this back, the last bit made me think about my genetic family. I have to trust that the ebb and flow will bring my own siblings back to me. I know they have their own things to deal with and it just takes time. I hope.

PPS I have to add that when P and I first me we hated each other with a passion. Looking back that’s hilarious 😆😆😆 I thought she was a bitch and obnoxious and mean. And she thought… I’m not sure actually but I think comments are turned on so maybe she will come and tell you 😆😆

PPPS I just read this article. Interesting things to think about - how different memories of childhood affect us as we get older and how they can affect our relationships with our siblings.


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