by Robert Waltz
Not for the faint of art.
PROMPT January 20th
Imagine you have to describe your family to someone who’s never met them before. What makes your family unique and different from others? What are your family’s most important traditions, values, and stories?
These days, I think of myself as a family of one. Less drama that way.
I have a cousin in New York City, and we get together once or twice a year (except, of course, for last year). Other than that, anyone I could consider family is either far away or really far away (aka dead).
When I was a kid and my parents were still around, we were always different because, among other things, we didn't conform to the majority religion. This no doubt contributed to my outsider perspective on life. But I'm not so good at being that outsider when it comes to my family; I was, after all, in it, and it just seemed normal to me at the time. It was only later that I started to figure out how we differed from others.
Part of that is because my parents brought me up believing that all people are, at base, just people, and should be treated with courtesy and dignity regardless of identity markers such as race, religion, gender, nationality, etc. Which is not to say that I always succeed at that, but it's the baseline I come back to.
Also, they emphasized education, which is why even now I try to learn everything I can and keep an open mind. Again... I don't always succeed, but that's what ideals are for.
As for traditions or stories, well, there's really not much to say. I don't think my parents were big on that. The tradition I've been participating in for the past several years involves visiting my cousin, as per the above, with the excuse of observing spring holidays -- though none of us are particularly religious; it's more just a reason to get together and have some connection to the past.
I guess I just don't need those social connections the way others seem to. And that, I think, is what makes my family of one truly unique.