What Family Really Means

Poem by Marie Clark
Arm me with with a pen,
and I’ll write you about my thoughts on today and tomorrow and yesterday.
Arm me with words,
and I can’t guarantee I’ll know what to say.
Place me at the side of the table in between two family members that can’t stand each other.
I’ll be uncomfortable and quiet while screaming inside.
But don’t worry,
I won’t dare show it.
No one would know what to do.
I probably wouldn’t be welcomed back next year.
Seems like I just join the other half of my family that is always missing from this table instead.
Maybe that’s what I want.
November hits each year
causing me to feel engrossed,
fixed on the end of the tunnel,
the light at the end of the next few weeks
that marks renewal.
A fresh new digit to the end of the date I put on assignments.
A new set of classes.
The next chance
to continue moving forward into adulthood.
My eyes
past the break in between.
I’m only looking forward to coming back to my life.
My life here. at college. the life I have crafted for myself.
I find my voice goes numb when I am around relatives.
The blood we share doesn’t beat in the same ways
I can feel it in my veins.
It’s supposedly the place I used to feel completely myself,
I recall feeling that before.
But now, my definition of home has changed.
Holidays don’t really equal time off to relax
Instead I am placed in a foreign home with chains around my heart
and warnings all around me.
“Your opinion isn’t valued here.”
It seems really artificial
I wish I was the one in charge of when I could leave.
I’ll play along, visit the family, say grace, and eat.
But, will they see that I’m different?
That I see through all the fog they put in front of their issues?
I’m pulled to this way
and then asked why I chose that way.
And everyday that I gain more of my own voice,
it seems they find a way to tear it away from me.
I’ll continue to fight. A few days before I return to my real home.
I can do it. I can make it
the next few years til independence is mine.
Then, family will pull me and only
consist of those that I have chosen to be in my life
and they won’t all be related by blood
but instead something thicker.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hang in there and remember that you get to choose who your family consists of as you grow up. I’m holding onto this!


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