Most people would use the phrase “blood is thicker than water” to reason that family is everything: that nothing in the world is more important than those you share DNA with.
However, most of us forget that the actual quote is “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” which means it is actually the people that were with us through our most trying times (the ones we shared blood and sweat with) that matter more.
As Jay McInerney stated, “The capacity for friendship is God’s way of apologizing for our families.”
I am not very family oriented as a person. As my dad once taught me, children are not obliged to love their parents, but parents are obliged to love their children. Contrary to what you might think will happen, this very statement made me love and respect him more — not just as my dad, but as a person on his own.
I could not say the same for the rest of my immediate family. I have lost any affection I’ve had of my mother long ago, and my siblings, whom I live with, are mere roommates to me these days — I stopped caring about them at some point in the last year, even though for most of my life, I always thought my brother was the person I love most in the world.
It is hard to accept that for someone who thought she grew up in a mostly loving environment, she could no longer bring herself up to even consider the word to describe her feelings toward most of her family. My parents did not lack in giving me love and support, but the family as a whole also more than filled their quota when it comes to hurting each other. Blood may literally be thicker than water, but we also all came with water from the womb.
Does this way of thinking give me points for being a good daughter or sister? Probably not, but what I lack for my family, I have in excess for my friends — at least, the few friends whom I’ve counted on for numerous times, especially during those years when I’ve been battling with (undiagnosed) anxiety and depression. Things that my family either did not know about or refused to acknowledge.
Elie Weisel said that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. Apathy means that you stopped caring at all, this is just not natural for humans. It still begs the question though, are we ever required to love the family we got, or is “family” a subjective concept? Most of my family members are strangers to me, at best, close acquaintances. Very few of them I can consider friends.
My friends, on the other hand, were the ones who had been there for me when I cried my eyes out. They were there to pull me back when I felt lost. They were the ones who held my hand when I felt like I was losing control. For the most part, they feel more like home that home.
They say that home is a place where you will always go back to, but my “home” is a place I want to run away from. So in the world where blood is thicker than water, do I choose the blood that runs inside me, or the blood which came with sweat and tears that made me into the person I am now?