Sometimes I really wish my family had traditions. It’d be cool even if I could look back and think that yeah, way back, we had weird stuff that we used to do that we’ve kind of forgotten about now, but nope. Nothing. And that made me kind of sad. I was sitting at my desk thinking things like, “Dude, if I have kids we’re going to have so many traditions that they might possibly hate me because we do so much weird stuff every Christmas” until I realized that A: I was being really, really melodramatic, and B: traditions don’t define a family.
A is kind of normal. Being melodramatic is fun because my life is not dramatic. I know I should be grateful for that, but sometimes it’s like I’m seven years old and ridiculously excited because it’s raining and maybe the basement will flood–catastrophes or problems or whatever are interesting if they don’t hurt you and if you don’t have to clean up afterwards, because they break up the routine. That probably makes me sound like a terrible person, but it’s true.
B sounds like Lifetime movie material, but Lifetime is pretty big on traditions so maybe not. But traditions can’t define a family. They can bring it closer together and create a lot of memories, but they can’t be the only thing that makes a family what it is.
Family is a weird thing. Family is a group of people who, for the most part, don’t get to choose each other. People get to pick who they want to be friends with or (to a certain extent) who they want to work with, but family–arguably one of the most important groups in a person’s life–isn’t chosen. And that’s kind of weird, because so much of who we are is shaped before we really know what’s going on by the people around us and their actions. We don’t get to choose how we’re shaped, which is equal parts disturbing and reassuring, because it means that if you do weird stuff you can claim that it’s not necessarily your fault that you do weird stuff. (Which is how a lot of trials end up getting stuck in one place, but that is besides the point for now.) The thing is, in a world that values choice and independence of thought pretty highly, it’s strange that family–an unchosen set of relationships–so deeply shapes who we are and how we think.
I mean, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a feminist because of his mom. That is all.