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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

We're Only Family If You Say So

I am proud and nervous to release this new record. Proud and nervous has been the continuum I've been chronically oscillating on since I pulled the cord on a long toxic cycle with my family. With the release of We're Only Family If You Say So, my hope is that I can break from that continuum, too.

I haven't been shy about sharing the experience of breaking up with my parents. Sometimes I second guess, wondering if I'm just being a cry baby. In the darker times, I think I made it all up-- that I'm crazy. This, I am learning, is a common symptom of losing one's identity. Family loyalty runs deeper than roots. It's part of who you are.

But this record, it has grounded me. It is not only a documentation of an excruciating process, but also the sound of scabs being picked for the last time. It's the sound of regrowth. It's the sound of new roots crackling in the dirt-- fragile, but fast. They are growing deeper by the day, and are fusing with other roots I didn't know I had. And they are, for the first time in my short 34 years, my very own.

There are still moments on this record that are confusing-- songs that, when I listen to them, think "My parents would love this one." Then I hit the realization again that this song exists because those parents who would be proud are the same parents who have withheld a relationship with me.

I resist the hope that this record is a wake up call for them; but also, I hope. I am just someone's kid, after all. As we wrote it, as we recorded it, as we release it, I've made a conscious effort to recognize that while my insides are screaming "If you do this, you'll never get them back," the truth is, I don't want to be caught in a relationship that cannot hold all of me. A relationship that requires me to be small, withholding, fearful, or not myself is a relationship that will continue to manipulate and hurt me.

There is no one-way liberation. When I become free, I free those around me. When I become myself, I grant permission to those around me to be themselves, too. So, I hope that in the way I fear I am breaking the bridge, I am teaching others to swim. Maybe those others are my parents. Maybe they are you. They are definitely me-- even if it's just a doggy paddle.

We're Only Family If You Say So. We are saying so from the bottom to top of our lungs. Can you hear it? It's all of us in there. All of you is welcome, too.

1 Comment

Feb 23, 2021

Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your freedom!

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