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la familia

07/29/10

Wow. It’s been too long since I’ve written. Where to begin? I started a word document today because I knew I wanted to write something, and I could only come up with two topics. I came up with these:

  • When does one realize that they’ve changed
  • Family

I know those seem like pretty broad topics, but there is a sort of development in the birth of these ideas. Since I just finished watching a drama about a Korean family, I think it’s appropriate that I write a few thoughts about the latter topic.

So here it is…

Family – the Chris Yim hypothesis

When I think of family, I think of my family. I think of the essential pieces:  Mom, Dad and kids. Growing up, watching television, the way I saw a family was as a unit. You have the Flintstones, the Jetsons, that dinosaur family, the Brady Bunch, any Nick at Nite television show. I could go on forever. So I had engrained in my mind an idea that a family comes in a set, like golf clubs or plates. You don’t just have one or two items, but many; and since, we only had 2 kids (me and my younger brother Steve), the magic number for me has always been 4. However, growing up, going to college, hearing about other family situations and witnessing romantic relationships in college, I’ve come to realize that family is so much more than parents and kids. Your family is your history, and whether you are bound to them by blood, it has the capacity to alter and change so much. Instead of starting at where or how my idea of family changed, I think I can better explain it by expressing what my beliefs about family are now.

Family is the morphed form of a romantic relationship. Unless, you’re like Will & Grace and decide to have a baby without the romance. They have love, but they’re not a romantic couple. Yet, they do have a family. However, that is not a typical case of family.

I don’t even really think you have to have kids to have a family, but that’s getting too much into details. First, you have a relationship; and what I witnessed in college is that most relationships simply aren’t healthy. Well, I think that’s because most individuals don’t lead healthy lives/lifestyles. But who the hell am I to say such things? That’s just my expert opinion as a professional in the field of life.

And now, I realize why I never wrote on this topic before. It’s just too damn complicated.

So, you have a couple. And whether it’s because they don’t think they can find someone else, they feel stuck because they have already invested so much, they feel the pressure of getting old and needing to get married or some other reason, the couple gets married. Then, you have individuals who have not really sorted everything out either individually, in the context of a relationship or both, in a marriage. I say this because sometimes, I feel like people just don’t know what’s good for them, myself included. We get into relationships with people that aren’t good for us. We stick it out for one reason or another. Often people break up, get back together, break up and get back together again. As an outsider, I really don’t think relationships like that ever work. Unless, you can actually wipe the slate clean and really forgive and forget, there is just utterly too much history. But for some reason, people just are a glutton for punishment. Investment in a person is too hard to let go of and say “good-bye” to. Therefore, you have all these young or old married couples with all the problems that I feel as though should’ve been sorted out before the marriage.

Add kids to the equation, and now you’ve introduced just another layer of complexity to the already complicated and struggling relationship.

Actually, this entry is an ode (am I using that word correctly?) to people in unhealthy relationships. Get out of them. Don’t get married. Or else, you’ll have kids and then you’ll be the cause of them leading fucked up lives. But hey, if you’re fucked up as well, then you might be able to blame your parents, but don’t. Cuz that’s not their fault either. There is certainly a link, I believe, it’s not causal, between parents who have good relationships and their kids having healthy marriages. When you have parents who don’t get along or parents who constantly fight or don’t treat each other well, it has this tremendous impact on the way the kids see love, family, and it shapes so much about how they conduct their relationships. It’s like Good Will Hunting. How can Will ever trust Skylar if the people that he was suppose to count on and rely on the most let him down? No wonder Will is all messed up. Can you blame him? And I even know people who go through similar problems and issues. They have parents who have terrible relationships, and it’s like throwing a wrench into gears that are turning inside of a person. It breaks them down.

When God created Adam and Eve, he started the first family. I haven’t read the Bible enough to know what their family was like, but where did we get this model family image that we base so many American television shows off of? Are any families like the Brady Bunch or the Cunninghams (off of Happy Days)? Obviously not. But there are some that are close. There are people who have really solid relationships, where each person supports one another, where there is a measure of accountability, compassion and selflessness. I’m not even saying that these are all the good things that go into a relationship. Yes, these are qualities of a healthy relationship.

This is all too abstract. Let me introduce you to a family that I know all too well. The Perkins Family.

Here, you have Mom and Dad and their two daughters Cynthia and Stephanie. I am not too familiar with the relationship of Mom and Dad, but from what it seems, it looks pretty good. They work together. They spend a lot of time together now that both Cynthia and Stephanie have gone off to college. From what I hear, it took a long time for them to get there. When Cynthia and Stephanie were young, their parents fought a lot, threatening to get a divorce on numerous occasions. However, it never happened. Cynthia and Stephanie got support from their parents with whatever they wanted to do. They’ve been really fortunate and lucky to have had a fairly stable family and home life. I think one thing that Cynthia has told me though that she would change with her family is that she wants to have a family where the communication lanes are wide open. She felt as though that, at times, her parents felt suffocated with one another. Her Dad would come to her complaining about things her Mom would do, and vice versa. And rather than bringing these things to the table, each parent would harbor these things inside, let it fester and tell his or herself that this was just another thing that he/she would have to live with being a part of the family. But, doesn’t that suck? Cynthia, once in a family wide open discussion, told her parents that she’d rather them get a divorce and live happily separated rather than being forced to live together in a situation where they feel suffocated. I guess the situation or the suffocation was that serious because her parents didn’t get a divorce, but how would you feel if there were things about your partner that bothered you and instead of speaking up or saying something, you felt like you just had to bear it? It sucks.

I don’t know if I said anything meaningful, poignant or valid about family in this entire entry, but I will finish with what I think to be the most salient feelings I feel, which are in regard to family.

I imagine the person or thing that I love most. Or the person that I have cared for the most. When I think about those feelings and the strength of those feelings, I almost feel something physically stirring in me. They are strong feelings. And though I know and am aware of how strong these feelings are, I know that my feelings for my future wife and kids are going to be the strongest. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like when you watch a sports event or some movie where your feelings are stirring inside of you. The feelings are so compelling, so moving, and it’s not even something that really that pertinent to your life, but you feel like someone is gripping your insides and shaking it up. You feel the depth of your chest. Anyways, square those feelings or just even add 1. It’s stronger than all that. That’s how family makes me feel.

Video that shows, perhaps just a fraction, of how what that feeling for family looks like from the film Rocky Balboa (2:44 on):

another GREAT video from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (family is beautiful):  

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