Family – Week 1 – Pt. 3

Photo by Samer Daboul on Pexels.


What are your fondest (childhood) memories?

Dear Creatrix,

What was it like for you to look back on the family life, you’ve experienced so far?

What came up when you thought about what you have, what you had, and what you might wish for now?

As I shared with you, in the last lesson, I grew up in a multi-generational home, and everyone I saw or knew lived in heterosexual family settings, of some sorts.

Sometimes it was single mums, raising the children, sometimes it was the grandparents raising the children, or a mix, but I’ve never seen or experienced queer families when I was growing up.

And that made it quite difficult for me to imagine a future family for myself, and I often just imagined my future as me with kids, also because I was very sure I did not want to be in a relationship that was like any of those I saw modelled around me.

I was, however, very lucky, as I got to grow up around people from different cultural backgrounds, where one or more partners came from different parts of the world, or where they just came from other places in Germany, bringing in different ideas and traditions around birthdays, home keeping, responsibilities in the home, and what it means to be a family.

Later, when I studied cultural anthropology, that understanding deepened.

I learned about the concept of visiting husbands (where grandparents, brothers and sisters raise children together and form a family, while the men just visit their female partners at night, and go back to their families in the morning), arranged marriage (where the parents pick the partner), communities where your husband is determined by astrology, and you can have a lover on the side, and many other ways to define and form a family.

As people growing up in the west, or who know just one culture, it can be easy to think that what we know is the only way – yet there are always different ways, and we have the freedom and choose what and how we wish to live, as long as we find other people who would like to live that way with us.

When I lived in Roma communities in Ukraine, I had another opportunity to experience different ways of creating families myself. There, the people who raised you, automatically became your parents, independent of whether they were your biological parents, or whether this was formally recognized, or not.

Even if you just raised someone for a while, you’d still be called Mum for the rest of your life. And you often actually call other people by their relationship to you there as well, which I found incredibly powerful.

When I became a god-parent, my god-children stopped calling me by my name and called me god-mother instead. Their parents also gave me a different name, which reflected that I have responsibility for their child now too and that we are connected – that we are family.

And I really loved that – it’s a wonderful way of creating belonging, of calling people in, and I share this with you because we can all use this. Our words are so powerful, we know this when we call someone our love or beloved, or whichever term we may choose – we call them in.

But we don’t just have to do this with our partners, we can also do this with friends, when we want to make them family. We can adopt anyone we wish to into our family, if that’s what we want.

After all, what is culture?

It’s something that has been created by people at some point, and that was then passed on from generation to generation. So we can create our own traditions and our own ‘culture’ now.

In our own cultures, and within the societies we were raised in, we can keep what we like and change what we don’t like because many traditions can actually be harmful – and it’s no sign of respect to continue what doesn’t serve us any more.

Your ancestors will agree with this – just check in and ask them yourself.

And when it comes to other cultures, we can also decide if we want to look at the differences here, or if we can all learn from each other, when we don’t see one concept as superior (just because it is more familiar) than another, but really explore our options here and choose whatever works for us and makes us happy.

Because this is all about respect. When you see something you like, you can learn from it and make it your own. Just don’t take cultural practices or items in disrespectful ways, or take the items, patterns, celebrations while continuing to disrespect the people.

When we recognize the beauty in each other, we can all learn from each other and happily grow together.

A friend of mine, who travelled with me to Ukraine a couple of times, loved what she saw about the role of god-parents in Ukraine, and though she wasn’t Christian, when her first son was born, she asked me and three other people to be his god-parents.

She invited us to come and stay with them for a weekend as an informal celebration, where we crafted, made a fire, and ate together and lived as family to create a bond.

So we do have plenty of options here to make up what we wish for, no matter if we belong to a certain tradition, culture, or religion.

Our world is such a wonderful and rich place, full of so much beauty and variety for us to discover, to try out, and to live.

And I would really like to encourage you to do your own research on the different options of family life around the world to see what is out there, to learn about different cultural practices, rituals, traditions, and to use your own imagination as well, to think of what you would like to try, and what you can’t find examples for in other places.

But, before you go out to explore the world (on your computer, or by talking to people you know) I’d like to bring us back to ourselves and our own experiences for a moment.

Photo by Alina Vilchenko on Pexels.

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🌈 You have the power to create your reality.

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It really makes such a huge difference.

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