I come from a huge African family (I am half Ghanaian and half Sierra Leonean). In addition to my blood family being a social butterfly you start to accumulate friends who become family along the way.
Over the last 29 years and counting I have met some of the most wonderful souls. I have learned that there is a very thin line between family and friends. Sometimes your family feels more like friends and friends feel more like family.
It is important to have a village of people who love you for you. People who are there not just when the lights are flashing but people who are there when the lights are turned off.
People who are there for you no questions asked and people who will ask the tough questions.
When I moved to Atlanta people asked my Dad if he was worried about me. His answer was simple “No because she meets people everywhere she goes”. I am fortunate because not everyone is like this.
My friends can’t stand me because typically everywhere we go I know someone. And it is hard to distinguish if I have known you for 2 minutes, 2 years, or 10. I just love people.
I have learned that over the years the dynamic between you and your friends or even you and your family can change. Relationships evolve for the better and worst. This used to hurt me but I realized that we all are ever evolving and nothing will always be the exact same.
Sometimes people naturally want you to remain how you were when they met you in a season. It can be challenging and uncomfortable to watch people change. Change is a part of life that there is no escaping.
Relationships go both ways. If you want a relationship to grow you must pour into it. If you don’t want a relationship to grow well then don’t pour into it.
I have also come to understand that the frequency you see people or talk to people changes as you get older. Don’t take it personal. As we go from being in one family to having a family of our own things change, people get busy, the kids have school, doctors appointments, etc.
You know a relationship is real when it can be months or even years and the laughter and love is still the same.
It is okay to distance yourself from toxic friends and family members. It doesn’t matter who they are.
There are people I love who I keep at a distance because of self preservation. They may drain my energy or dampen my light or spirit. It doesn’t mean I love them less. It just means the time spent must be reduced in order to maintain the relationship.
Boundaries are key in friendships. Not every friend needs to know everything. And don’t feel obligated to spill everything to everyone all the time. There are some of my friends who know the depths of my soul. And others they just don’t. Some people I talk to about certain areas of my life and others I don’t. Some friends I do certain activities with and others I don’t. Again, none of this should ever be taken personal.
I haven’t always been the best friend or family member. I have hurt people before in the same way others have hurt me. I have had moments where I have been distant and a lot of the time it was a me thing. I am extremely extroverted but over the years I have developed introverted tendencies.
After I became a Mom I realized that Jayce and Christina are a family too. For a while I struggled with the fact that he doesn’t have a father who is consistently present. But we have created our own family with traditions such as weekly pizza nights and have our own inside jokes. Our family is full of love even with just the two of us.
I hope to one day get married, grow my family, and continue to be the best mother as well as the best wife as I can be. I want to be able to live a long life and share stories with my grandchildren and great grands.
I am here to protect my peace. I am here to protect the peace of my son. And I am here to walk the path that God has outlined for me without interruption. Being unapologetic about my life is a choice and it is a choice that I am not ashamed to make.
Written by Christina Kanu