The cult of the family


There is something that I’ve refused to do all my life: to be a part of a family photograph. The idea has repulsed me ever since I was a child, and I consciously stayed out of all such photographs – not because I hated my parents, quite the contrary, but it seemed absurd to subsume three individuals under one meaningless label: family.

Does the label imply that we all love each other? No. That we will be there for each other’s needs? No. Does it tell you anything about my mother, father, or me? No. How are we as people? No. How do we behave with each other? No. It tells you exactly nothing. I will point to a photograph and say: “this is my family” and it could well be translated as: gighihiothgiogthogt.

I’ve asked my parents many times why exactly did they get married? Why couldn’t they just live together? Why did they need to bring law between themselves? And as a teenager, after a rough patch in parents’ marriage, I had told my parents that whatever it is I hope they’re not still together because of me, because I don’t ever want to be blamed for something that they wanted to do and couldn’t. If there is ever a lack of courage, you will have to own it. It is a cruel world, and I am neither gentle nor kind.

I remember sitting in a café with a friend soon to get married and she said that once she has children, she will not end her marriage even if she didn’t love her husband anymore, to protect the family.

Don’t forget to take the mask off from time to time, otherwise your own unknown face will frighten you to death someday.

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