Incidentally, 98.9 was doing something The End used to do but I don't think they do anymore: as a special for Thanksgiving weekend (though they do this at other times on occasion), they put two songs of the same artist back to back. So when Outside came on, I knew I was in for a treat in regards to the next song they'd have playing. Sure enough, I found...
It's Been A While.
It's another song that The End used to play a fair amount back in the day, and I probably could tell you that I can relate to it, too, more now than ever, and that it was always a great song for me. It does leave me wondering: just how many Staind songs have I heard before, in my past? Without even knowing the name of the band or the song. How many of them did I thoroughly enjoy?
'Cause yeah. Two songs, both very strong hits for me which I have re-fallen in love with, by the same band. That's generally a good endorsement. (Of course, there's plenty of bands I don't know too many songs to that I love anyway. For instance, I'm only intimately familiar with two Bravery songs, yet I do love them both.)
I'm sure if I bought albums by the band, I'd find a lot of music that didn't resonate with me as well as the songs I know. I'm also sure if I bought albums by the band, I'd find out that many of them sound similar, and perhaps they share some themes. (I could sense some strong similarities thematically between It's Been A While and Outside.) But I'm also sure that if so much as half their songs were so much as half as good as the ones I know, it would be worth it all the same.
Mind you, would likely get old if I listened to exclusively it pretty quickly. Bands which you can listen to the same album to on endless repeat are few and far between. (To date, the only ones I have done are a few Muse ones and Coldplay's Viva la Vida. The passion may have faded for the bands, but the ability to listen to their music has not, and the fade wasn't from oversaturation, simply passage of time.)
All the same, it'd definitely be something that'd be a worthy investment to listen to every once and a while. (Both Staind songs have earned themselves spots on my plug dj primary playlist.)
Anyway. That was something which happened on the ride home. But prior to that, there was something I wanted to talk about, the intended ramble for today. More specifically, what I had in mind for my blog post today was talking a bit about something philosophical, so I hope you can bear with me for a bit.
Basically, for some random reason (might be caused by a webcomic, dunno for sure), an old adage has been on my mind. I can't remember the exact quote, but I believe the expression more or less goes, "You can't choose who your family is".
It's a nice enough thought in theory, more or less conveying a harsh reality lesson, but with a usually-optimistic spin: you're born into what you're born into, and you'll have to make the most out of what you have because it's all that you have. Love is essential, so cherish your family while you have them.
That sounds reasonably enough, I suppose. Yet of course, I cannot help but to fundamentally disagree about such a narrow-minded ideal. It's true enough on the surface--you cannot control who your flesh-and-blood relatives are. Nor can you control them, what they do, what they say, etc., as those are their choices and not yours. You also can't change the environment you were born into. And for the first 10-21+ years of your life (circumstances depending), there will be very little you can do to alter said environment and you'll mostly (key word, mostly; not entirely) be at the mercy of it.
...However, that doesn't mean you have no choice at all. Especially not in who your family is. No, that you control, for one reason and one simple reason ONLY: family isn't genetic. Screw most dictionary definitions. (Except the ones dealing with "[a group] united by a significant shared characteristic" and/or "[a group] of peoples from a common stock".)
Family is who you are at home with. (Not who lives in your house. There's a distinction between HOME and HOUSE.) Family is comfort. Family is support. Family is love. Family is, in a single word: a bond. (Shut up, yes I know technically that's two.) A strong, nigh-unbreakable, bond.
And make no mistake: the majority of families are flesh-and-blood, and the majority of people who are flesh-and-blood are indeed families. Yet the two, in spite of their vast overlap, are NOT in fact, actually synonymous. They are two very different things, just like house and home are. Because families are safety.
You get to choose your family. If you choose to accept your blood relatives as family (as most of us do), that is your choice. It can sometimes be difficult. And if they prove to be toxic to you, you have the right, the choice, to deem them not a part of your family.
After all...if you treat them with respect and understanding, but they fail to reciprocate...that's on them. That's their choice. And you hold the power to let them know their choice is not without consequence. If they cannot accept you, then that is not your problem--it's theirs.
So if you hold the power to remove family...it figures you also therefore hold the power to add to your own. When you meet someone, you hold the power of choice to invite them into your family. If you have a really close bond with what most people would call friends, then perhaps, just perhaps, that's more than just friendship. If they are 'true companions', if they are truly bonded with you, then I'd call that family.
There's a reason that many, many, many shows (and films, and books, and whatnot) will have it so that multiple members of the show refer to each other as "part of the family", even if, saaaaay, they're simply part of a team, or coworkers, or close friends, rather than actually related. It's because it's understood: they may lack the blood relationship, but they are as good as together with one another.
And, hey. When you think about it. If you have a significant other. They started at some point in your life as someone you didn't know. (Even if that was waaaaaay back in your childhood.) That blossoms into friendship, and then into something more. If you decide to raise children by any method (be it biological or legal adaption), then you are by definition starting a family of your own!
That person, who started out a stranger, blossoms into being an inseparable part of your life. And that was something you chose. That was something that you made a decision on. You started a family. Maybe you didn't plan for it. Maybe you did. But when it happened, you went along with it. You held love for this other person, and through this, something special formed.
If it can happen romantically, why not platonically?
...Exactly. So if you ever feel down, ever feel depressed about those around you, ever feel this frustration, ever feel this strain, no matter how hard it may be, and no matter what you go through, remember that. Family is defined by a love and acceptance of one another, with mutual understanding. As a result, you hold the power to select, to choose, those you call your family.