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  • Writer's pictureRandy Young Green Ghost Media Inc.

Love and Distance

Sunday, June10th 2024.

By Randy Young

As far as family goes, I’m at my wit’s end.

Despite the inherent, feral brokenness of my family of origin, I can’t express how desperately I love them and want them to be a part of every aspect of my life. Business, vacations, and deep conversations would all be better if my family were entwined with them.

They have a different idea.

Mainly because they are different people, with different personalities, which tell them that despite a person bleeding love, kindness, and adoration for them, they’d rather roll the dice with strangers who may or may not have surreptitious agendas. I’m over here thinking that the people who are more “me” than anyone else on the planet are most likely to be my tribe, and they’re saying, “kinda, but not really. Not in the way I’m looking for.” To that, I say, “Who am I to question that logic?”

No one, clearly. When your loved ones perform those kinds of elegant mental gymnastics to justify keeping you at arm’s length, you really should just hand them the medal they desire so much. They’ve earned it.

This wonky set of circumstances has forced me, despite being wracked with the kind of anxieties that would make Woody Allen shvitz, to reach out to non-biased humans from varied backgrounds for their kinship, temporary loyalty, and time—everything short of “friendship.”

Because what is friendship?

People can be really kind, gracious, and give you the family feels you’re looking for as long as your interests align and there’s something in it for them, beyond just talking to you and spending precious time. This kind of alignment can be seen as networking, or what I like to call “schmoozing-with-purpose,” because there are rules to it. I’ve found them out the hard way:

1) Be kind. Always be kind.

2) Be honest, but not overly personal.

3) Don’t talk about your failures without discussing your equal or greater success.

4) Don’t brag about your life.

5) Don’t grow romantic/limerent attachments, however obvious or tempting or reciprocated.

6) Be available, but not omnipresent.

7) Be energetic, but not frenetic.

8) Give something away, but not so much that they feel obligated to return the favour.

I’m not being facetious—people want to “like” you, and would love to call you “brother” or “sister” or say that they “love” you, but they really need something of real value in return and for you to not make it weird.

Take it from a weird person, who by no fault of their own, is being forced to learn how to not be welcomed in Austin, Texas.

One day, once I’ve given enough things away and gotten enough things back from relative strangers (who’ve chosen to be my family by trade) and life is on calm, even, much-risen waters, I hope that my true tribe, the original one, doesn’t have a change of heart.

It would feel a tad disingenuous. With love.

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