• Rajah E. Smart, Ed.D.

Family, Man- Excerpt from new book “Marriage: Soulmates or Cellmates” by Rajah E. Smart, Ed.D.

Updated: Feb 5

The definition of family, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is a group of individuals related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Throughout my life, I’ve heard catchphrases such as “Family is all we got” or “Blood sticks together.” I’ve never believed that, even as a child. My brain didn’t function that way. What interests me is how the people that deal with you daily are more forgiving than the folks considered your family. The sh—you have to encounter and manage with your family prepares you for the real world. If the folks in your own family do you dirt, then you are ready to take on society. If a sister steals your money or a brother tries to tarnish your name, and you’ve experienced this your whole life, consider yourself prepared for the real world. These are not necessarily examples from my experience—they are simply examples for folks that always think a Facebook post is about them.

I watch my wife’s family and how they eat “supper” (I hate the word) together even today. Who says supper? They hate conflict and genuinely care about making sure everyone is okay.

Her mother cooks anything you want and doesn’t bring it up later to remind you what she did for you. When they have a disagreement, it’s over the next day. Huh? That really happens. They don’t sit and stew over it. Someone can say I said something and I get looks at the cookout. I’m being dramatic but it serves a purpose. Hell, I can have a disagreement with someone in my family and not even know what I did. Next thing I know, we beefin’ for years.

Are people considered your family if they don’t know you? Or, are upset at something you did years ago. Don’t blame me for something I did when I was younger. I was only trying to be what I thought was a man.

My younger brother always says to me, “the people I fu--- with are my people. If I don’t fu—with you, you ain’t my people.” This cat always got my back so I stay at his.

Fair statement, right? Drama isn’t necessary. Foolishness isn’t necessary. At the end of the day, you simply want people that have your back, can genuinely tell you when you’re wrong and not to tear you down in the process, know your level of crazy and love you anyway, and invest in your daily sanity.

I say all this to say, just because someone says their family doesn’t mean anything. The conventional family doesn’t have to be your way. Family is a bond that means through anything, your back is covered. You may fight and disagree but you’re still family. Blood doesn’t bond you--keeping your word and being loyal does. I have brothers that have had my back. I have a sister that knows how my brain works and loves me regardless, and more. Hell, my ex-wife is still my dawg. The first, not the second. I’m just saying…


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