Family Reflection Paper

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To answer the question of what defines normalcy in my life, I look to two of my experiences: “It’s not Divorce. And It Doesn’t Define Me,” and, “Morey’s Piers will be Closing in 5 Minutes...” These two memories deal with feelings surrounding family structure and class, respectively. In the first experience, one of my relatives referred to my father as my mother’s “ex-husband.” What I interpreted then as pure anger, I now don’t believe is solely anger at all. I think hurt and confusion contributed to my shock. I remember that I asked myself, “Did my parents divorce and not tell me?” a thought I discarded as impossible. My parents separated, they did not divorce. The question is, why does that matter so much to me? I think I became so upset because that word threatened the very unstable notion of family that I had left. My understanding of family was partially location based, but mostly media based, which is a culturally specific location within itself. Of my friends, most of their parents were still together. Some were not. But those with divorced parents had a system worked out. While different, their family structure still made sense. Mine did not. So, I have to consider the movies and television shows I’ve seen that depict families. I’ve seen married parents, divorced parents, single mothers and fathers, and extended families. Never once have I seen separated parents. My idea of normalcy excluded my own family. In multiple theories, authors discuss the consequences and realities of those that fit into “less than” categories. Categories themselves, Crenshaw claims, are “intrinsically negative,” and work to “exclude or marginalize those who are different (1242).” But what about those that don’t fit into a category at all? In reflection, I may have been so angry that this relative was trying to place my family into the category of divorce because I knew my family existed outside of normalized categories. While unknown, confusing, and invisible, our situation did not necessarily carry negative connotations. I was actively resisting being placed into a negative category, something worthy of pity and being looked down upon. I wasn’t the norm, but I was invisible. So, somehow, that made me safe. My understanding

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