What I Learned in East Lansing #4

Here’s the last thing I learned in EL that I’m going to share, which is really more a “remembered” than a “learned”: the families we make are powerful and important. I’ve spent a week with Matt and Trav, and while I knew, deep down, that they were important to me as people (and as students and scholars and blah blah blah), I was reminded this week that they have become family, part of that family that gay people make in ways that I think other groups of people do not, or not feel the compulsion to make.

Matt and Trav are amazing people. And yes, there’s the part of me that lauds their accomplishments and wants to see them do tremendous work as scholars and teachers and researchers. And I can’t deny that I feel some sort of parallel excitement that I’m standing next to them while they shine brightly and that maybe I’m helping them to do that through encouragement and such.

But I’m increasingly remembering that they are part of my family and that I need them, and friends like them, in my life to give me a sense of completeness and value. I need to remember, from time to time, that the tenuous relationships I create with students who come and go quickly are ultimately not self-sustaining in the way that friend-family relationships are, and that I need these other relationships. I consider myself lucky that people put up with my crazy, and at the moment, as I ride the bus back to the Detroit Airport, I feel especially grateful for the love, support, kindness, and true family spirit that Matt and Trav have shown me.

6 Comments

Filed under Conference, Family, Friends, LGBT, Travel

6 Responses to What I Learned in East Lansing #4

  1. Anna

    “the families we make” = awesome.

    I heart you, Will. View all comments by Anna

  2. Caroline

    This is lovely, Will. I have always believed that our friends are the family that we get to choose–and I really don’t make a distinction between those two groups of people in my own life. I was so happy when I heard that you would be staying the week with Matt and Trav because I knew that was a reflection of how important you all have become to each other. Trav has been a dear member of my family for some time now, and Matt is a newly-found family member, so it means a lot to me to know that you are supporting them academically and emotionally. And aren’t we all lucky to know them? View all comments by Caroline

  3. Yep, the families you make are the ones that carry you through the tough times. Funny, I was just writing something similar. :) View all comments by Russell