Today's guest post is a special one because it comes from Laura who is currently working on her blog and hoping to launch it soon. It's also special because it's a post that I could never write myself. I wasn't lucky enough to grow up close to my cousins. I love seeing how different families work and relate to one another and this post let me do that. We would love to hear about your experience with your cousins in the comments below!
My Cousin, My Friend
Making friends has always been difficult for me, and keeping them sometimes seems downright impossible. Add in a healthy dose of social anxiety and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a lonely, awkward childhood! This is where, for me, my cousins came to the rescue. I feel so lucky to have grown up in such a huge, tight-knit family with no shortage of relatives of all ages. Even though all of my siblings are significantly older than me, I have a cousin who is only a couple of years younger than me, and she has been my pseudo sibling/best friend for as long as I can remember. One of the nicest things about your cousin being your best friend? They already know all of your crazies, and they usually have at least a few of the same ones. For me, this takes away the gnawing anxiety that normally surrounds any new relationship; that constant question of “When is it the right time to unload my baggage? Will it scare them away? Will they think I’m crazy?” That’s why I’ve always cherished my friendship with my cousin so much. You don’t have to explain. Anything. Period. They already know your issues, they’ve seen your baggage and they’ve helped you carry it. They won’t run at the first sign of trouble and oftentimes, they see trouble coming before you do. It’s an amazing feeling to know there are people out there with whom you have a built in friendship, one that doesn’t need constant affirmation or attention, one that is filled with understanding and acceptance. I love the comfort I get from the knowledge that at any time, for any reason, I can pick up the phone and my cousin will be there, ready to listen.
Another plus? Your cousin already knows every one of your family’s eccentricities, and they can share your frustrations with all of them. Not to mention they can bash on your mother WITH you and everyone knows it’s all in good fun. This also means that you can automatically bring a friend with you when you visit family. This weekend my cousin and I got to go and stay with our aunt in Palm Desert. It was so nice to relax, talk, and just be present in each other’s company. We busted out the old photo albums to see pictures of my grandparents, and my mom and her sisters growing up. We got to listen to my aunt telling stories about them for hours, about their lives and the way they were raised, about different traits of theirs that my cousin and I or other members of our family share. Remember how I said I was way younger than the rest of my siblings, and about the same age as my cousin? Well, technically my cousin and I are in separate generations, which means that my aunt is her great-aunt; my grandparents are her great-grandparents. As we were listening to my aunt telling these stories of her childhood, that generation gap really hit me. Here we were, listening to the same stories, about the same people, but it meant such vastly different things to each of us. For me, I was getting to hear stories of my mother as a child, of grandparents that I never got to know because they were taken too young. For my cousin, she was learning about her grandmother’s childhood, about a time before her parents were even born, about distant great-grandparents whose main significance to her is that they meant the world to her grandmother, who she adores. It was a really interesting experience, and it made me truly appreciate the importance of cousins, because what friend would be content to go sit at your aunt’s house and talk about all of your old relatives? I can’t think of many!
All my life I’ve struggled with social anxieties and incredible shyness, which sometimes make it nearly impossible to keep in regular contact with anyone, let alone think about leaving the house and meeting for coffee...the horror!! Sometimes that can turn people off or scare them away, which has happened to me many times. With my cousin, that’s something I never have to fear. My cousin and I have been through thick and thin together, and we’ll continue to be there for each other to the end of our days. I am so appreciative of her, the relationship we have, and the solace I gain from the knowledge that there is at least one person out there who will always be in my corner, no matter what. A cousin is someone you can turn to, for anything, and receive no judgement. A cousin is someone who never leaves.
About the Author
Laura is an administrative assistant and aspiring blogger/entrepreneur. She is a Disney enthusiast, animal lover, and proud member of the Harry Potter fandom! Having long struggled with anxiety, bipolar, and eating disorders, she is determined to use her skills in writing to help others who suffer with these conditions. Family is everything for her, including of course her two amazing furbabies. Born and raised in Orange County, California, Laura loves all things outdoors, especially laying on the beach with a good book! We look forward to the launch of her blog, www.hideyourscales.com, in the coming weeks!