Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
We Need Not The Blood | 9.17.23

We Need Not The Blood | 9.17.23

The Sunday Edition

It’s never been about blood, not really, though we’re taught and told to believe that. That the sharing of blood due to choices not our own is the determining factor of closeness, of loyalty, of connection without equal. We’re told it’s thicker than water, that it binds us to those who possess the same bits of the same DNA floating inside, that we are born into the branches of some tree, and that is how we will define family. Valid, perhaps, but this is not the full story, this is not the whole truth.

Over the years of our wandering, and those have been many, Sarah and I have made family in so many different places, seen love grow that feels every single bit as deep, as loyal, as real as that we have with those that share our blood, and have watched the branches on that tree blossom. Today, it’s one of those friend’s birthdays, so Aarthy, if you’re reading, if you’re listening, Happy Birthday, and thank you for being one of the very first family members I’ve added to my life out of the clear blue. We met on Flickr, back in Flickr’s heyday, and even were lucky enough to spend time in person, only once, but it was enough. She’s become a fixture in my life, and on into Lady G’s life as well, a sister from another mister, and though she lives so many miles away in Canada, it doesn’t matter, not really. Happy Birthday Aarth-Vader…I love you, I do.

The two goofballs in the photo above, are two more family members that wandered into our lives and never left, and I so truly hope never do. Ash, you know well from Mind Noise and our Somewhere on the Spectrum video/podcast, and his lovely fiancee Sav, actually met each other at the same time they met us, when they took our original Chasers of the Light Life Reboot Course. They fell in love through this course, and we fell in love with them there too, and then actually have been able to spend time in Ireland, England, and Scotland where they were 2 of only 24 people to attend our wedding. They are family, and they are the chosen kind, which, the years have taught me, brings so much to the table that the biological kind simply cannot. Chiefly among these, are the viewpoints that family simply cannot provide. They love us like family, but they do not guide us as parents, they support us like siblings, but without the same shared aches, or experiences from our youth. They are perspectives we cannot receive from those that have known us all our lives, because, simply, they have not. This is valuable, this is vital. Ash and Sav are loved, by us, beyond measure and I can only hope they feel that.

See those beautiful babes in the picture above, taken almost a decade ago, wandering the wonderful streets of Asbury Park, New Jersey? See those young, fresh faces staring out? Three of those are family members we made so long ago, and Pete and Lisa (the handsome fella standing on the right, and the little beauty to the left of Sarah) were arguably the very first non-family-family members we’ve added. We shot their wedding as one of our very first travel weddings, and became this strange family that we all decided was a priority. They’ve been with us in NJ, NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Delaware, and Montana. We’ve shot their family members weddings too, as we were family after all. We share tattoos (1/4 for life), we share memories, we share hard times, and more breakfasts than you’d believe. We will always see them, always make them priority, and I cannot wait to see where else we go with them.

Christine, the polka-dot clad beauty on the far left, actually hired us to take photographs of her bakery opening, long, long ago, in New Jersey. We met, we loved, and we loved so much, that she ended up moving to Montana for two full years. We got to see her so much, and if you know her at all, you’ll attest to this, her spirit is absolute sunlight, and she brightened every moment she was here. She has this way of always knowing when you need something, without saying a word, and somehow fixes problems before you admit they were them at all. She’s family, and she always will be.

In the photo above, while I may be sartorially challenged, it’s plain to see how happy I am, how happy Sarah is, and two newer family members in our lives are the reasons behind the grins. Lynzee and Lauren brought us down to Belize to photograph their wedding, and we were instant family. I say that without hyperbole, without overhyping anything at all. Sometimes, you meet people and you know. You just know. These two badass babes have seen the world, have served this country, and have taken so many beautiful steps to live the lives they’ve always wanted to live. An email was the seed, a shot-in-the-dark inquiry to us asking if we could possibly join them for their wedding, and out of the deal, family. This is the way of things, the way the world spins, a Yes, and a whole new branch on that family tree is born. Magic, that.

Three more members of this wild and growing family, all in one photograph, all on the black-sand beach of Talisker Bay, on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Sarah, in the very center of this frame, was instrumental 4 years ago in making our wedding magical, and we met her at the hotel we got married at. Her gentle soul immediately screamed sister to both Lady G and myself, and we have kept in constant contact with her, and her partner Innes in the red jacket, ever since. Every time we come to Scotland, we find a way to be together, and the connection has only grown. They turn to us, we turn to them, and I call this familial. On the far right of this photo, our brother that traveled the world with us, Steven. Steven is another family member, chosen by the universe to be in our lives in a massive way, who we met through our second life-reboot course, Wander with Wonder. Instantly kindred, newly converted Liverpool fan, Steven is the most amazing, tender, hilarious, and under-emotionally-reactive human being we know. He made our trip to Scotland last year absolutely staggeringly fun, he’s up for everything, and he is always, always, there for us. No matter what. Steven was family from the very beginning, the herbalist we never knew we needed, the tarot reader we deserved, the understanding ear, and I cannot imagine this tree or any of its branches without him on it.

Ah, Deirdre, the pocket-sized-powerhouse in the photo above, the maestro of the Sligachan Hotel on Skye, the reason our wedding was able to happen, at all, the businesswoman with aplomb, the dynamo that so instantly felt like family when we first met, that storm-soaked October night in 2018, that she invited us to host our entire wedding in her hotel, that we could have the run of the place, and she rearranged the world to make magic happen. Since, we’ve gotten to spend more time, deepen the bond, and even throw around the idea of actually working together in a much bigger fashion. She’s family, and maybe reading this will be the push she needs to finally get her ass over here to us, to let us repay the favors she’s given.

What can you say about Jax, a new-addition to the family, that would do her justice? From neon green mohawks, to the best accent in the world, to the kindness that falls out of her like she’s got so much there’s just no need to worry about how much drips away, she’s one of one of one. Jax wandered into our lives via social media, and she won't ever wander out, this is a promise. There are people you meet that you just know will stay, and Jax is this. Our time together in Scotland was a treasured piece, and I cannot wait to see where else we go.

Ahh, finally for today, as I could do this for hours and hours with the people we’ve met, fallen in love with, and call family, my brother from another mother, my soul-twin, Gregory Alan Isakov. To avoid totally embarrassing him, I will simply say, the day we met, the very first day, we both teared up and almost cried when it was time to say goodbye that night at 2am. Since then, we’ve shared more time together, more memories together, and more love than I can count. He sang the first dance song for Lady G and I at our wedding, and he’s the one person I know, always, I can count on no matter what comes, and he knows this from me. He is my brother, chosen and not born, and I Love him completely.

The point of this long-winded exploration of some of the people we call family, but the kind that was picked by us and the universe and fate and not blood at all, is this: Family can come from anywhere, at any time. It’s not just the people you grew up with, it’s not just the friends from home or high school, it can be anyone, and it can hit you out of the clearest blue, the furthest left field possible. If your photo isn’t in this post, if I didn’t speak of you here, it doesn’t mean you’re not family, I hope you know this, I just wished to choose a few people who are so very, very far away from me physically, that came into my life in such strange and unforeseen ways. These are a few of so many of those. There are more of you, and you know who you are, scattered about from California to Florida, Ireland to England to Germany to Switzerland to India to Australia to just about everywhere else. You, you who we love, are family, you are branches just as strong on this tree.

We are the chosen, all of us, and I hope you have so much of the same. I hope your lives have filled your hearts with people that you call family, though the blood does not carry the same proof. I hope this for you, because I can speak from such exquisite experience, it is everything.

We need not the blood

for some love is much deeper.

We are the chosen.

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

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Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Tyler Knott Gregson and his weekly "Sunday Edition" of his Signal Fire newsletter. Diving into life, poetry, relationships, sex, human nature, the universe, and all things beautiful.