I’ve fallen out of love with writing. Before, it was my comfort. I used it to get my thoughts and stress out. …Then things happened I couldn’t bear to write about. Things I no longer wanted to explore or understand. I just wanted them to be forgotten. I still do.
Avoiding the Past
Many, I have forgotten. Thank heavens. But, the catalyst lingers. And I can not help but attempt to avoid writing in fear of preserving new horrors. I want to be open and honest in my writing, but there are some doors I no longer allow myself to open anymore. While there are others- revolving doors- that seem to have no lock and key. No matter how hard I push or pull, they will not shut.
I feel weak. I feel…ashamed. I am a failure and I am afraid to not be one. So I hide. Behind television series and video games. I used to hide behind documentaries and books as well…but it seems that too has changed. I am obsessed with change. I think because I’ve never liked myself. I grew up with the usual ideals- knowledge, kindness, appearances.
I succeeded at them out of doors and within myself (I believed). How do I know what I believed? I was not a person before. I won’t repeat the details. Just know I was raised as a people pleaser. I didn’t know what it meant to like something before I attended university. I know that won’t make sense to many people. How does a person not have opinions, likes, or dislikes. In my mind, I was not allowed to- so I didn’t.
Finding my Voice Despite Outside Influences
When I began university, I was so strict with myself. I had so many rules and guidelines. I could not distinguish my thoughts from what I had been taught growing up. My inner voice was not my own. It was a combination of my parents and wise teachers and life lessons learned from television.
Eventually, I let go. I learned to trust myself and hear myself. Listen to what I wanted. Just the other day I realized something huge. I grew up feeling like the big sister of the family- like a forced mother of sorts. I still do. However, the thought occurred to me that I am also the rebel in the family- a black sheep of sorts- at least in the eyes of my immediate family. I felt so happy in that moment.
I know we do not get to choose whether we are born nor in what order, but I always felt cheated in a way. Remember, I learned the ways of life from television? I was sold so much crap about the youngest siblings’ position in life and in the family. I was told they are the spoiled one with no responsibilities and all the praise. I only have one sibling; still, things were not so.
In many ways, more was expected of me- as a female, as an able-bodied person, as a younger person, as an English speaker, as someone with education, and as a daughter.
- “You should be in the kitchen with your mother.”
- Coddling my older brother “because of his situation.” (He has chronic illnesses; I am healthy.)
- Do this, do that “because you’re the youngest therefore have the most energy”.
- “Translate this, call this number, set this appointment”.
- “You are lucky to have an education…so, why a 98? Why not a 100?”
- “It is the youngest daughter’s responsibility to take care of her parents in their old age.”
- “It is expected you as a daughter in general not leave the house unless you are married to a man.”
- “If you go anywhere except work or school, you must state where you are going, with whom, and be back before it is dark.”
But, I stubbornly sat with my dad that day and watched the soccer game with him instead of going to help my mother in the kitchen. (I don’t even like soccer.) I call my parents out for hindering my brother’s independence by helping him too much and thus impeding him from learning to have confidence and the ability to do things on his own. And in general, I am just a horrendous daughter in my immediate family’s eyes.
Respectful or Rebellious?
Some time ago, I wrote a piece about my mother and how she finds me to be disrespectful. Soon after, one of my cousins checked up on me and expressed her shock at the situation. For years until that point, whenever my family would visit their family for holidays I remained stuck like glue to my mother’s side and said maybe two words the entire evening. I didn’t have a personality, like I had mentioned. My job was to not upset my parents. They had enough to worry about with my sickly brother.
I shouldn’t have been as shocked that my cousin thought I was a better daughter than I am, but I am a terrible daughter. I don’t help with chores, I do speak up if I see something I disagree with, and I, frankly, don’t care about what my parents consider a good daughter to be. When it occurred to me that I am the rebel in my family…I felt liberated as if the puzzle pieces finally fell into place.
I may not be a rebel in the traditional sense- no underage drugs or drinking or wild parties or sex- but I will never live up to my parents’ standards. Before, I tried. I was quiet and accommodating. I was the first to admit I was wrong and apologize. What I wouldn’t have done to get a crumb of approval from my mother.
But now I realize—-no. I accept, that I will never have that. And, honestly, I don’t need it. Of course, I still would love to be accepted by my own mother, but I know that is an impossibility. Enough with holding out hope. This isn’t a fictional novel. There is no magic moment. There is no perfect family. There are better families and there are worse families. No amount of wondering and waiting will change who we are.
I’ve known for years that there is no point trying to change other people, but I always felt I didn’t have to. I watched too much T.V. read too many idealist books. I believed my mother had to love me simply because I was her daughter. I was wrong. And I know I was wrong plain as day, because when I expressed a similar feeling to her (the fact that she had to take care of me because I was her daughter), my mother replied, “no, I could have thrown you away.” She proceeded to tell preadolescent me about mothers who literally throw their children in the garbage or otherwise abandon them.
Not the Last Time I Heard those Words…
And I am reminded of a similar statement my first therapist told me once. She said, “I don’t have to like you- that’s not part of my job- but I do.” Which was terrifying (due to the similar structure and meaning of the message), but ultimately heartwarming because of the final statement. My mother did not end her sordid tales with a positive statement.
I suppose that is why I have the urge to end my depressing posts here on a positive note….and why I have an intense fear of abandonment, and why, in the past, I tried so hard to get people to either like me or simply be invisible. By high school, it was easier to be invisible.
These are only a few of the thoughts that circle around in my head making it difficult to sleep at night until I pass out from exhaustion or until it is light out and several months of avoiding writing have passed, as well as the memories that haunt me. So, I type up my usual word vomit about my mommy issues that may be relatable to some, but is ultimately pointless and pathetic for myself.
I am a Failure by my Family’s Eyes….but I don’t have to be in one in mine
To end this on a positive note, I am comforted in accepting my new place in my family as the rebel. I know that my parents no longer expect me to be the perfect daughter they hoped I would be, because I am so far away from that ideal. It is sad to shatter my parents’ hopes and expectations of me, but I don’t believe in those expectations. I do not believe my place is in the kitchen, or that I must live at home until I find a husband, or that anything less than perfection is unsatisfactory.
Maybe I’m letting my parents down, but I am building myself up. Their time is up. They had their shot at molding me into the person they hoped I would be. The rest is up to me.
Yet, I feel like a failure almost everyday. A failure in what, though? I don’t know what I want for my life! So, how have I failed in a sport I’ve yet to pick, let alone participate in? I’ve been judging myself for my ability to climb trees when I am a fish. I don’t know what exactly to work towards and, in the process, feel like a failure for, but there is a whole ocean for me to figure that out. I just know my parents are good people who raised me to the best of their ability, but I am also a good person getting by as best I can.
It’s okay that our good is not the same. I just have to stop comparing the two and trust in myself for myself. Years ago, I learned I can not please everyone and that not everyone in this world will like me. Just today I learned that as heartbreaking as it can feel, this includes my parents. They may be ashamed and embarrassed by some of my life choices, but I was not born to please them (despite some of their ideals that argue this point).
What I Must Do Now
I may live in their house, but more than that, I live in my mind, my body. Therefore, I get to decide what I do. It’s high time I made myself a priority. Last time I said this, I meant it. And I followed through, however I was focused on the wrong part. I was focused on running away- escaping my feelings (and my mother) by distracting myself in movie theaters and moving out. I was wrong. The answer is not going out, but going in- into my mind.
I need to come face to face with myself and my fears in order to work through what it is that I really want out of this life I did not choose. It is scary, but if I don’t, I fear I will be stuck in limbo until an event so powerful rocks me from my stagnant place- be it wonderful or tragic.
I don’t want to begin this frightening journey, but I must- if only to get out of the habit of falling asleep for the night at 9am the next day because my life feels so lonely and empty.
I know I am not alone. Thank you for reading, sincerely. It will be a long process and I don’t know how quickly or linear that process will be. However, I hope for myself and also for this blog, that I do seek and sustain improvements in my life. I want to document this. I want to remember where I was and how far I’ve gone in the future. So, I will be starting a YouTube channel.
I know…I’m not the most consistent person, so it’s a bit crazy to start such a big project…but whether the channel lasts or even becomes well watched, it’s part of my journey and you are welcome to join it. I’ll have more details soon. Thanks again, friends.