I FaceTimed a friend from middle school and we talked about what we were each doing.
Both of us are sober. My friend is working in LA, I won’t say what his role is because it may be unwise to specify should my mother’s eyes view this piece. However, his job requires helping people become sober. Not out of altruism, because it’s his job. But outside of his job, he is one of the most authentic individuals I’ve ever known.
“Come to LA, you’ll really like it. Fly out here for a week, you can stay with me.”
I urgently persisted that I couldn’t, and he could tell I was scared. I am scared because not only would my parents know that I made an independent decision to leave, but that I made an independent decision in general. I am not my own person in this house. I’m 23, but I’m far from a woman here.
My parents are a security net for me, and they dangle everything in front of me. I learned to manipulate from them. I have learned that everything in my house is bait, and everything outside of it is a disguise. I have received everything, but only from them. I have traveled everywhere, but only with them. I have never had the leisure to indulge my curiosity and go my own way. Simply because I’m not allowed.
But what would the consequences be? What would they do? Why can’t you just go on your own somewhere?
Well, here’s a taste.
While I was on FaceTime, she barrelled into the room. Completely unexpected. I was under the impression that she was downstairs, in the kitchen. But if these walls could talk, then they did, and they gushed every morsel of information regarding location and my wishes to go away ALONE.
“IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO MY DAUGHTER THE POLICE WILL FIND YOU.
THEY WILL FIND YOU!!!!
IT WILL BE YOUR FAULT. I DON’T KNOW YOU, BUT I WILL FIND OUT AND YOU WILL BE THE ONE WHO WILL REPENT.”
Her shrieks were terrifying to him, and absolutely terrific to me. In fact, I laughed a little. Not to be sadistic, but because I knew her intention and I hated it. She wants to protect me from the world, as she always does by sheltering me from it. But in that moment, I wanted to throw her against a wall, and watch it crumble before me. I wanted to throw my body weight on her and silence her, punch her until her body was as bruised as my self-integrity. But this crazy fucking bitch won’t shut up.
“SHUT UP you fucking cunt, shut the fuck up,” I shamelessly yell back. Mind you, I’m still on FaceTime. I wasn’t thinking, because it wasn’t about my friend. It was about her doing what she always does, which is attempt to threaten me and others, because she’s threatened by the idea of me becoming my own person.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m equally threatened by it. I grew up incredibly sheltered, which contributes to the fact that I’m a better writer than orator or conversationalist. The only long-lasting forms of communication I’ve had with my parents are through vicious arguments.
I lock my door, and return to my conversation.
My friend, after vocalizing how “terrifying” that was over and over again, asks me a “potentially offensive” question.
“So…that’s your mother? And you live with that?”
I reply by informing him that that’s just a bad side of her, a caustic side that she unleashes when someone threatens her daughter’s parental dependence, which in her mind equals threatening her daughter’s safety.
A follow-up question:
“What does your mom say about your pictures on social media then, doesn’t she flip out?”
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Because I stay within the confines of my house. Because she knows where I am, and what I’m doing. Because there’s a finite barrier between a picture and the viewer, she is okay.
Besides, my pictures aren’t hurting anyone. In fact, they help me tremendously. They’re the least self-destructive distraction I’ve had for myself. Better than drugs, better than alcohol, better than cutting. Better than starvation, better than binge-eating. Better to know that I can inspire myself rather than pity myself. They don’t restrain me. They illuminate different personalities buried within me that I choose to unveil at any moment to the world. Because ultimately, I was not created to be hidden.
We continued the conversation for a while before he had to go. He said he would always be here for me if I needed anything, to which I showed gratitude at his gesture.
Bitch is still screaming it’s been 40 min ( timestamp: 1:41 pm.) She’s screaming outside my door, and I refuse to open it. Trap music is blaring through the speaker bed she bought for me to communicate that I will not listen, I will not react. She’s screaming because I brought up the prospect of traveling to LA for a week. She wants to track down whomever is telling me to do so. Even though I was joking (kind of), she’s saying I’m ungrateful. My expenses are too much. She’s screaming, screaming about how I am too expensive, too ungrateful. I’m nothing without her. I’m too much. How dare I rely on others’ advice, they’re only out to hurt me, don’t I understand this by now. I’m nothing without my family, she says.
I feel hurt more than I feel anger. I feel betrayed, plunging in abject misery from her screams and her intrusion.
You’re a fucking trash ass parent if you throw everything you do in your kids’ faces. I don’t care how much you’ve done for me if your motive is to make me feel pain when I decide that I want to do something for myself.
For parents who are afraid of their children straying from them, please understand that your children need time to understand themselves. Repressing them is counterproductive and counterintuitive because you repress their curiosity and their belief in themselves. You create a world for them that is shadowed by fear and you strip them of opportunity. You teach their voices to be deceptive. You teach them that there is nothing good for them. What happens when they don’t have you anymore? They will be behind everyone who has already learned to be themselves. They will be behind people who have already established themselves.
Likewise for the kids…I don’t know what to say, except to take the first step if you’re ready. I personally am not ready yet. There is a direction that my parents have told me to follow, and that is pursue law school. Ideally, I want to be a writer, but then again I don’t know what I want at all because I haven’t had the chance to understand which direction I truly desire.
I know that I do need to push through these barriers that I allow to stand in front of me. But the great, juicy contradiction lies in every perspective I hear. Some tell me it’s not that big of a deal, and to appreciate what I have because there are people who are struggling on their own who wish they could have my lifestyle. Others say it’s best to get out, at least for a short while so I can understand what it’s like to be on my own, which is the point that my friend made to me. I need to explore. Not with a guy, not with a party, but with myself. Go somewhere on my own. For a week, not forever.
Because right now everything is too much.
Enough is never enough.