I am so stressed out that last night I had a fever and this morning I have an upset stomach. I’m so stressed out I’m hiding in bathrooms and closets, sucking on my electronic cig for a nicotine hit so much I’m getting a nicotine headache. And why am I so stressed out, you might ask?
Because I’m back at my childhood home. And back to sleeping on the couch because the room I’ve slept in for 20 years is currently occupied by my 34-year-old half-brother. And apparently, I’m in deep shit with my parents.
I’m 20. I’m trying to find a job where my girlfriend lives (and where I go to college). I’m trying to break all financial ties with my parents in order to have more freedom. I’m trying to live my own life without having to answer to my parents for every little decision I make like I’m 15.
Being 20 is hard. On one hand, you’re two years into the adult world. Ergo, you should be acting like an adult. But you’re still young, so you make mistakes. This is something my parents don’t understand.
The following is how my parents believe a 20-year-old should be living:
- Going to school (okay, got that down)
- Doesn’t need a job – can be supported by parents (how am I going to eat or afford gas or buy cute clothes if I don’t have a job?!)
- Can be supported by parent’s because lives at home or lives away from home but is at parent’s beck and call (….fuck that shit!)
And my parents wonder why in world I don’t want to live at home. Again, another list, to help break it down for you bitches:
- My homophobic, cynical Grandma Adolf (enough said)
- All of my brother’s shit in my room so it doesn’t even appear to be my room
- Sleeping in the living room, on either the couch or the air mattress, while my brother sleeps and then moving back into “my” room when he leaves for work at 7am, only to have to move all my stuff back out of his room before he gets home at night
- Having absolutely no privacy
- The inability to have even have a phone conversation because there is no place to go where no one will overhear you (my house is so small everyone can hear you)
- Getting disgusted looks at my new tattoos but everyone just ignores them
- My brother asking me what I’m going to do with my life (I’m 20, in college, currently taking medical pre-reqs so I can apply for a dental hygiene program in 2013 and trying to become independent. My brother is 34, I have no idea what he does for a living, and has moved back in with his father. And he has the nerve to ask me what I’m doing with my life?!)
- Feeling like a guest in my own home
- The inability to talk about Emily, or anything related to homosexuality
- Having to pretend I’m straight
- The inability to bring my girlfriend here to visit
- The inability to talk with my parents because all my mother does is cry and all my father does is threaten me
- Getting told I’m essentially a financial burden who is destroying my parents’ finances
- My father blaming me for him prematurely paying back student loans
- Sleeping until 2 in the afternoon because I have nothing to do/don’t want to converse with anyone here
- Feeling like visiting my parents is a chore
I don’t want to feel like visiting my parents is this terribly annoying responsibility that I have to do and not want to do, but it does feel like that. I hate coming here, and after reading the aforementioned list, how can anyone wonder why? Are my parents that completely oblivious?
I know that maybe I should try to talk to them more about how I feel, but it’s so hard when my mother just starts sobbing and “has to leave” and my father just sits there and tries to be intimidating by threatening me and telling me how I should do things and how I’m going to do them “his way from now on”. Like, can’t we just have a normal conversation?!
There are two very good parenting philosophies that I know I will want to raise my children by, and I can tell you that my parents didn’t get the memo on these:
- Remember, you aren’t raising children. You are raising adults. You have to give them the tools and skills necessary to become a functioning member of adult society. Rear accordingly
- Once your child turns 18, you’re role as a parent changes. You’re done with traditional parenting. You can no longer try to dictate your adult child’s life. You have to take a back seat and act as a guidance counselor – when they come to you for advice, give it. You can try to guide them through life, but know that it is ultimately their decision now. You no longer have a commanding say
My parents either forgot about those or don’t believe in them. But I can tell you one thing, they definitely created a socially inept adult. When I was a kid, they never forced me to make friends. Every sport I tried, if I felt like quitting (even if I liked the sport) they let me quit. They never forced me to get a job in high school. They never forced me to learn how to drive (I didn’t start really driving until I was 19). They never forced me to do, well, anything because I was a golden child. Throughout my teenage years I never rebelled. I always did what they said. Why? Because back then my parents were predictable. I would acquiesce to their request without much fuss because I knew then later on I could so easily get my way. It isn’t like that now.
Now, at 20, they are trying to crack the whip. But they are a little late for that.
What I hate most is that they think I’ve changed. They’ve sheltered me for most of my life and then decide to send me away to college. Like I’m not about to freak out, right? So I’ve experienced things I’ve never have to deal with before. It’s made me a stronger person. They have no idea the shit I’ve gone through while I’ve been away and they have the nerve to judge me. But it’s not like I can tell them what I’ve gone through, either. And then they tell me that my coming out was a shock to them, and yet my best friend for like 14 years figured out way before I ever did (I’m talking like six or seven years ago). How could my parents not have known?! Was their religion blinding them, or were they convinced it’ll never happen to them?
The worst part: everyone acts like it is all my fault. How come I don’t feel that same way?
I’m just so fed up right now that when I do sit down and talk to my parents, it might all be over. I might lose my car. I might have to have my friend come pick me up and I’ll have to wait at her house for my girlfriend to drive almost three hours to come rescue me. I might not talk to my parents after this for a very long time. This might end disastrously.
Why does life have to be so fucking difficult sometimes?! I feel the fever creeping back up again.