Growing up, I never thought I’d be one of those girls. You know, with parents that wait up for them, and don’t let them out. With parents who make snide remarks that consistently undermine them. You know, with parents who don’t let them go out with their friends, parents who gently and persistently erode their lives until they don’t know if they’re living in reality or a soap opera. One of those girls who’s always lying to her parents about where she is, who she’s with. One of those girls that will make her friends cousin pretend to be someone he isn’t so that her father will be a normal human being.
But apparently, I am one of those girls. “Oh! You’re going out carousing again” “Ha ha ha you’ll be up all night and lazy lie abed you’re going to sleep till 8.” Carousing – do you even know what that word means Amma? Do you? Because if that’s what you think you raised your daughter to do, then well you might as well a madam in a brothel no? And lazy lie abed? When is the last time a twenty-eight year old woke up at 730 because you would want her not – not because she slept early. Not because she had to be at work. Not because of anything. Except the fact that it makes a difference to YOU. You who can’t appreciate one damn thing about her. You who spend all you energy and time and insinuation telling her she’s not good enough, she’s failed. You who are hypocritical enough to say, be whoever you want to be, just the whoever we want you to be.
And me? I’m lying down taking the kind of behavior I’d be furious of my friends put up with, my mother and father would be furious of my friends put up with, my mother and father would give their own friends hell for for inflicting on their children. Can I support myself? Yes. Do I have savings? Yes. Do I have to live in your house? No. Do I have to live by your rules? No. Do I choose to? Yes. Why? Because, whatever it is, I am the child that is HERE. I may not ever have done anything the way you wanted, I might be the eternal disappointment, and if I’m not you sure do a helluva good job convincing me otherwise, but I’m HERE. I’m HERE. Under your roof. You can SEE every drink I have, every friend I see. You know what time I wake up. No, I’m not doing you any favours. But hey guess what, neither are you.
But because it’s not in your language, you cannot see the work I do. You cannot see the value I can bring to lives. No, not just in terms of my work. You cannot see the people who are GLAD that I’m their lives, the people who say I DON’T CARE HOW FARFETCHED IT IS, YOU ARE FUCKING AWESOME YOU WILL DO IT SO WELL. And when you are forced to see them, you can dismiss them because they’re your stupid child’s stupid friends. And she really did fuck up with one friend so of course she has no judgment.
Why do I care? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because you always told me I could do anything I could be anyone. That there are no rules about how someone should be or should act. That if I fulfill my responsibilities to other people, what I do otherwise is all mine. That being social is GOOD. That having conversations and interactions is GOOD. That I’m actually BEING a responsible contributing adult. Maybe you need to have a failure child. Maybe you need to see what it’s like to have that.
I just wish I could turn it off. Like I have so blithely told people in the past, parents are your past. However much you love them, they are your past. You are your own future. But when it’s you, your parents, the people whom you think gave you that feeling that you are superwoman you can do anything…it’s not that easy to walk away. And god KNOWS I have tried. Emails. Conversations. Being the adult. Adapting to them. Now I’m done. You’re the grown ups, right? Especially if I’m the fuckedup child.
Sometimes I just want to be the kid you know. That one. The one they love. The one they believe in. The one that they support.
Not the one they always question. Not the one they always doubt. Not the one who’s always defending herself at the age of twenty-eight for doing things her older sister did at the age of FIFTEEN. The one whose presence is acknowledged and appreciated. The one who gets an “Aw you woke up early to spend time with me” not a “Good afternoon its 8am you lazy bum.”
But I think I have FINALLY accepted that I’ll never be that child. That child already exists. They don’t need another one. Thank god I have a decent relationship with that child who can do no wrong, despite all the history. I’ll never be good enough. Ah what a cliche. Now to grow a pair and accept it.
So you know what Amma and Appa? I love you. I respect you. I drive kilometers every week to spend time with you. I lose hours of sleep every day to conform to how you think I should be. And you cannot even begin to acknowledge it. Well now, you’re getting her. That rebellious fractious obnoxious child. That one who doesn’t care what you say. That one who does what she wants and parties like a crazy person. That one who wakes up at 3pm and makes unreasonable demands. Cos fuck, if I’m paying the price I might as well enjoy the product no?
I’m done being a grown up only to be treated like a child. Let’s see how you like actually getting what you think you’ve got.