I find myself thinking a lot lately, “This isn’t what I wanted.” “This isn’t what I expected X to look/feel like.”
Part of me realizes that most people probably feel this way. Part of me blames my family for how they talk to me and seem to view me. Let me further explain that last sentences, because I know it seems like I’m doing a lot of family bashing lately.
I am my parents’ “wild child.” In my defense, my 22 year old brother was basically a 70 year old in high school: went to parties to be the DD, came home an hour BEFORE curfew, didn’t really date, but did make a point to let everyone know that he planned on waiting for marriage (which as far as I know, is still his plan).
I, on the other hand, went to parties and tried alcohol even though I knew damn well that my parents would check my breath when I got home. But also note I said tried. I didn’t get well and fully wasted until my senior party, at which I got TRASHED (but so did my dad…story for another time.) Ran in right at my curfew, or a minute or two late, was boy crazy and had no self-confidence which was a bad combination–not that my parents know all the details about that.
I also had an almost full-ride to a Nebraska college, which I lost when I had more Cs than As on my first couple semesters. This led me to transfer back to South Dakota where I got my shit mostly together: held down a job, graduated, got engaged, got a teaching position. I would like to make it very clear, I never got less than a C in a college course. And I got a 4.0 in grad school.
I’m now thirty years old: married, a homeowner for seven years, have an outstanding credit score, two wild-but not naughty-children, and a professional job. I have a bachelor of sciences, and a masters in education. I don’t drink nightly, have never cheated on a significant other, didn’t try weed until I was thirty, and have never been arrested.
I’m boring as fuck, okay.
But, in a recent conversation with my mom, I commented that I never really feel like an adult, or that people who are only a few years older than me seem more adult like, put together, whatever. And this woman, who I swear to God I love but who also infuriates the everloving fuck out of me sometimes, says, “Well, adulthood comes with prioritizing the boring stuff: laundry, bills, etc. Putting your wants on the backburner. You know? You’ll get there.”
Excuse you? Mom. I DO THAT. My needs are so far on the backburner it sends me into a spiraling depression to put myself first in any aspect: work, family, home, whatever. I feel guilty when my house gets messy, and comments like this only make it worse. I’ve been in therapy for four years trying to figure out why I can’t feel like I’m together or why I feel like a failure all the time.
Turns out, it’s the fact my family still thinks of me as their fuckup child. In part, I can’t put it all on them.
In fact, we always talk about how Jake is the responsible one, and how he’s got it together, and whatever. And he does…except when he doesn’t. Except when he still needs Mom to wake him up to go to his grown up job. Except when he is selfish and has a hard time creating real relationships because he’s so stubborn and black and white it’s offputting.
I found myself telling someone the other day that Jake would likely be the one to make arrangements for our parents funerals/living arrangements in the future because he’s the “responsible, mature one.” Wait…no he’s not. I am. Or we both are. This kind of self-talk is the problem.
I mean, what’s the rule about a problem? If you acknowledge the problem, it’s the first step in fixing it?
Welp, here’s me acknowledging that my family is part of my problem, and that I am too for letting them determine how I describe, view, see myself.
Let’s get on fixing this problem, Caylee. Because, fuckin’ A, we deserve to feel better than this.