Today is one of those days where I am sad and feel like doing little more than crying. I have no idea why. It’s what my brain is doing right now.
I try hard not to blame my family for shortcomings and pitfalls, but the truth is I feel resentful toward them for so many things. Most of all, for their inability to provide a healthy upbringing and not preparing me at all for adulthood. I know that isn’t necessarily their fault. They weren’t prepared for adulthood by their parents either, and neither my parents nor my grandparents were fit to be parents. I feel like I shouldn’t be angry with them for being unable to provide what they didn’t have. But the anger is there.
My friends have never treated me differently, but I feel like there is a difference. I never stop wondering who I’d be if I was raised in a family that was, well, functional. I’ve always been a late bloomer, but it never bothered me until I realized I’m so far perpetually behind where I should be, I will never catch up. And no, “everyone goes at their own pace” doesn’t help. That’s something to pacify people in my position. No one says that to anyone who’s ahead.
I resent an image of perfection was more important than my well-being. I resent my family cared about what strangers thought (“People will think something is wrong with you!”, “People will think you’re crazy/retarded!”, “People are talking about you!”) than seeking what could’ve made my childhood a little easier. I had counselling only after my school forced it, and my family made it clear they were ashamed of me for it. I never opened up. What good would it do? And it’s not like I wanted to leave. They were the only family I knew. I had to love them.
I resent they cared more about me fitting in (“Why don’t you [X] like a normal teenage girl?”, “Girls your age are supposed to be [X]”, “Don’t you want to wear [X] like all the girls are?”) than letting me be. Funny thing. I got bullied a lot in school, but only they made fun of what I wore or how I looked when it was a choice they didn’t like. Sometimes, it happened at school, but for the most part, I was “ugly”, no matter how I dressed, and most of my school years were spent in a uniform. My family was only encouraging if it was something they liked.
I resent they avoided teaching me things, or taught me poorly, and chided me for not knowing. Until recently, I could not cook at all. My family never taught me to cook. Their own cooking skills are subpar, and my father in particular never learned to cook until the death of his late girlfriend briefly forced him to. My mother does his laundry, despite he doesn’t live in the same house, but apparently, that’s not as embarrassing as not knowing how to cook a perfect meal at 18. I remember my uncle fussing with me when I was learning to drive because I didn’t have a route memorized after two rides. “You should know this!” Well, you should know how to efficiently teach, but you don’t!
I resent the immense pressure they put on me for things I wasn’t ready for. Somehow, I feel if they encouraged instead of pressured, things would’ve turned out better. I didn’t know what I wanted for college, so I wanted to temporarily skip it, but they refused. Yet, they had no idea what college was beyond “where you go after high school”. That’s not an exaggeration. None of them considered so much as the cost. Interestingly, I start college (for the third time!) tomorrow and now, I’m too old for school. Huh.
The biggest disaster will always be the end of 2019. That year, I finally decided to get my license and I did. I wanted only the license. I had no intention yet of having a car. My family disagreed and would not leave me alone, no matter how many times I said I still don’t feel ready to drive alone. I finally caved to shut them up, which led to my first auto loan. Guess what happens when you put an unready person on the road?
I had an accident two months later. Of course, they were upset… about the car. There was some concern for that I nearly killed myself, but that destruction of the car caused more upset. Albeit, not enough upset to want me to take a break from driving. Despite I was utterly broke at the time and struggling mentally with the accident, their primary concern was me getting another car. Not even a full 24 hours passed before they began to hassle me about it, to the point my father exploded at me when I chose to buy a bike instead some weeks later. I figured out long before this point my family had very skewed priorities, but that experience finally exposed everything to me. That not even my being matters to them, so long as I “look good” for the image they want. A former friend suggested the reaction could be the result of mental trauma from nearly losing a child, but I think the inability to ask something as simple as if I’m okay disproves that. Not to mention when an accident last year landed me in the hospital, my father couldn’t be bothered to sent so much as a text. Meanwhile, my boyfriend raced across state lines on public transit to be with me at the hospital.
They were also angry with me because I did not want to sleep in my bed after it became infested with bedbugs. I will never comprehend that. The accident was already the nail in the coffin, but the issue about not wanting to be bitten every night only added to it. My mom was not a good parent, yet she was never so bad.
I wish every day I had better foresight. I know that’s pointless, but there are days like today I can think only of the things I missed out on, where I may have been if I learned earlier the things I know now. Or if I simply was raised in a family that was healthy, that wasn’t obsessed with image and fitting, that could handle matters and people outside of their boxes.
I’ll never know. But I’ll always wonder.