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bones2

Parents are the greatest and the worst thing to ever happen to kids. As children, they were our superheroes, incapable of doing anything less than amazing. Their knowledge of the world and superiority in everything made them jaw-dropping remarkable–even just a simple kiss on a cut could make the pain go away. There wasn’t anything they couldn’t do, no pain they couldn’t take away.

Then, one day, we grew up. We learned that our parents do not have all the answers, that they are not capable of doing everything, that they cannot always take our pains away.

One day we grew up and we realized that our parents are people too, and people have flaws.

…there is this ridiculous self-loathing need to win their approval…

We found out that our parents could cause us pain, so we shut our eyes tight and we wished we still saw them as our superheroes, that they were still our superheroes.

But I am no longer a child and my parents no longer wear capes.

I suppose my relationship with my life-givers is a bit of a cliché. It is strained, to say the least. My unforgiving awareness of who they were and who they are eats up any possibility of a healthy relationship I could have with the two, like a Rottweiler gnawing on the bones of some unlucky carcass.

When your mother, a controlling, un-medicated, bipolar, recovering-forever-alcoholic, disowns you for your life choices, and your father, a self-absorbed, lying, partying, criminal (whom you hadn’t seen for nine years) uses up all his time and affections on a new love, the desire for family time is non-existent. The desire to be your family is non-existent.

Yet there is this ridiculous self-loathing need to win their approval, to get that nod in my direction that says ‘You’re doing life right’; it seems that nothing I ever do will merit such a head gesture.

And this is how my life goes.

My whole life has been catering to the needs and feelings of others, trying to appease everyone’s wishes and desires while ignoring the deafening screams of my own.

Everyday has been a struggle. For whatever reason, life does not like to throw me lemons, but it likes to send rocks barreling my way instead. My mother feels that I should move back to Michigan, live with her, and resume my old life before I left, before she disowned me and pushed me away, before that fateful night when my brother swallowed a handful of pills and changed the course of everyone’s lives. Isn’t it my right to struggle, to figure things out for myself as an adult? And what about my life here? Am I suppose to throw that away? I don’t have much but I have something, and last time I checked, something was better than nothing.

To be honest, I don’t even know if I want to stay, but if I leave, I want it to be because I wanted to, not because someone asked me to. My whole life has been catering to the needs and feelings of others, trying to appease everyone’s wishes and desires while ignoring the deafening screams of my own.

I want to find what I want, then I want to go after it. But first that means discovering who I am, and I don’t think I am quite done with that journey yet.

Olivia Red

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