I have really good friends. I have been reminded of that this week, and I am very grateful for them.
One of my best friends, R., and I have spent a lot of time talking this weekend. I needed that more than I knew. I’ve been dealing with some big things – my sexuality, boundaries, living with the old girlfriend, my changing relationship with my parents – and it is so good to have someone to talk to who can relate and listen and share my life. R. is very good at helping me to articulate things I am feeling but have no words for, and at listening and giving me perspective on things that seem overwhelming.
I thought that I had licked this whole parent relationship thing. I really did. I thought I had figured out what it was supposed to be now. I’ve started figuring it out, that much is true, but it is still in process. It’s not easy. The problem isn’t my parents. It’s me and my response to them, my perception of them and of how they think of me, even though that perception may be skewed. I don’t know why, but it is so easy to fall back into habitual behaviours, the way I was when I was 16, and so hard to be my adult self around them. I am still trying to find out what it looks like to be the adult child.
It’s hard because I am still learning which voices in my head are my own and which ones are theirs. The hardest thing is that sometimes when I do figure out which messages are coming from whom, I can’t trust my own voice because it is in direct contradiction to the voices of my parents. And maybe my voice is naïve, but I just can’t follow their voices anymore. Even if I’m wrong, I have to figure that out myself and I can’t until I listen and am honest with myself.
Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a big sticky web, with my parents and mentors as this big spider trying to keep me there despite my fighting hard to get out, to breathe, to become my own person and get the web off of my skin. I know that it will be a good thing to get free – and I know that yes, that will mean that I can get hurt and yes, that will mean that I might make mistakes in a big-person’s arena, but dammit, I am a big person now. If I can’t make adult mistakes than I will never become an adult. It sounds terrible to put it that way, but it feels true. I cannot become an adult if I’m being protected from adulthood. I need to be able to make adult choices, to have adult freedom, and yes, that means I’ll have the potential to make adult mistakes that will leave adult consequences.
My parents love me very much, and I know they just don’t want me to get hurt. I can respect that and at the same time I don’t want protection anymore. I am an adult and their time to protect me is over. If I haven’t gotten the tools to survive in an adult world by now, it is too late for them to give them to me.
I love my parents very much as well, and I respect them very much. They have been through a lot, and have been faced with situations and decisions that I have never had to deal with – and hopefully never will. That makes this hard too. I don’t have a map for this. Relationships would be so much easier if they came with maps, but they don’t and all I can do is trust God and go forward in the way that feels best.
I just want to tell them – You have to let go of me and my choices and my life and let me live, breathe, make mistakes, get hurt, find love, create joy and learn my own path. I will be okay. You are my parents, yes.
But I am not a child anymore.