The part that gets you the most is the pure envy you feel when you see something as simple as a mother-daughter duo strolling through Target. Or a friend who always talks about how their mom/dad calls them too often. These ‘reminders’ happen all the time. They trigger something that prompts you to remember that this is something you will never have. Your mom won’t be wedding dress shopping with you and your dad won’t be walking you down the aisle. But these, on top of thousands of others, are things that you do your best to forget about.
When people ask about your ‘parents,’ what should the answer be? Something socially acceptable? “We’re just not very close.” Or something raw? “My dad killed himself when I was 13 and my mom has been an emotionless, drug and alcohol addicted zombie for almost the entire duration of my 24 years on this planet.”
But you don’t say that, because no one wants to hear about your depressing ass life story in that moment. More importantly, you don’t want to seem weak and you definitely don’t want their sympathy. So you put on your armor and make it seem as if nothing can touch you. And yet, every time a new question gets posed, the feelings come rushing back, as if the scab continuously gets ripped off.
You stuff it down, because who wants to feel damaged?
It took me a long time to come to terms with the idea that I do feel broken. I always tried to subconsciously believe that I was normal, too. Some of you must be thinking “what is normal anyway?”
My answer to that is that to feel ‘normal,’ however you classify that, gives you a sense of belonging and purpose and confidence in who you are by someone else backing you every single step of the way. And nobody backs like a parent; others can try but they will always fall short. There is no carbon copy for that kind of unconditional love. And that is the most agonizing pill to swallow.
We idealize our parents so much that we trick our brains into thinking they can do no wrong. And then we are devastated beyond repair when they do.
I’m not sure what the answer is, or even if there is an answer for these wounded souls. But what we can do is have our own backs, believe in ourselves, and endlessly strive to be better than those who precede us.