I keep trying to lay off my parents. They may be my greatest obstacles right now, but they are still just people, and they love me, don’t they? Problem is, love is rarely that simple. You can’t say “I love you” after saying something shitty and expect that to make everything okay. And if the person you love is only acting that way because they’re afraid of what you’ll do if you see the real them, you don’t really love them, do you?
I’m not even sure where to begin here. My father sent me an email a while back in which he told me that I was “puttering along” and needed to start thinking long-term. I told him a while back that I intended to move out, and now that my apartment search has dragged on longer than anticipated, he sent me an email recently telling me that I needed to “get a move on” (or words to that effect). “Fuck you,” is the first response I had, but then I realized something: He’s angrier than I am. Most of my interactions with my parents have a passive-aggressive quality, but these days, it’s more like aggressive-aggressive. I’d like to say I feel sorry for them, but I don’t. My mother started giving me grief a few months ago about the storage locker that I’m keeping in Queens, wondering if it’s really worth the money to keep my possessions over there so that I’ll have something waiting for me when I return to NYC. Since I had recently changed payment methods from my father’s card to mine, I told her to drop the subject AND SHE EMAILED ME BACK. Seriously, how much more direct can you get?
I deleted my mother’s email unread because I didn’t want to know what she said. Now I think I already do. In a rather tense discussion recently, she brought up that locker while I was talking about something unrelated. I told her to knock it the fuck off in May and she’s still thinking about it. I’m an INFJ with OCD and even I don’t hold on that long. Seriously lady, let it fucking go already.
It gets almost pathetic after a while. Basically, they just want to be kept in the loop. They don’t understand why I haven’t found another job/an apartment yet, and truth be told, neither do I. I’ve never had it take this long before. Then again, maybe it’s because I’m in more of a position to be picky. I’ve responded to dozens of Craigslist ads and looked at nine or ten apartments over the past few months. I’ve turned down a few of them because they weren’t quite right for my needs, but more often than not, they’re the ones who don’t want me. That’s not my fault. My father thinks it would be easier to find a place if I already had a second job, but I disagree. I want to get out of here, and if I have to (cough) inflate my current income or (ahem) claim that I do have a second job and just hope that the landlord or realtor or whoever doesn’t call the store to make sure I work there, I really can’t say I feel guilty about that. At all.
It’s really laughable how little sense my father’s complaints make. He tells me on one hand that I lack ambition, but on the other, that I’m being too picky. Because I refuse to get an office job, see, or anything that is related to environmentalism, public service, government work, or education. My parents both have jobs at a local university, so you can see how this might be interpreted as an unconscious attempt to turn me into them. The irony is that my father is the one who suggested that I apply to a coffee shop, then started to walk that back when he realized that I had no intention of leaving it for some boring-ass thing sitting in a cubicle or whatever. Deal with it, Pops. You’ve created this monster, and fuck you in the face with a fucking rhinoceros cock if you think I’m going to change my occupation every time you decide that I could be doing better.
I think we have to face facts here: What I am trying to undo here is literally decades of oppression. (And no, I don’t think that’s too dramatic of a choice of words.) There are too many memories to sort through, and when my mother demanded an explanation for why I didn’t want to have dinner with her recently, I told her as much. I remember one time when my mother exploded at me while we were on vacation for asking if she and Dad would buy me a new computer game when we got back. “You can just keep it to yourself,” she said, and I heeded her words. My parents have said things to me over the past few months that were so naked in their contempt and disdain for me and my hopes and dreams that I didn’t think they were even capable of it. “Is this the real you?” I want to ask. Because if it is, don’t count on me ever looking back. You’re only able to do this to me because I’m stuck here, and how long do you think that’s going to last?
It’s funny. I’m in my mid-twenties, which by barista standards, makes me middle-aged. Most of the people I work with are in high school or college or thinking about going to college. The reason I am so defensive of my decision to work here is that I’m trying to figure out what I got wrong when I was that age. I wasn’t that much younger, and there’s still time to fix it. But I’ll never do it if my parents insist on treating me like a child. They still use the “You’re too young to know what you’re talking about” argument on me, but I think I’m behaving like more of an adult than they are. They’re the ones throwing a tantrum because they can’t have their way. And in a way, I don’t blame them. Because they can’t have their way, and maybe, just maybe, I can.