DISCLAIMER: Due to the nature of this entry, I am sure folks will later want to lecture me once they read what’s to follow. May I remind those people that this is a forum for me to express my thoughts at a certain moment in time? Thank you.
My dad reaffirmed tonight that I am still a child. Some days I yearn for the independence of Sinnamon, who puts controversial information up in her diary in spite of the fact that her parents read it, and of Entropy Heals, who recently moved out of her mother’s house into an apartment that she shares with a roommate. These women are my age, roughly, yet no apron strings remain to tie them tightly to their parents’ house and rules and regulations.
Not so with me.
Kurt invited me to go to Arizona with him for Christmas to meet his family. We’re talking the whole fam damily here. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmother, parents, siblings, folks that aren’t even related to him… I’d mentioned it offhand to my stepmother, and she replied, “Ah, you’re 21, I’m sure your dad won’t mind.”
Oh that’s funny now, in retrospect.
I asked Dad tonight. We were chatting on ICQ (yes, my dad’s very technologically advanced), and I popped the question. He didn’t “say” anything for a while. “Dad?” I prompted him. He finally replied with, “I’m not comfortable with that.”
So I pulled out the big guns — both Michele and Mom were married at 19. I’m not talking about getting married… just about going to Arizona to meet his family. Dad didn’t like the fact that I brought up the ages of my sister and my mother.
See, the thing is, my sister Michele has been on her own since she was 17. She went into the Navy at 18 and married Ben (a great guy) at 19. They’ve now been married for six years, and my sister is totally independent, and has been for many years.
The difference is that I’m not wholly independent. Dad still pays my tuition, he still gives me a place to live during the breaks. But he doesn’t want to let me go even a little to allow me independence when I’m home. That’s why I still have a curfew (10:30pm Sunday through Thursday, midnight on Friday, and Saturdays have to be negotiated).
Yes, life is not fair. I understand that. But dammit, I could at least garner some understanding from Kurt. His problem is he doesn’t understand smothering parents. His parents let him stay out all night on school nights if he wanted to. They cared enough about him to insist that he call them to let them know everywhere he went, but they trusted that he was wise enough not to stay out all night if he had something important to do the next day. So my frustration at my dad for not letting me grow up even a little gets exacerbated by Kurt telling me I DO have a choice in the matter, as to whether I go to Arizona or not. I do have a choice — to anger my father completely by going, or to suck it up and not go, thereby pleasing my dad.
I can’t just spit in Dad’s eye. What about gratitude for the home he has provided me the past fifteen years? What about thankfulness for his sacrifices to put me through college? He has another child at home to worry about, a son he’ll have to put through school in another seven years.
So I have to suck it up.
I hate it. HATE IT!!! God, I’m so frustrated.
The whole issue just reinforces my low self-esteem, and Dad doesn’t understand that.
He trusts me enough to let me look for my own job, to determine my own career. He’s not pushing towards web design or database programming or applications development. He wants me to make my own decision since I’ll have to live with it.
Why doesn’t that apply to being with Kurt? Why can’t he trust me enough to let me go to Arizona for a couple of weeks? Wouldn’t you say that a career choice is a helluva lot more important than a simple two week vacation? Which, in the long run, is going to matter?!?
Dad said during the conversation, “It seems like you two are getting pretty serious.” So? Is that a bad thing?? I know folks younger than me who are engaged — there are plenty of women on campus sporting diamond rings. Kurt and I are NOT engaged. We are NOT planning on getting married. But if a few years down the road we decide to entwine our lives together, will that be so terrible? I just don’t understand. Like I said, my sister was only 19 when she got married. Yeah, she lucked out massively. She married a great guy who loves her to death and will do anything for her. They’ve had problems, sure — everyone does! There ain’t no such thing as a perfect marriage. But they worked them out, and now they’re stronger. As young as she was, Michele could have ended up with a really horrible guy and gotten divorced before she was 21. But she didn’t. Dad trusted her enough to let her go through with the wedding, and it turned out for the better.
I just want to feel like I’m an adult. I want to be treated like an adult. I don’t ask for my parents to hold my hand; I act in an adult way, I think in an adult way. I’m not the most mature woman in the world, but I am not the child I was when I was 17.
I’m not 17 anymore.
So my dad doesn’t think I can make adult decisions. I guess that’s the crux of the whole matter. So why the hell am I in college?? I’m staring at the end of my schooling and thinking about what kind of career I want to pursue. And if Dad doesn’t have the faith in me to make decent decisions, why should I believe I can?? Why should I have any self-esteem?
Maybe I should go back to the way I was when I was a child. Then I was a scared little girl living in a shell. I shied away from all decision-making because I was so scared. That all changed when I had to decide where to go to college, and I’ve been independent ever since. Dad just doesn’t want to let me go until I have my own apartment, my own car, my own paycheck.
I’m old enough to die for my country. I’m old enough to get wasted the night before on my alcohol of choice. I’m old enough to poison my lungs with cigarrettes. I’m old enough to permanently mar my skin with tattoo ink.
But I’m not old enough to make my own decisions when it comes to the stuff my father can control.
Dad is still in control.
DISCLAIMER: I apologize for the rambling nature of this entry… It’s just a lot of frustration coming out all at once.
I send you happy thoughts of sunning on Barksdale Field and seeing the God Dog follow his master around campus. I send you the love your friends have for you, and the joy of being able to sleep with the fan off.