Q) What do you get when you cross a strong willed perfectionist with an alcoholic substance abuser?
A) You get a child who is never satisfied with anything she does... who never feels quite good enough.....who bends over backwards to pacify and please others.
I spent my Christmas alone this year. By my own choice. I know...I shouldn't even be allowed to complain right? I mean a lot of people do that every year...they have no choice. They have no family or friends and are essentially alone in the world. So why should I have the right to complain or feel sad about this choice I made....I shouldn't. But I do.
I admit...I am feeling weary, beaten down and at the end of my rope. I do love my family, my mom has done a lot for me, sacrificed a lot to help me get to where I am now. But at times I feel so much pressure to be this person she wants me to be. And my father....well hes an alcoholic who is very skilled at guilting me.
I suppose all substance abusers are similar. If you grow up with them you learn certain behaviors that become a part of who you are. Like trying to cover up what they do..... you hide it from friends or others. You do this in part because you're ashamed and in part because you feel the need to take care of them. You sort of look out for them and that means keeping things looking normal...at least from the outside.
My dads family who knows what he is but never speaks of it openly, seems to expect me to suck it up. They seem to feel I should just accept or over look his behavior and the way that it makes me feel. They constantly ask me questions about my fathers health or his life that I have no answers to. They comment about how they rarely see me or hear from me and how I am not at enough family gatherings.
But do they ever once ask me why I'm not there? Whats happening that keeps me away? I'm not a heartless person. But I'm not a masochist either...Why would I continue to subject myself to situations that only cause me pain?
I suppose to an outsiders point of view it should be an easy choice right? The person or persons in question make you miserable so you write them off. But when that person is a parent its not that simple or that black and white.
Yes, I am an adult. I don't blame my parents or my childhood for the woman I am or the choices or mistakes I make. I realize that these are things I have to take responsibility for. This is my life...And yet....I cant seem to say no to these people. I wind up bending and even breaking to do things their way, even when their way twists my stomach up in knots.
So this year...after having to turn down plans with friends for the holidays that might have really been fun and made me happy in favor of other plans with my family, that I agreed to not because I wanted to so much, but because I didn't have the backbone to say no......I wound up spending the time alone anyway.
I am alone a lot since I moved to this city ...But when you go to school full time and work full time that rarely leaves time to do much of anything outside of sleeping....and while Im ok with being alone most of the time....frequently I still do feel lonely. But this was more than that....this felt like being hollow...empty inside.
The day after Christmas in an act of desperation...I even went to a place that I consider almost hell on earth...I went to the mall. I wasn't there to shop. I bought myself a coffee...sat on a bench and just watched people. The place was packed with after Christmas bargain shoppers and the roar of the all the voices was like white noise....it was nice to just drown out the thoughts that had been buzzing around in my head. For alittle while I didnt think about the guilt I was feeling about my family and my friends that I didn't and wouldn't see for the holidays.
I sat there and looked at the kids with the dreads down their back and wondered how long had it taken them to get them so long.... and the guy who had these really cool tattoos and I wondered what the story was behind them or was it just his art or the tiny girl who had purple streaks in her hair and who's clothes were sort of gothed out, I really liked her dress and watching her I realized I miss black nail polish..... then there were the moms and dads with kids of all ages or the people who were more preppy college types. I just watched them all and started wondering what these people were like in person and what their lives were like. I tried to imagine myself being friends with any of them...and I realized I probably could. That even the ones who were really unlike me on the outside might be the coolest most interesting ones to know. I wondered how it would feel to just be able to step away from my life and start a new one some place else.
But I am told that its not about your geographical location....its about finding a place inside you that you can live in and be happy. Maybe so...but still...what if?