So as I stated some of my outer family may feel disappointed. I mean by “outer family”, my parents, sister, some aunts, uncles and cousins. Certainly not all my family sees me this way and most of them really either don’t know me very well.
So what did I do to those that are disappointed? Well, I was raised in a strict religion that they were all party to or still are. I do not speak badly of that religion as I respect it and understand that honestly it’s values, morals and most my experiences were things that were to help me be a better person. None of it in itself was harmful and I had a lot of fun times with our “group” of friends. However, it is expected that you remain in that religion, marry in that religion and be cautious of others not part of that religion.
Don’t get me wrong we saw our other family that was not part of the same religion. However, there was huge pressure from my parents for us to appear to be “perfect” both by outsiders and to those in our religion. So even if mom and dad were fighting or you were unhappy it was not to be shared and/or showed. I unfortunately was the odd duck out and struggled with that ideal and concept.
I didn’t look like my sister or cousins. I would get teased I was adopted and at times really thought I was. I only really looked like was my father’s deceased sister who died when she was 12 years old. I experienced horrible depression and often was suicidal. When I was 15 I lost my baby weight and well, got boobs. My older sister was shorter and not as filled out as I was which didn’t sit well with her. My father was constantly critiqued by what I wore, even though it could be my mom’s or sister’s, because of my body shape. People thought I was a tease or slut even though I was shy and was talking to the boys I grew up with (I was a tomboy). I couldn’t win… I snapped.
I gave up. If that was all people were willing to see and going to treat me like then I guess that was who I was. I know, I know.. stupid immature, but I was 16. In my eyes, my family and many of my female friends turned their backs on me. I didn’t sleep around not until I was on my way out of their house but I flirted, drank and smoked. Perfect rebel that learned young to put on a good face when needed to hide the ugly but let the anger push me around to do some crazy things; dangerous things. I got caught a few times and my parents loved but hated me. My sister and I “ran” in the same circle where some of the same kids did the same things but I was despised by her openly. My heart was broken by some boys I thought would rescue me. I really wanted someone to make me feel alright. I moved out and ended up pregnant. Pregnancy and a child is something you cannot hide.
I was alone, scared and overwhelmed. Sobered by the thought that I was now responsible for someone’s life. It wouldn’t work with her dad. My parents took me in and helped. However, I was on their turf and they owned me and my child. The family I grew up with shunned me. My dad’s mom was always very understanding and kind. A few friends were supportive and around for a while. I had girl and in many ways she saved my life. My anger, what others thought, everything else seemed to just fade away because I needed to be strong for her. She was my focus. All this other shit didn’t matter.
I worked hard. I married a man who loves me for me, not the idea of me or to control me. He fell in love with my daughter too, when she was 8 months old and was aware when we married 17 months later of my family issues and issues with her father. He supported me without telling me who to be. After having our son, I went got my BA in college while working full time at a job I really began to hate. My parents would be helpful at times and other times they were objecting to our decisions.
The last few years have taken their toll on us. My son was physically assaulted in middle school by bullies. He became suicidal and seemed so withdrawn. It was when we got him help we found that he is has high functioning Autism (Asperger’s is technically no longer listed on the DSM) and Major Depression Disorder. My parents instead of listening blamed me and my lifestyle. I received a letter stating how horrible of a parent I was at one point. Honestly I said somethings I shouldn’t have too but god was I so hurt. My aunts, uncles and cousins that knew me the most and longest all pulled away when I was at my lowest and so scared. I wasn’t doing what my parents or they thought I should so I don’t deserve a conversation, respect or support. They don’t need to know the truth or whole story, just that I am not “one of them” fully and have hurt my parents.
So even though my daughter is 18, graduated with honors, works part-time, is in college – my son is in advanced classes in high school, sees a therapist weekly, and is monitored on medication, – I’ve been married 16 almost 17 years, work in a job that helps others, see a counselor to keep myself together and get told by my boss I am the most reliable person in our unit, to that part of my family – I AM A FAILURE.
To my husband, children and self….. I AM GOOD, I AM FREE, I AM DOING THE BEST THAT I CAN AND I WILL ALWAYS CONTINUE NO MATTER WHAT LABEL IS PUT UPON ME.