Saturday, November 19, 2011

Waking up to "I love you"

             The throw-a-way first kid. I always got Gattaca, it was my story growing up. My mom had me as a last-ditch attempt to save her marriage with my father (which didn't work) and then later had my brother who I think she actually wanted, but by then it was probably too late for me. It was certainly too late for the marriage. As a child I knew none of this, I just felt this odd sense that I should be loved, that my parents told me I was loved, but somehow it never seemed to quite fit. I mean I knew I was never my mom or dad's favorite. But as I got older, I observed this huge gap between the way my brother appeared to be treated, and the way I was actually treated. Actually, the way anyone else I met parents' treated them.
              I even got told I was simply a parasite because all children are parasites to their parents. By the age of thirteen, I was trying to make sense of this crazy as my family was falling apart. Kids want desperately to be loved by their parents. It honestly seemed easier to think that I wasn't measuring up to my parents' demands for me to finally be loved or simply misreading people in general, than to question if they were ever capable of loving me in the first place. Perhaps it was I was a girl, or not making good enough grades, or tall, enough, or pretty enough. High school is a place for insecurity. It breeds like pimples.
              But eventually, if you don't die, you get older, and bruise your way through the real life, and none of the lies your parents tell you still make sense. And one day, you get tired of it. Just bone weary of the lies. And the not making sense. And you say screw it and you walk away. Because it's easier. Because you don't think you will stay sane if it continues. Because you feel you have no other choice.
              And eventually, you parents aren't dead. Everyone else thinks they are great people. Maybe I was wrong. But you weren't, you aren't wrong. And maybe it takes you getting burned a few more times to realize that. Because the one thing you needed from your folks, is the one thing your parents never had to give you. You can not buy love. Not with money. Not with time. You can not create it where it does not exist. You can create affection, you can create like, you can even form a relationship. But love, no.
              Frankly, I couldn't live with realizing that and talking to my folks every day and pretending. But that's a hard truth for anyone to handle. That they were never loved by their parents, just a convenient band-aid for a problem their folks actually wanted to deal with. But if it's true and you can face it, if you are lucky enough to find someone who actually means it when they say, "I love you." Then you wouldn't trade all the tea in China for getting to hear that in the morning.
             And now, I get to hear it every morning.

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