When I was growing up, I was so jealous of my friends – though not in the way you’d probably think.
I wasn’t envious of the things they had, or did, the clothes they wore, or whatever other trivial things adolescent girls usually think about. Maybe I was a masochist at a young age but I was jealous of the pressures they had on them. I was green-eyed as I watched how their parents forced them to do chores, how they expected nothing less than As in school, forced them to pick up part-time jobs, and other pains they were burdened with.
I guess the grass is always browner?
I had, and still have, amazingly loving parents. Like you know when you would watch those cheesy sitcoms and you’re like as if this is realistic. That’s actually my family. I mean picture loud Italian versions of that, something like Everybody Loves Raymond, I guess. But honestly, everyone was almost too loving in my family (ew gross, not in that way). There was too much positive reinforcement and cheerleading.
I’m not complaining that I was loved too much, I’m complaining that sometimes, unconditional love had the potential and power to stagnate me.
Sure, looking back on elementary school years it all seems tedious and frivolous. But put yourself back in your 12-year-old self’s body. Remember how you had to tend to eight subjects at once, usually a big project due for each, plus extracurriculars – it was a stressful time! Now imagine having a little voice in your ear saying “honey, just don’t do your homework, I’ll write the teacher a note to excuse you”, or “let me do the project for you” or my favourite, “just stay home tomorrow”. I wish I could have blamed auditory hallucinations but this voice belonged to my mother.
It’s not like my parents didn’t want me to amount to anything, nor did they force a path onto me. But sometimes their love got in the way of guidance and stern encouragement. It was like they loved me too much to see me struggle even in the slightest.
Putting pressure or demanding a certain result was something they simply didn’t believe in.
Fast forward to high school and university, when my parents tried to deter me from picking up a part time job. I mean, it’s not like I needed money to buy literally everything and anything a student spends money on …so what did I do? I picked up three jobs on top of full-time school. I noticed this was a pattern of mine I had developed throughout the years: whatever my parents told me not to concern myself with, I consumed myself with. I don’t exactly know if this was healthy, but moving in the opposite direction of the nurturing arms of my parents catapulted me towards my goals.
I haven’t achieved everything I’ve set out for yet, I don’t think anyone has, but I do credit myself for a) developing goals to begin with and b) not giving up on my goals, despite maternal and paternal encouragements to quit.
Of course, it would have been easier to have gone my whole life quitting everything that made me anxious or stressed me out, but what kind of hopeless, pathetic person would I have become?
Who knows, maybe this was some genius parenting strategy of theirs, or maybe they saw drive in me at a young age, a drive that didn’t need to be told to speed up.
I don’t think my parents will ever change, hell my mom still calls me to tell me to stay home from my full-time job. Regardless, I thank them for unintentionally diverting me into a life full of goals and giving me an ass that won’t quit until I get what I set out for.