They say that your life is your own, that you make your own choices. I question the truth in that idea. I have always been bound by the expectations of others, I’ve never felt truly free to make my own decisions.
I must live my life. I must stop letting my family dictate what I can and cannot do and start letting my own heart and mind choose for me.
I decided (finally) that I was an adult and could look after myself, thank you.
But that creates another dilemma…
Because now that I am choosing my path, I feel compelled to keep it secret. Because I still feel like I need the approval of a bunch of Southern Baptists who get offended so easily over the most stupid of things. Because I need the love of a demographic that is hateful and judgmental and I just don’t know if them being my family will cancel out that inbred need to have the perfect Christian family when I choose to do something they don’t like.
I’ve watched the community that has been with us for nearly two decades turn its back on my brother because he’s going through some stuff right now. I’ve watched family turn their back on him, say things like “I don’t want my child going over to your house because he’s there.” He’s been skipping school and drinking on the weekends. There was also a little pot involved. I’m pretty sure it isn’t contagious, and I’m also sure that none of the drinking or smoking happens here at home. Do you think that your child will somehow become an alcoholic and a stoner at ten years of age because she was within ten feet of my brother?
My cousin can’t find a church to go to because all of them house people who look down on her for the mistakes she made when she was a teenager. Her own parents have cut her off–they won’t even help her get a loan so she can go to college.
This is conditional love, guys, and it’s not right. Newsflash: ostracizing people when they make mistakes isn’t cool. I’m not saying you should waltz up and say that drinking and smoking illegally are wonderful life choices. And I understand that you may be nervous around the people making these mistakes. But just because their choices scare you doesn’t mean you get to be douche-nuggets about it.
All this happening around me is making me worry for my own future. How the hell am I supposed to live my own life in the midst of all this two-faced judgment and shame?
It’s like the only reason I’ve gotten this far in life is because I’ve toed the line and done what was expected of me. One wrong move and BAM! There goes all the support you’ve relied on your whole life.
Sigh. It’s complicated and simple and the whole thing just reinforces my growing belief that at the end of the day the only person you can really count on is yourself.