In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Baggage Check.” We all have complicated histories. When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made.
My parents were always very controlling on issues that should not have mattered when it came to my older brother and myself. They weren’t big fans of my career choice as a cosmetologist. They hated that I wanted tattoos and piercings. They hated my choice of dress. They abhorred my choice in music, though my musical taste is actually very diverse. They even complained that I dyed my hair black, so when it was purple they really had a fit. Some may have seen me as “a teenager with authority issues,” but in reality, I was a pretty nice kid. I didn’t do drugs or go out and party every weekend. I wasn’t sleeping with half the neighborhood. I actually took my convictions of love and respect seriously, even though I realized everything they believed was conditional. I was creative, and did well in school until depression (which was only exacerbated by my home life) wore me down to average grades in a few of my classes. So for all of this, I had to ask why my life choices that change nothing about me as a person and have nothing to do with them were such a big deal? They acted as if they would have gladly changed all the “abnormal” things about me, instead of encouraging me to be myself within reason and instead of supporting me when my friends were not there to listen. That is kind of what parents are supposed to do. Instead, they wanted to stifle my individuality and turn me into someone I am not as they projected their wishes, regrets, and personal opinions onto me. They were not content to disagree with something, they had to make everything a “You can’t do this because we don’t like it,” ordeal, which only pushed me away because they wanted to shape me into someone else, and were somewhat disappointed in who I was and who I wanted to be. The older I grew, the more controlling their antics became. I wasn’t even allowed to work, perhaps in their fear that I would be able to have money that was truly mine, instead of money they wanted me to have for chores and would still put limitations on.
I was stubborn, and throughout my life told myself that I would have the life I wanted, and especially the job I wanted, as I refused to be miserable just to live my life for people that wouldn’t be happy anyway. I left home at 18 to get married. I didn’t speak to my parents for about 4 years, since the aftermath caused them to do some very boundary crossing things that no one in their right mind would do. The choice I made to leave home did carry consequence, as I ended up divorced and working as a waitress, seeing as I was never able to make it to college. I decided to give my parents a call one night, to see if maybe they would understand that this truly is my life. It started iffy, there was still a lot of the same judgmental attitude that made me leave to begin with. Then they offered me something they THOUGHT I could never refuse. They would pay for my college, IF and only if I came back home and went to one of the two community colleges within a 30 mile radius. I refused. Then they offered to put me a trailer on their land right next to them, so long as they could “check up on me” and I went to one of the two colleges. Again, I refused. Why? Because I know what that entails. My parents’ controlling, meddling ways had not stopped, and would only have been worse since they believe the way to keep a child close is through more control. They proved that in the fact that they offered to help their only daughter go to COLLEGE with a bundle of strings attached, knowing that I was working hard to go to college in the state I had moved to. Were they proud of me for holding a job and paying my way? No. But it’s okay, because I am stubborn enough to do things my way, and in the long run, I’ll be more successful for it. Instead of limiting myself to one of the community colleges’ sub-par training in my field, I am on my way to AVEDA, one of the best cosmetology schools in the world. Instead of rotting away in the same town I was born in, I am visiting Scotland with my boyfriend. Had I been staying near my parents, they would have tried to figuratively crucify him just for his long hair and probably even because he is not American. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I had taken the seemingly easy way out. Sometimes, the past is there for a reason. It reminds us to do things a little differently, even when we are vulnerable, lest our problems become even worse in the long run.