Choose Wisely, Take Your Time

So here I am, sitting here at 3 AM during exam week, thinking about my life. And it all comes rushing back. Swinging on the monkey bars on hot blistering days alone, to sitting in a corner with my dolls, listening to the most terrifying screaming. Things I have endeavored to ignore and forget because it only brings pain ― an unproductive, useless kind of emotion that I don't believe I need to feel now that it is mostly of the past. But I'll try to remember anyways. Because the insecurity, distrust, and anxiety I now harbour despite having a pretty decent life came from somewhere, and I have a strong suspicion that it isn't solely based on nature (though I admit, there is some family resemblance going on here), but also nurture. My mornings with my parents were quiet at some point in my life, I'm sure. But screaming and shouting had became my alarm clock by the time I was 4 years old. Daily. Loud. And as I grew up, I began to take part in it, for so many reasons that kept on changing as I aged. My mother, goading me to argue on her behalf with my father. My father, telling me how mentally retarded my mother and I are. Me, trying to keep up, favouring one side then favouring the other. Then favouring none. I remember it all becoming too much. When I was 8, I shut myself in my mother's small, dark closet to escape. For one of the first times (and definitely not the last), I wondered why people bothered to live. It's hard for a 8 year old to grasp life and death, so I wouldn't call myself suicidal per se ― more genuine curiosity and slight desperation. Craving for an answer, I asked my parents. Neither answered my question, nor comforted me. My father was outraged. My mother scolded me for even thinking such a thing. Just more incessant, hurtful noise. While watching them, I suddenly realized that I had parents who didn't understand each other, nor did they understand me. Afterwards, I stopped confiding in them. When my younger sister was born, and she joined the familial argument too. At the very least, I can say that she seemed to cope a little better than I did. Whenever it was too much, she'd come to my room, and we'd spend time together ― just the two of us. We'd talk to each other about what we couldn't talk about to our parents. It was healthy. It felt safe. It also felt like the yelling outside of my room would never end, and we accepted that. Looking back, the sound of glass shattering on the cold marble floor was the turning point. Today I'm here. Same, but a little broken inside, just as everyone affected by the toxic relationship is. “You used to smile a lot more, you know?” My mother told me, a few days ago. It wasn't the first time she told me this, and I doubt it will be the last. “You were so happy as a child. You laughed all the time.” I can hear it as clear as day. The silent “What happened?” I find it odd she doesn't know. I could tell her everything I think and feel. But she doesn't deserve it. She tried her best as a parent, and in the end I turned out quite fine. She doesn't need an blame pushed onto her shoulders about a childhood of memories she didn't, and doesn't know how to fix. Nor can she. My father doesn't deserve it either. He has his quirks, sure. But no one can fault him for only wanting the best. And even if I faulted him for expressing his opinions inappropriately, at this point it hardly matters. I've grown up. With his old age, he has gotten softer. There's no point. No point to pointing fingers, or pushing burdens onto others. People don't need to know, because I don't want to change the way they see me. This pain is something I'll carry myself. But this pain didn't have to exist. I'm writing this for my younger sister, who went through most of what I went through as I stood by helplessly. I'm writing this for anyone who's having familial troubles, which includes most of my friends and classmates. I'm writing this for any of you who can't really empathize what I'm talking about. In order for a relationship to work, there has to be communication and tolerance. I wholeheartedly believe this. Don't choose a partner for their looks, their money, or their smarts. Get to know them. Live with them for a while. Meet their family, their friends, discover their interests and preferences. Analyze the things that you two argue or agree about. If you don't see communication and tolerance happening, then I highly suggest you reconsider where your relationship is at before you take the next step ― whether that be marriage, or a child. Because it is a lot easier to start something, than to take it back it afterwards. So there's some food for the thought on who you choose as a partner, and how you might want to parent if the time ever comes.

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