Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Not Broken, Just Bent

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"The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes."

It's funny how we can go through years of our lives without realizing how good we had it. For (a random) example, my beautiful mum just celebrated her 45th birthday last week and we were laughing about how she cried all day on her 30th. How she thought she was so old and how "terrible" it was, and now she'd give damn near anything to be 30 again. It's also crazy that we can be unhappy for so long
 without realizing how truly bad it was. The day I graduated high school I moved into my new apartment, because I was in such a hurry to get out of my parents' "control". How I barely could scrape enough money together for rent each month and lost track of how often my landlord asked my roommate and I for money. How I was living off of yogurt and "manwiches" made from the meat my roommate could steal from her employer. How all I drank for six months was Jäger, vodka, and tequila chased by Kool-Aid. Getting asked politely by our neighbors
below if we'd stop throwing our 
cigarette butts over the balcony because they'd land outside their
 back door and their toddler son would eat them. I remember crying, laying in bed at night
because I'd have to be at work early the next morning and my apartment would be full of my
roommate's friends who were all partying. And one of them would be parked in my parking spot
and I would just lay there worrying about my car being towed, and how I had no money to deal
with something like that. "Best" of all, I remember laying in the empty bathtub, covered in my own
vomit, without pants on and an IV stuck in my arm. Getting fluids pumped into me because I
was so drunk and not  able to recognize the voices or faces around me. I remember
waking up a few hours later and having to go to work. I had just ended an almost two-year
relationship and kicked my ex out of the apartment. My roommate dumped her fiance and
therefore, our rent doubled for each of us. But we were still blowing our money on alcohol,
drugs, and pedicures. By the time I got out of there, it was a court visit for her and I with over
$800 on the line. Our security deposit was $1,000 and we had caused $800 of damage beyond
that. That was bullshit by the way. A lot of the damages were already there before we moved in.
However, we did have to answer to some of it, including a destroyed closet door and blood
splatter on the wall. When I write it all out it seems so much more violent than I remember. But
the truth is, it really was that violent. The night was a blur because my mind was racing, but I do
remember some of it. I remember that I wasn't scared at all. No matter how much ____ yelled or 

hit that door, I wasn't scared. I just hoped that ____ would hit me so I had an excuse to attack
without holding back. But he never did, he loved me too much. But I couldn't give that love in
return. It was all very sad actually. It was my own hell and I thought nothing of it. I could't even
see or admit how troubled I was. 
Hindsight is always 20/20 I guess.

A lot happened that summer and for the months following. I think those months were when my life really started to become what it is today. Summer was a shit show. The drinking, partying and depression were out of control. Around the time I broke up with my ex, my parents announced their divorce. I felt like I was losing control of my life and everything was spiraling out of control. The two things that had always been solid in my life that always seemed to be changing were now gone. My relationship was finally over and I felt like my family was being ripped apart. Those were hard times for sure. Then things started to change. Later that summer I started dating who I truly believe is the love of my life and am happy to say that we're still together almost four years later. I believe it was December of that year that I moved out of the apartment and my mum had come over to help me shampoo the carpets so hopefully we wouldn't be charged extra for cleaning. It was while we were shampooing that she told me she had found somebody that she wanted to start dating. I cried. I was happy for her and sad for myself. My mum married him three months ago.

My family is something I have always taken for granted, even when I'm convinced that I don't. I think to some degree we will always take our families for granted. There is just no way to appreciate them and love them as much as they deserve. Divorce is something I foolishly thought would never touch us. I remember being a naive little kid and saying to myself or my siblings, "I wish they would just get a divorce" whenever my parents would fight. At that time I just wanted to see them happy, and for some reason I thought that divorce would make them happy. How stupid was I? I never thought they actually would either. My brother has always been a step ahead though. Even though he's only a year older than me, he was always a lot wiser when it came to life regarding family. I don't ever remember him "wishing" they would get divorced, but I do remember him telling me not to say that. To this day, my brother is so family-oriented and I admire that so much about him. My brother is fantastic, he's wonderful and I love him. I've learned a lot about how you should treat and value family through him.

Some people become bitter after their parents split up, they give up on love and the idea of being happily married until death. I'll admit, I became even more cautious of love than I already was. I became more afraid to trust and fall in love, but I didn't become bitter. My number one dream is still to one day be lucky enough to become the wife of a good man and to have my chance to build my own family. I will learn from my parents' mistakes and I will also take from the things they did "right" as well. Because they did a lot right. They are both incredible people and did so much for our family. 

Every once in a while when I'm a little more stressed out than usual, or a little more exhausted, I'll still get sad when I think about the way things "ended", though there really is no end. My parents are connected until the day they die through my siblings and myself, and through a love that didn't end when their marriage did. Marriage may not always be forever, but family is. I've been stressed for months about certain aspects of my future that are going to change without my control, stressed from work, etc. Last night was one of those "sad nights" where my stress got the best of me. Out of nowhere on my way home from work, I started thinking about how badly I missed my parents being together and my siblings and I all living together under one roof. I miss my childhood, and at times I wish that I could re-live it, so I could have tried harder to change things for my family. I had a wonderful childhood, but I think my depression and "quirks"
 robbed me from parts of it. This all might sound juvenile, but I think I'm just at that weird stage in life that some of go through. Like a midway to mid-life crisis, ha! I'm 21-years old. I'm an adult at that time in life where half of my friends are married (some even with kids) and half are still living with their parents. Half are graduating with their Bachelor's degrees and half are still in their hiatus from school. It's that weird in-between age. In between high school and being a "real adult". In between being expected to be living at home by some, and considered a failure or "lazy" if you're not supporting yourself 100% by others. I'm one of many who fled the nest as quickly as possible, and then ran back. I'm in between society's expectations of people my age. Still fighting "growing up" but realizing that it's already happened.



Last night I thought about how badly I missed my parents' bickering and how they'd constantly give each other shit, my dad trying to gross out my siblings and I by saying, "Your mom and I are gonna go upstairs and...make out". I miss dad buying mum Fuschias every year even though she really didn't like them that much, and wasn't a fan of the mess they made. I thought about all the times dad would get home from work and yell, "Mr. Wonderful is home!" and mum would roll her eyes. I miss hearing them tell each other they love each other, or mum squirming and whining, "Put me down" whenever he'd pick her up. I miss how short she looked next to him and holidays with both of them there. Watching them open their stockings that they made for each other after the three of us were done opening ours on Christmas morning. I miss them coaching kids' sports together and all the traditions they held so important in our family. I miss it all. And I regret every single time I'd whisper to myself, "I wish they would just get divorced" when they would fight. I regret it because I had no idea what love really was or how hard it is to make a marriage last. I was oblivious to all of their emotions and all the pain. I miss the 17 years of my life that I would have dinner with both of them in the same house, surrounded by both of their love. 

Now he's been with her for years, and she married him. And yet, I still can't stop thinking about myself and my feelings. Selfish.

But when I step back, I can still appreciate the dynamics of our family. We aren't broken, just bent. I don't come from a "broken family" because blood can't be  broken and true love doesn't disappear, even though sometimes we wish it would. Memories can fade but they can't be erased, and I will always cherish them. My parents may not be married anymore, but they are both alive and well and I'm so thankful for that. Because I know that one day I'll look back on this chapter in my life, and realize how good it was and wish that I could have it back.

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