When you were a kid, were you ever afraid to go home and face your parents? Like if you got in a fight at school? Or you ditched class and you knew the school would call home? Or you had a really bad report card and you were afraid of your parents being disappointed?
I felt like that every single time I walked up to my front door.
Even though I graduated and have moved out, I STILL have that sick-to-my-stomach, fearful feeling when I come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This summer break was torture.
Only I never got in a fight. Or ditched class. Or got a bad report card. I did exactly the opposite.
I actually had a really good reputation and was pretty well-known for it throughout my community. I was really involved in most extra-curricular activities. (I even got a prestigious award for being the most involved in the school.) I graduated as Salutatorian of my class. Most parents wanted their daughters hanging around me because I was a good influence, and they wanted their sons dating me because I had high standards.
But my parents hated me.
(And when I say “hated,” I mean always have, still do, and probably always will.)
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed pep band, choir, jazz band, cheerleading, forensics (speech and debate), theatre, Student Council, and the National Honor Society. But I never did any of it for me. I only did it all to try to impress my parents.
Too bad I failed. I impressed everyone except for the 2 most important people.
Every day I came home they had a different complaint. “I hate how much time you’re spending at cheer practice.” “I hate the people you’re around in choir.” “I hate the things you’re learning on the forensics team.”
A) They only hated that I wasn’t around more so they could yell at me more. They also wanted me to babysit their kids for them even more than I already did. And the biggest reason they wanted me around the house more is this: they didn’t have control over me while I was out of the house.
B) My parents hate everyone. But they won’t admit it. They’re super fake. Let me be more specific: my mom is super sweet to everyone’s face, but she complains about them all once they turn their back. My dad just doesn’t care about anyone at all. Everyone knows him, but he doesn’t care to remember anyone’s name. And “the people I was around in choir” were some of the best kids in the school. They all had good grades, were friendly, and made good choices.
C) My parents are extremely conservative Republicans. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing at all. But they hated that I was exposed to liberal and Democratic points of view in my forensics class. I always had to debate both sides of a topic, and I really liked learning about the pros and cons of every viewpoint. I was able to decide for myself what I really believed about something. But my parents yelled at me for letting a teacher “indoctrinate” me. The funniest part about all this is that I still agreed with my parents’ views for the most part. I never debated them or argued with them. But the fact that other peoples’ ideas even made their way into my head made my parents furious.
Why didn’t I just quit everything? If everything I was doing made things worse, why did I keep doing them?
Some years I was less involved in activities than others (my sophomore year, I was only in pep band, jazz band, the elite choir, and forensics) and my parents were always mad that I wasn’t doing a ton of activities. “How did I expect to build up my resume?” “I wouldn’t impress anyone doing what I was doing.”
Perhaps my parents were worried about me slacking in my classes?
NOPE! I only took the most advanced classes my school offered. I took dual-credit courses from the community college close to my high school. I got straight A’s all throughout high school. I got only a single B for my 2nd quarter grade in AP Calculus my senior year. It brought my 1st semester grade down to a B. I got an A both quarters 2nd semester, but I was still demoted to Salutatorian. (In my graduation speech, I mentioned being the “first-place loser” haha!) My parents were extremely disappointed in me.
Why didn’t I get a job instead of doing high school activities? Wouldn’t my parents like that better?
I didn’t have time. Ever. I babysat for my neighbors and my parents on the weekends that I didn’t have a sporting event or a forensics tournament to perform at as well as on weekdays after practices. But that’s all the time I had to make money. I worked as a lifeguard during the summers to keep busy, but the pool was closed during the school year anyway.
Boo hoo. My life sucked because my parents weren’t proud of me. Am I not aware that other kids are treated worse?
OHHHH YES. I’M MORE THAN AWARE.
All this is just the beginning.
I just wanted to get you started. Just wait, I’ll get to the good stuff soon. Grab some popcorn and a Dr. Pepper.