I remember the decision to switch from one university to another. I remember the reasons I gave my parents, I remember the real reasons I had. I wanted out. I didn’t want to see them on holidays, I wanted to be on my own and away from the judgment.
Or the getting married and moving to the other side of the country. My youngest brother wouldn’t talk with me on the phone for months after I left. He didn’t want to talk with me in person when I went to Williamsburg in that first March after I got married. They didn’t understand why I left, why I would want to leave.
It really sunk in that, when I got married, my youngest brother was 4. I was 19, and I was married, and that meant I should start having children. My youngest brother was four. For all I knew, my mom didn’t want to stop having children yet. And that creeped me out. But the response from my childhood is that I was being selfish and placing secular values on something that was holy and created of God.
So, I moved out. I was selfish, I didn’t care, and I definitely wasn’t emotionally or spiritually mature, or I wouldn’t have done it. That’s what they said, repeatedly. Not always in so many words, but it was there.
But for any young woman who is going through any of this… no matter how hard it is… I promise you that moving out is actually a good thing. It really, really is. You need to get a breath of fresh air and start looking at things without your parents right behind you, breathing down your neck.
They’re still there, of course, trying to influence everything you do. I doubt nothing will ever change that. But it matters how you go about dealing with it, and trust me, there is no real healthy way of dealing with it when you’re in the same house as they are.
They will tell you about the family, about your parents, about your brothers and sisters, about the duties you have to them. Darling, more important than that, however, is the duty you have to yourself. You’re an adult, you need to take care of yourself first, before you can help take care of others. And in the end, the only people who have a duty to your brothers and sisters are your parents. You are not a mom, too. You’re just their sister. You’re just like them. You need a loving parent, too.
So I may have started talking to myself at the end. But I think it was necessary.