My Own Person

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 11:56 -- kswift

I don't talk to you because of how you use your words to belittle me. You say "if you were smart you'd…" and raise your eyebrows. You tell me I am throwing away my future because I transferred to a Jesuit institution that places a focus on sports and education, instead of staying at one that I was miserable at. But you don't see it that way.

I don't talk to you because of how you treat my siblings. Instead of offering support, you lecture. Instead of saying "congratulations!" you say "I'll take it away if you can't keep your grades up". You don't have a conversation, you give ultimatums. You don't acknowledge the fantastic work that we all do, you focus on what you want us to be instead. 

I don't talk to you because you insult my mother. You call her toxic, petty, and passive-aggressive to my face. You say I look so much like my her, but your tone implies that you wish I didn't. You don't accept that she is important and loving and supportive of me. You don't listen when I ask you not to talk about her that way. 

I don't talk to you because it's easier to hide my mistakes than to reveal them and ask for help. You don't know about the D in freshman Bio, or the C in Sophomore Geometry, or the truancy my senior year. All those things I hid, fixing them before you could find out. Because I knew you wouldn't offer help, only a disappointing gaze and a lecture on responsibility. 

I don't talk to you because I'm scared of you. You use your height and voice to intimidate me. You get angry and take it out on me and my younger siblings. You drink too much at a party and say you're okay to drive, but you aren't. You speed and change lanes too quickly, while me and my siblings are in the car. 

I don't talk to you because you left me alone, babysitting, while you got a DUI. You come home at eleven pm, explaining what happened. You try to joke about it, but I don't think it's funny. When mom comes to pick me up, you hug me, but I don't want to hug you. You claim you weren't over your limit because you want to blame anybody but yourself for what happened.

I don't talk to you because you raise your voice whenever my little brother is being 'obnoxious'. You say he can't whistle or hum unless it's an actual song, and even then, you always tell him you need quiet. You say he has to play with an electronic kit, not even asking if he's interested. You want him to because none of your other kids did, and he's your last shot. 

I don't talk to you because you have a 'scale of adulthood' and use it to compare me and my sisters. You tell me I'm more mature than my older sisters. Fledgling Adult, Proto Adult, What's next? We have yet to reach that level.

I don't talk to you because when I told you using "good girl" as praise makes me feel like I'm an animal to you, a science experiment in raising a child, you gave me a lecture on how humans have to remember that they aren't better than animals. You didn't hear that I felt like another computer you thought you could program. 

I don't talk to you because when I try to, you don't listen. You don't consider my words and you think it's okay for a child to be scared of their parent. You don't give what I say value, because I'm only a Proto Adult and I haven't learned everything there is to learn about responsibility. 

Well, neither have you.

I don't talk to you because I am so much more happy at my new school, and you don't care. I love going to the basketball games, I love joining new clubs, and I love exploring my new major and minor. I love studying on campus instead of being holed up in my room. But happiness isn't an important factor to you, not when it comes to education.

I don't talk to you because I spend my time telling my sister she is smart and will get into college. That she does her best and that that is enough. I tell her she doesn't have to meet your expectations because they are unattainable. I offer her the help and possible solutions that she wishes would come from you. But she can never strive hard enough to be the person you want her to be, and she shouldn't have to.

I don't talk to you because while my mom and I had rocky times, she is the most important person in my life. I love that I look like her and sound like her. I love that we go shopping, see movies, and go out to eat just the two of us. She listened when I asked her to not speak badly of you, because she knew that despite the complications, you were still important to me.

I don't talk to you because I spent so much time conforming to your expectations that I lost myself. I worded things differently in emails, I never argued, and I said yes anytime you asked something of me. I lost the ability to speak up for myself, to recognize that I am responsible, capable, and hard-working, even if my choices lead you to no longer see me that way.

I don't talk to you because I am tired of being afraid. I am tired of being intimidated and not saying anything. I am tired of you having a bad day at work and snapping at us when you come home. I am tired of a pessimistic outlook on life, which is what I thought I had to have because that's what you have. I enjoy my life and I don't want to live it under the shadow of thinking about how I'm going to lose the people closest to me eventually. I don't want to dwell on the fact that I will die one day too.

I don't talk to you because when mom picked me up I burst into tears in her car. I thought you had been in an accident, rolled the car off a bridge, that you were dead. I didn't know who to call, because I didn't know who would know what happened. I thought I would have to somehow get my little brother to school the next day, without a car. Then you came home and tried to joke about it. You said thank you to me for being so responsible and handling it so well. You hugged me and I have never wanted to not be around you more. 

I don't talk to you because my brother is eight and wild and carefree and a little loud at times, but he's eight. And he likes to make up his own songs on the piano. He likes to tell dumb jokes that I only laugh at because I want him to enjoy spending time with me. He loves our cats and is a little afraid of dogs, but that's okay. He is him, but you can't seem to accept that.

I don't talk to you because I am my own person and my sisters are their own people. We are growing up, learning and experiencing things differently. That is what shapes our lives. Making mistakes is part of being human and we have learned pretty well from the ones we made. We love each other and boost each other up through hard times, and we don't compare ourselves because we know we are each unique. You don't want to accept that our decisions are our own, no matter what you think of them, and expressing your disappointment with my life choices only makes me not want to tell you them more. You could say "I hope you succeed" or even "I want you to enjoy what you're doing, so make sure to consider that", but you don't. And you probably won't.

I don't talk to you because while animals deserve respect, I am a person, not a lab rat for you to observe. I am supposed to look to you for guidance and advice, not to be reminded that my feelings don't matter because I'm no better than an animal. 

You are the reason I don't talk to you. Because when I try, you never listen.

I miss you and I love you, but I'm learning that it is okay to put myself first.

This poem is about: 
My family


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