Monday, September 11, 2006
Do we ever crawl out of our parents' shadow?
Case in point: I really, really, really need a new job. Seriously. So, I'm always looking at job announcements and mailing off applications. Eventually, something will stick. So, last night I'm looking on idealist.org and find an announcement for a Media Relations and Marketing Manager for the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute in D.C. This job seems tailormade for me, so instantly I'm like "Oh. Must apply." Next thought? "No, wait. My parents would completely flip out."
It's a ridiculious thought. I'm far too old to be worried about what my parents will think of the job I choose to take. I'm far too old to worry about what they'll think of the relationships I do or do not have. And yet...there it is, popping into my head anyway.
That's part of the reason I want to move away from here. (Well, aside from the fact I'm in fricking Louisiana, it's waaay too hot for my illness and I'm so vastly underpaid I could cry. And have.) I have this idea that physical distance will help me establish emotional distance. I don't want too much emotional distance, because (contrary to apparent assumptions) my family and I are close.
I think there are things in life that we are easily able to resist and things that are much more difficult to resist. Some people have little difficulties going against expectations and others don't. For me, I can disregard pretty many anyone else's opinion of me except my family. And it's not really their opinion -- I just don't want to have to deal with the disappointment, anxiety, their sense of 'how did this happen.' Because they reduce something in my life, my life, to being about them. I don't think they do it on purpose, but that's what happens. What will the neighbors think if they know my daughter is working for a gay organization? What will the people at church think if they find out my daughter writes erotica for a living? What will the people at work think if they see her out drinking? And ultimately, they're not worried about what people will think about me, they're worried about what people will think of them. How did they raise a bisexual daughter? Aren't they good Christians? Didn't they teach her better?
And that makes me angry. Why should they care more about what other people think of them than about what makes their daughter happy? And why do I still have this crazy amount of rage about it?