I went to my cousin’s high school graduation today. They put up a video of some childhood photos for each of the kids who were graduating. It was great seeing him happy, enjoying his graduation ceremony along with friends. I don’t remember my own graduation ceremony, since I never went. I wasn’t invited, since I got kicked out of school, and finished my high school education online. Thankfully that was an option, and it ended up being for the best anyway, since I graduated even earlier than my classmates who didn’t get expelled. Putting my own past aside though, my cousin’s ceremony really brought up a good feeling within me, a feeling of true bonding between families, of children making their parents happy, of how great it is when a child actually wants to follow the path their parents hope they will follow. I could never relate to these things, although in a way I still wish I could. I’ve always wanted to do my own thing, and it didn’t always end up with in the greatest of situations. I do know the joy that comes from a family spending time together and simply getting along though, a feeling of unconditional love and support. We often spend a lifetime searching for this in other people, searching for the group of people with whom we’ll feel comfortable, who we can be ourselves with. It turns into a crazy kind of desperation for us, even for many people who already have this love available in their family, yet have always taken it for granted. Sometimes, we feel ashamed to be ourselves with our families, since we come to feel guilty for taking, taking, taking so much without giving back even half as much. We feel as though we’ve got to pay them back for all the wonderful things they’ve done for us. Someone who is an amazing example for us of how to live life is now avoided because they we feel a deep sense of shame when we’re around them, we know that they have been there for us through the worst of times, and that they truly know us. We shouldn’t feel any shame regarding this however, our families are the few people who we can truly be vulnerable with. We can’t always trust everyone we meet, we can’t share our feelings with every person we find on the street, yet most of us are provided with people who unconditionally love and support us right from the get-go, from the moment that first breath is taken, and even before then. Yes, it’s true that sometimes parents can be a bit too controlling, but unless there is something really serious going on, physical or emotional or unspeakable kind of abuse, unless this is the case then a person has no excuse to completely disregard a parent who only wants what’s the best for them. This doesn’t mean that their advice, or their opinions, should be our own, and that they should be followed without fault even after we reach adulthood. It means, however, that we should carefully consider their ideas, sometimes people who have known us for a long time might see things about ourselves that we can’t see, being so caught up in our own personal drama, unable to look at things from a different perspective than our own. This is exactly what was going on with my parents and I during my high school years. I loved them so much, I still do and always will, and I couldn’t bear to let them know that I was completely disregarding their advice, that I was doing things, consciously doing things, which to them were completely outrageous, things that no one in their right mind would do. Looking back on some of those things, I see that in some ways they were right. In some they were wrong, and some of those habits I still have today, but a lot of times they were right. I couldn’t see they were right though, I was too blind to see what was going on in my own stupid lifestyle, so I ignored what they said, I ignored their pain and suffering because the pleasure of the trance I was caught up in was too heavy, it was too euphoric to escape from, no matter how wrong I knew I was. I think of them quietly sitting at home, suffering for my actions, the actions of an ungrateful, rebellious teenager who just couldn’t stop getting into senseless troubles. I think of my mother’s tears, of my father’s temper towards everyone at home, stressed about my situation. Ignorance is bliss, and I wasn’t there with them, suffering with them, as we are supposed to do with our family members. Instead, I was the very reason for their suffering, and I was laughing all along, laughing harder and harder to make sure I wouldn’t cry. But sometimes I would trip, and I would eventually cry. I would think back of times, such as today’s graduation, times in my own life when I saw my mother smile, proud of her firstborn son, when I heard my father cheer me on as a child. I thought back on times of severe stress, of fighting and fussing and yelling at home, of sadness and silence, of rainy days, tormented by the consequences of my own actions, the suffering doubled by the fact that I had spread it throughout my household, that I was the cause of so much pain. If only the pain was all my own, then I could deal with the consequences on my own. If only I could leave, then I would be the only one responsible, the only one held accountable, but the only one suffering, the only one enjoying and suffering. That would be just fine by me. I couldn’t wait to leave from my parents’ home and party every night and suffer every morning, alone, without thinking about reality. Such is the state of many young people, for me it’s taken a few years to even begin escaping from that state of mind, but I’m making progress. We all need help sometimes, and I know it’s tempting to behave as if we’re all along, us against the world, and that we’ll make it on our own, that we’ll show them. Keep cool though, put your pride to the side, and appreciate those who love you, even if they disagree with you, even if they annoy you. Try your best to understand them, to truly listen, especially to your family. Give them a chance, build a stronger bond, family is meant to help each other. Don’t take them for granted and always do your best to keep the peace with them.
To be continued tomorrow, on Day 42.
~ Rebel Spirit