Monday, February 26, 2007

A Product of Upbringing?

Well, I'm assuming by the lack of comment that I am a little out of my mind concerning the "thing." Oh well. They'll come for me with that pretty white coat sooner or later.

So you're gonna be institutionalized
You'll come out brainwashed with bloodshot eyes
You won't have any say
They'll brainwash you until you see their way.

I'm not crazy - institutionalized
You're the one who's crazy - institutionalized
You're driving me crazy - institutionalized

I love my folks. I really do, but I've begun to wonder if they haven't coddled me a bit too much. Actually, I know they're overprotective. Especially with me, their youngest and only daughter. I have no idea of why they (and my brothers for that matter) continue to see me as perpetually 16 years old.

I started to think about it after I got off the phone with my dad last night - at the end of a conversation that really kind of pissed me off.

I'm going to Tallahassee in a couple weeks to see Krishna (YAY!!) and I've been looking forward to it for months now. I thought I might borrow my folks' extra car (what they call "The Wal-Mart" car) just to be on the safe side and because the Taurus has a CD changer and tape deck that work. My poor little car needs a thermostat and four new motor mounts, so I thought it best not to push it until I can afford to get it fixed.

I thought borrowing this car would be no problem. So I mentioned it to my mom, who is the one who actually drives the car. She of course doesn't like the idea of my going all that distance alone, but she didn't seem to have a problem with it beyond that. But she suggested I mention it to Daddy, who is a mechanical genius and can fix practically anything - if he wants to. So I asked him. The blunt reply I got was, "We won't even drive it to Chattanooga." Okay. Well. So I asked him what was wrong with it. "It needs new tires" (reasonable) "and it's got a lot of miles on it." What? That never stopped them before.

Following that, the conversation somehow turned into an arguement (and I haven't argued with my folks in quite a long time). At the conclusion, his lovely reply was "You're 28 years old and I can't tell you what to do, but if it all goes to hell you're the one who'll have to deal with the consequences." As if I didn't know that. According to my parents, any venture that is more than 30 miles and involves me driving alone at some point is bound to "go to hell."

I understood my dad's concerns, but he seemed to not want me to go anywhere at all. I also understand that there is a lack of new and well-running cars at my disposal, and I won't deny that it's also a concern of mine. But when my Dad started making me feel guilty about going off for a weekend ("your mom needs a weekend off too" - well why don't you take her somewhere, Daddy?), I got a bit upset. Because this always happens any time I try to do something on my own: they make me doubt and they make me feel guilty.

So I wondered if my tendancies toward being a complete and utter wuss have honest roots. I know they don't do it on purpose, but they have always made me feel bad about trying things on my own - all the while trying to instill in me the value of being independant. I'm sure the feeling bad part is mostly in my own mind, but they certainly do know how to make it worse. Again, I know they don't realize it, but man have they messed with my head. There are so many normal kid things I still don't know how to do. I never learned how to ride a bike ("the neighborhood is too hilly"), I never learned how to skate properly ("I don't like you being at that skating rink"), I had a total of two birthday parties with friends when I was growing up ("the house is too much of a mess" or "I don't know those kids"), and I'm still a really crappy swimmer (granted, they tried there, but just because they were afraid I might drown someday if didn't know how to swim).

I hope I'm not sounding like a petulant teenager here, but this has begun to disturb me. I have always had this fear of moving on and leaving my old ways behind, and I think I've begun to understand part of where that comes from. I've been encouraged to be afraid. And I don't think it's my parents' fault either. My Grandmother is the Olympic Champion worry-wart, and I can't imagine how my Mom tolerated it as a kid. As for Daddy, well, I think his deal is the fact that I'm a girl. Heaven forbid I do anything remotely tough. I realize that these are all signs that they care, and I really do have wonderful parents who have always been very supportive and raised us well. I'm glad they were strict - to a degree. Yet some of their boundaries may have been too much and now I'm dealing with the consequences - stuck in college debt and only now starting to develop a plan to get out of this horrible five-year rut.

I'm not blaming this on them, though. It's more my fault for allowing myself to be afraid. At least now that I'm aware of it, I can do something about it.

Okay, I've whined quite long enough.
Now it's time to THRASH


  1. I get to see Jennifer! YEA! I can't wait. But onto more important things. I kinda know what you mean. Except with me, it was kinds of the other way around. My parents really never sheltered me. I can't believe that your parents never let you learn to ride a bike, skate, or anything like that. I realize that you're their youngest and only daughter. After boys, parents tend to view girls as being these delicate little flowers that will break if the wind blows too strong. Sexist, I know. But, sometimes that's the way the Feta Cheese crumbles. I hate for this trip to be a point of consternation with you and your parents :( Why would your dad say that going 30 miles outside Calhoun is going to hell? Jesus. I can only guess that when you become a mommie you're not going to over shelter your kids? I feel so bad about you and your dad getting into an argument over a car. Fresh Prince said it best: "Parent's just don't understand".

  2. Daddy's just worried about me getting stranded or something. That's what he means by it "going to hell." And now I'm going to worry more about it. Dang it.

  3. Lord, I never realized it was that bad for you. And I'm the kid that tried to pull you in the deep end just to prove to you that you could live through it... wait, was that you? ;) I would hate to see what they'd do if you ever had a pregnacy "scare"... if I weren't your friend, it'd probably be fun to watch on TV. I would agree that they have planted the seeds and seem to want to water them at every chance.

    I think everyone's parents (who care) do this to some extent. It was those kids in high schoool that snuck out and lied to their parents who broke this cycle first, probably too young for most of their immature asses. It is time for you to start breaking out of it though. You will have to start making them understand, every thing you do will be moderated by their voice playing over in your head. They have to let go, and in a big way, so do you.

    Ok, that's my two cents, I think I owe you change.

  4. Yes, that was me, you punk! But it's not an unpleasant memory.

    I reckon I'm just a little more sensitive to this sort of thing because the folks continue to lord over me more than the boys.

    You're absolutely right though, and that's part of why I want/need to move.


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