I never once in my adult life ever thought that my parents found me to be a disappointment, something that shamed them. Every teenager thinks that about their parents, that they’ll never be good enough. But when you mature and realize that they were just trying to mold you into the best you that you could be, you get over that. But when it was suggested that I may be a disappointment or embarrassment to them, I crumbled and I crumbled really freaking hard. Even as an adult, no child wants to hear that your parents are ashamed of you.
I was weak enough to ask the question to my mom. I don’t normally give in, but I admit my mental state is always shakier around Christmastime. She scoffed and was genuinely offended at the notion that she would be disappointed in me when I dropped off the kids so I could go Christmas shopping. I was on a tight schedule so I didn’t get around to hear her finish her statement. My father wasn’t in the room at the time, but I have a feeling the idea was just as silly to him as it was to my mother. I wish I could say that made me feel better, but I spiraled. I spiraled hard. I thought about about giving up. I thought about settling for a life that would have made me miserable. Was I doing everything wrong in my life? I questioned every single decision I have ever made.
I quickly started alternating between what I could only describe as blind rage and rock-bottom depression. Normally when I discuss feeling like a failure, it isn’t an actual feeling. I use it in a derisive manner. I don’t really think I’m failing, though there are brief moments that I do blame myself for things I have no control over. But this was different. Maybe I wasn’t doing everything right. Maybe I was a disappointment to everyone in my life. It was hard. It was very hard to deal with. I didn’t cry though. I think I have successfully went full ice-queen.
What made me a failure? The decision my husband and I made for me to stay home and be there for the kids while doing something I loved to do. Something my husband fully believes I can do. My husband thinks I’m immensely talented and honestly, that should be enough. He thinks I’m talented enough to support me through this journey. My “doing this silly writing thing” and “staying home” was what my family was disappointed in me for doing. How ashamed they must feel to have a daughter like me, squandering my intelligence and abilities in the way I have chosen to. As if I’m the secret daughter my mother doesn’t talk about because I have shamed her so. I brought the plague upon my family because I was such a failure in life.
I wish I could say that I was feeling okay about this now. That it still didn’t sting. That I didn’t hear those words swirling about my head as I try to move forward, doing whatever I can to further my career. I can’t. But I can say that it won’t break me and that’s really enough for me today.