This year I moved home and I had a legitimate meltdown. I thought how can I go live with my parents after living in my own place for so long? Living with the family is a situation that so many in my generation are facing it seems. Some avoid the headache and just don’t leave. Even when I have talked to those in the previous generation about this, the response has been “I had to as well”. This makes me feel less alone and therefore less crappy but the issue of how to manage is still there for someone who has tasted the freedom of life on their own or with peers.
When I say my own place I mean not with my family, I always had roommates and then I lived with my ex partner. What i’m saying is I was used to making my own rules and structuring my own environment. Now the latter part is the only place where I really have any difficulty or even expected to. My parents are pretty freedom loving people themselves and definitely understand that i’m an adult. But I’m very needing of privacy and I do not like to explain my actions even in the most mundane of circumstances. Families just aren’t designed that way, all persons are an extension of the whole so naturally the boundaries of individuality can get blurred and I just didn’t know how I would manage that.
I thought what the hell am I going to do there! How am I going to maintain my personal/mental space? Where will I do my yoga? What the fuck is going on with my emotions right now?! On the one hand I just didn’t want to move back to where I had moved from. I thought nooooo I left there for a reason. I also thought, I’m no quitter, I have done this for 6 years straight and I can do this without going home. But on the other hand I thought I must be entertaining the idea of this for a reason. That exploded into a host of reasons, it was like I had picked a whole into a dam and the current of issues came in. For one thing it was completly rediculous that I had paid $900 a month for a tiny one bedroom rat box for a year and a half. Then it was ridiculous to be paying $600 a month for somebody’s converted garage bedroom with everything else shared between 4 people. To make life a little bit more fun the lady I was renting from was completely cray! I had a horrobly traumatic experience where my ethnicity and my sexuality where attacked, I was falsely arrested and then harassed and slandered after the fact. I escaped with my life and my sanity but the experience showed me that its not such a good Idea to be 900 miles away from family and people who care about my well being until I was more than stable financially. The truth is the dollar rules right now and I never understood that as completely as I do now.
I thought I want to own a home soon but I didn’t see that happening in Boston with the cost of living still rising. I had learned much about the massage profession and operating as a professional in general. My work was becoming quite lucrative for me but I was putting it all into living in the 2nd or 3rd most expensive city in the country. For the first time in my life I was actually making a living, but it was like I had gone nowhere. I was paying way too much to live in anyplace, its just a piece of land. I had built no security for myself and I had been shown that enemies strike when they sense a breech in security. Which got me thinking, if I can do this here then I can go home and do it, be able to make more of my finances and help my family. So through my tears, angst and literally struggling to do anything with the burden of complete burnout on my shoulders. I used the scraps of money I was able to force myself to earn to buy a ticket BOS to CLT packed what I could of what I had left and went home to my family.
Honestly I’m happy to be back with the people who there are no doubts about. I know they love me unconditionally, not just because I agree with their opinions, or laugh at their jokes, or because I’m always in a good mood. Now that we have the mushy stuff out of the way… YES it is just as difficult as I thought it would be and I dream of the day I’m in my own place again. I think the hardest part is that were really our truest self with our family, I know that seems like a good thing but think about it. When your with strangers and your in a bad mood the default response is to cover it up with a smile until you can get around the corner and sneer. But with our family we typically feel as comfortable as we do by ourselves so its a lot harder to keep the drama to ourselves. For the same reason we can also get dragged into family drama that really has nothing to do with us because we can see all issues as family issues.
So here is what I have learned. Last things first, family members’ issues are just that, Theirs. Of course be a shoulder and even offer advice if appropriate but by no means insert yourself, we are all capable and required to deal with our own problems even if we need a little guidance to do so. This includes intrafamilial conflict, for instance if mom and dad are pissed at each other its not your job to swoop in and squash it at least not directly. I will talk to each party about individual issues and give honest feedback regarding my observations. But I will not talk to anyone for anyone else or mediate anything other than calm rational mutual conversations.
As far as my personal needs and issues go I have learned that honesty is the best policy. No one can know how to help you if you don’t tell them what you need. This is not just the case relative to family either, its been invaluable in all my relationships. I know that I need my personal space so when I need it I take it and there are no hurt feelings because I have simply explained that it makes me easier to be around. As I said I don’t like to explain my actions and I need to maintain a sense of personal privacy so I do not answer questions I don’t want to answer, kindly and respectfully of course. As long as you make it clear that you’re not withholding information because you want to be mean but that these boundaries are important to you most people will respect them in the interest of peace.
The reality is most of the things that we dread in others are just projections of our own psychology. Yes I am an adult and my parents definitely realize that I am. The key was me remebering that I am an adult and not reverting back to old ways of dealing with my family. Talking to them and reasoning with them like an adult familiarizes them with me as I am now. The golden nugget in this whole experience has been that I get to relate to my parents in a different way than I did when I last lived under a roof with them. They are still my parents but I have been getting to see dimensions of their lives and personalities that I never did before. I have learned things that were secrets before, gotten deeper understanding on how they feel and felt about past events. I’ve even gained a better understanding of how they see me, all of which somehow helps me understand myself better. I think the best thing is you get to see how much they miss you when your not around, that really they always want you close just because of who you are and that feels good. ♥