Family Values

As you probably know, I have no contact with my parents. My mother disapproves of my lifestyle, and my father is, well, unstable. I wish I could figure out a way to help him get his life together. In many ways he taught me everything I know, and I do want to help him if I can (his dream was converting his farm into a “sanctuary” where a community of people could come to life safely and freely, and, among other things, ran a company developing advanced communications technologies).

Anyway, I got an email from my grandmother (my mother's mother) telling me that I had to apologize to my mother for cutting her out of my life. After all she said, I'd hurt my mother when I was younger by my lifestyle choices!

(from my reply)   When I was a CHILD? When I was a child that'd been taught to express themself, but then when I started expressing who I was, I was told that it was so distasteful that I didn't even deserve to live in the house? When I was told that in public I shouldn't walk near my mother because it was too embarrassing for her to be seen with someone like me?

Among other things she went on to tell me that it was pretty much all my fault, and that if I wasn't willing to reconsider my lifestyle and adapt it to something they found more acceptable, then I really couldn't blame them if they had a problem with it.

The email goes on but you get the point. It's sort of like the “but if you wear that skimpy dress, you should have known I'd rape you” excuse. It's bullshit. It tries to move the blame to the wrong side. But you all know that. I doubt there's a person on this site that hasn't gone through these things with someone, be it family, friends, schools, or employers…

So parents: If you spend your child's youth telling them how much you hate their decisions, and letting them know that you would rather see them on the streets than with piercings in “your” home (and that's what you tell a child when you say “I'll kick you out if you don't take out that piercing” — you're actually saying “if you try and be yourself, I'll gladly watch you die in the streets”), don't be surprised if one day the tables are turned on you. Don't be surprised when the ultimatum you offer flips on you.

When I was a child, I knew who I was.

When I was a child, I know who I wanted to be.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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