succumbing to peer pressure

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Maybe it's the latest regimen of drugs (mucinex + aleve + nasonex) or just quality time with good friends, but I seem to be breathing a bit easier today. Even went for a jog around the neighborhood, furthering my infatuation with Candler Park/Lake Claire. So, because it's a good day, I start once again thinking about just glossing over the family thing, not dealing with it, because things seem ok today, and dealing with it seems so big and hard and scary. The thing is this - while I was in high school and starting college, my older brother was a bit of a screw-up. So while I watched my parents struggle with that, and flounder and seem mostly lost, I decided that I had to do my best impression of both a perfectionist and an invisible person - never call attention to myself, never rock the boat. When I left for college, my freshman year, I got a steady stream of, don't screw up. Don't be like your brother. Don't lose your scholarship. Don't flunk out. Really helpful stuff. And while it isn't like that anymore, and I thought I had let go of most of that stuff (Sid's right, we never really let it go, I just mean, dealt with it, made peace with it) it has become more and more obvious that I have a long way to go.

Since today is a good day, it's easy to call to mind a summer day after sophomore year when I turned to see Dad looking at me, pleasure and pride clearly written on his face. But the lesson of this summer has been that on the bad days, that picture disappears pretty quickly. When I was stressing over my Exam, the thing I feared most about potentially not passing was having to call home and tell my parents. (my own personal embarassment, disappointment with myself, and having to face my department were a close second. but second nonetheless) This, despite the fact that while I was home Dad made a point of telling me that he was proud of me, regardless of the outcome. In my rational moments, I know they're proud of me, supportive of me, etc. etc. But it seems that when I'm struggling with something, I go right back to those freshman year lessons. So the dilemma is now, having carried that around for 7-odd years, can I put it down on my own, re-learn the more recent lessons of pride and support...or do I have to share that burden with them before I am able to lighten my load?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my own experiences, I've found that sharing with the parental units doesn't really do much. Why? I dunno, but I suspect its because the problem isn't really with them, but how I react to them. Sure, they built the cross, but I chose to carry it. In the end, all you/I/anyone needs to do is just figure out how to put it down, not unmake it.

Talking to them just complicates things and makes them feel bad, but doesnt really address the anxiety that the child feels.



11:01 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I'm not sure. It's one of the things my therapist and I are hashing out. I started out agreeing with you, saying things like I don't want to make them feel badly, I don't need an apology or explanation or anything like I don't know if/why I need to talk to them about it. But I also haven't figured out how to 'put the cross down' as you say.

7:30 AM  

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