This piece is not directed at anyone in particular; please don't take anything personal. It's just an expression to a random member of the public of what it is.
Almost every person I have met thinks that my life has a beautiful skin.
Two parents with good jobs, a nice house, and everything a kid could want for, let alone need.
The funny thing is, I don't get to feel about my family the way you feel about your family.
No, see, because your family topped off your good education with a friendly home.
Your family reminded you at every turn that you could do it on your own, that you weren't an incapable, stupid human being, not the opposite.
My family topped off thousands in private school education with a firm reminder that my friends would always miss me at their mid-year 6th grade birthday parties and being a kid never truly meant being a kid, so let go of that fantasy, kid.
My family bought a couple of nice Mercedes filled with tension that made your stomach touch your toes and the oh-so familiar, lightly-used but heavily-said phrase: "Kids, I am divorcing your mother." We never believed you, but it always felt like we might.
My family has got a $2 million home by the beach filled with big beds and flat TVs and 13-year old girls believing mommy when she says: "If you just lost a couple of pounds, you'd be a knockout" and the proceeding "I think you have low self-esteem because of that boy."
My family goes to soccer practice and baseball games, but not before the kids are fed and reminded that they will never, no never—maybe after high school, maybe after college—no never be set free to decide things completely for themselves, on their own, without quiet emotional abuse finding its way into the ears like blaming and victim-playing and the feigned promise of support that never actually shows up. Well, maybe 2 years, too late.
My family gets hair and nails done before beautifully expensive vacations that you quietly think your family could never afford with our suitcases packed full of "bitch" and "idiot" and "it's just menopause, sweetie."
My family's walls hold picture frames, but not of our family with the bruises on mommy's body and the broken cup in the driveway and the self-loathing at 11 and the poorly-hidden jokes like "You're a diva" or "You're paranoid" or "You're annoying" or "You have a bad attitude because of a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z but never—no never because of your home life", no; the pretend ones of those four smiling people who pretend to be happy because we can afford pancakes and Michael Kors, and that's all you'd need to be happy, so don't ask for anything else, support, depression meds, or understanding, you ungrateful bitch.
My family totes labels like "Your parents are so sweet!" and "Wow, you must really love your parents—they've done so much for you!" But see, I don't get to feel that way about my family. No, never. You get to feel that way about your family. I get to feel like I'm an ungrateful lowlife because I can't forget the abuse—physical, emotional, or mental, you just pick the day—to pretend that all the money mommy and daddy have spent on me, all the things they've supported me doing—as long as they're exactly what mommy and daddy want, of course—all of the time they've spent on me make up for the scars I now have to carry on my back like open sores for the rest of my adult life.
Long-term depression. Wishing I could jump out the window but stopping myself because I wouldn't fit through my college dorm's 7 by 36 incher, or because I would feel embarrassed, or because it's a sin, or because mommy said never to do that. Thinking about detaching one of the two thin razor blades from a pink shaver to release some of my sweet, meaty blood but stopping myself because I'd have the physical scars, which are easier to see than the mental and emotional ones. Maybe writing a suicide note but stopping myself because who would read it? Who would I give it to? If I'm going to stop myself from jumping out that tiny window, there's no point in writing a note to match. Maybe talking about it in therapy but stopping myself because I know what the therapist is going to say—"Family is important" "Don't give up on them" "Well what did you do to cause it?" "Maybe you can just change the way you're seeing things" because my family's flaws aren't as easy to see as a drunk father or a mother on meds. No, never. My family's flaws are hidden behind the smiling, friendly folks at every one of their daughter's functions, performances, events, and the pressure is on to forget everything else, "I'm here now" "I'm better now" "I don't hit now" "We don't do those things anymore, right?".
My family's dinner table is covered with baseball and gossip and "oh this chicken is so good" but never—no never—with "Hey I'm having a problem with my friend" or "I need advice, can I talk to you?" No never, because my family will twist it into their ideas, their seeds of the plants that they can't seem to weed out for one minute to talk about anything other than what they want.
I do not remember the last time I came to my family and said "I need advice, can I talk to you?" No never. Ever again? No never.
My family hides their true shape so well, and sometimes without even trying.