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The Risk of Feigning Normality

It's not always easy to escape your past.

You are at dinner with your family, silently taking pride in your current ability to pretend you’ve grown up. You are silently eating your food, while taking in some of the conversations going on between relatives apart from the moments you are addressed.

Eventually, your brother brings up instances where you’d erupt in vexation, if the thread you were gripping on were to break. Everyone else at the table laughs and tries to pull you into the sea of sniggering, as you witness your brother take pride into his role of Demon Dane Cook. You force out a chuckle in order to blend in, but you bend your fork backwards, with your thumb without anyone else seeing. Your mom and uncle encourage your brother to bring back memories that hurt their sides, and hurt your self-regard. You can never tell if they just want to see how long it takes for you to break.

You continue to eat in silence until the waiter comes back with the bill. You decide to pay for your own food, to avoid the familiar Battle Royale over who pays for the group. You walk out of the diner and over to your car across the street.

You get to your apartment in about fifteen minutes. You carefully switch out of your suffocating dress, and into that tank top and pair of joggers that you remember your mother constantly teasing you about when you were younger. You take small steps to the bathroom. As you look at yourself in the mirror, you are unable to identify the woman staring back at you. By the time you finally clean the makeup off your face, you wish that you don’t know the woman sharing your gaze.

As you look into her eyes, you don’t know if it is the reminder that you don’t want to be like your father, who had been close friends with anger, longer than you could remember, that speared your heart, or if it is the reminder that you’re not the normality that your family hoped for. Regardless of the input, you can’t resist the tears beckoning you anymore. You have made it clear to your family that you fear anger is hereditary, but it feels as if they won’t listen to you, unless you lash out on them to the point where isolation from them is a mutual decision, that they realize they were constantly poking at a laceration that shouldn’t be touched.

After you drown yourself in suffocating tissues, you notice your phone lit up on the sink. You see that you received a text from your brother. He says that he hopes you don’t take the remarks personally. He just felt that he was responsible for keeping conversation going at dinner, and you were among the first things that came to his head. Even though he was a stranger to empathy, he recognized that you seemed displeased when you left the diner before everyone else. You stare at the text, as if you’re going shoot lasers out of your eyes. You breathe in deeply, with your eyelids joined in bear-hugs. Your choice to be isolated in the family continues to be justified, but they’re forever in stigmatising clouds to see the image of what they do to you.

As if a sign of how to handle your latest disappointment, you find yourself walking out of your slumbering body and floating to the rooftop, you blanket the town in your gaze. You wish it was possible for you to erase your past and, though it would keep your family from seeing you as nothing less of a human being just trying to get by in life, you know it would also erase everything else that made you into the person you currently are. A lot of thoughts go through your mind (some good, some bad, some neutral), and you know that there will eventually be a day where they'll be satisfied, and you get that stick out of your butt or you'll be satisfied, and they'll tone down their offensive sense of humor. Even though one of these might eventually happen, you know they won't likely happen any time soon.

Read next: The Working Mom
Monique Star
Monique Star

I'm not the most sophisticated adult out there. I'm also not the best at communicating all the time, but I do try my best to get my thoughts out there into the world verbally or nonverbally.

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The Risk of Feigning Normality
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The Working Mom