I’ll Be Stronger

Right now, as I’m typing this, I’m lying next to my boyfriend while he sleeps. I requested two days off for our anniversary, but I was somehow lucky enough to receive four straight days off. It’s peaceful, and the only sound is the air conditioner he seemingly can’t sleep without. Fortunately, he also has blankets.

I keep thinking “I could get used to this”. I imagine times like these as a preview of what our life would be like if we lived together. Of course, I won’t overstay my welcome and I am leaving tomorrow evening. Four days off just isn’t a daily opportunity. I wanted to use it wisely, and he agreed.

However, while I’m quietly playing on my phone to let him nap, I keep thinking about how things could’ve been so different. I think about how I’m trying to pave a path for my life. I remember when I was so afraid of adulthood, yet it gets better with each passing year.

What if I listened to my family, the people who want nothing more than for me to be blindly compliant and stay locked in a gilded cage? What if I followed in my mother’s footsteps, and had a child at 21 or 22? What if I gave in to the worst years of my life and cut my life off before I reached 20?

The truth is it’s an alternate reality that terrifies me. I really don’t know why since it’s clearly not my reality, but it’s what I’d make a horror novel out of.

Writing posts like these makes me feel like a braggart, but since it’s only recently I’ve genuinely been happy with my life, I’d rather write my positive emotions than endlessly complain. My family set the bar low, and once I was out of the childhood safety of fantasy, I never believed I could do any better. Now, I know I can. It’s not going in a standard fashion. I’ve definitely made some mistakes and it will take a while for me to really get where I’m aiming. But I can do it, and I’m not going to be like my family.

I’m unsure if this is a way of saying I am better than them. I don’t believe I am better. I believe I can do better. Although, I do believe I’m better than a lifelong cheating, abusive when drunk, self-centered alcoholic, but I imagine most people would think they’re better than that.

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An Angel I See

This past Saturday, my eight-year-old cousin came to visit. I don’t see her often, but I love spending time with her. She’s a sweet, typical kid. Loves cartoons, loves to play games, loves being silly, and she’s fairly quiet, though she seems to be growing out of that. She was quieter when she was younger than she is now. The first time she ever came to visit (I think she was five), the only sound she made was when she cried about simply walking to the back room alone. Now, she has no problem with our house and will respond without trouble if you talk to her.

In my eyes, my cousin is an ideal child. Well-behaved, patient, able to sit quietly and occupy herself, polite. Out of all the times I’ve been with her, she threw a tantrum one time. And she had reason because she was tired and had been abruptly woken up. I couldn’t blame her. Nobody likes being woken up, especially not in such a rush.

Every now and then, I think if it were guaranteed my first child would be like my cousin, I’d consider being a parent. However, experiences like the above knock me back down the Earth. I don’t doubt my cousin is well-behaved most of the time, but in truth, I can only make that judgment based on the small amount of time I spend with her and what my aunt (her grandmother) tells me. At most, I only spend a few hours with my cousin when one of us visits the other. I see the sweet, playful side of her because, unless she ever feels like throwing fits for a day, there’s no reason for her to behave any differently in the few hours I’m with her.

Even if I spent a full 24 hours with her, I may not see much difference in her behavior. She would have people to pay attention to her, she knows she is wanted and loved, she has plenty of things to play with, and she has more than enough to eat if she’s hungry. The only way I’d see anything different from what I know of her is if someone or something agitated her, which, from what I hear, is rare.

It’s unrealistic to expect anyone to be proper 100% of the time, let alone a child who still has a lot of growing and learning to do. Most kids stop throwing tantrums around my cousin’s age, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to deal with unpleasant feelings. If I spent a week with my cousin, chances are I’d see fits, some stubbornness, and some sadness or even anger. No matter how angelic I see her as, the fact remains she is human, not a flat character in a TV show. Spending 24/7 with her is much different than a few hours, especially if she spends that time occupying herself and not needing or wanting someone’s attention.

When I was a child, I often got upset at myself for not being perfect. I actually thought something was wrong with me (being asked by an adult what’s wrong with me didn’t help either) because I couldn’t be perfect like everyone else seemed to, or I couldn’t be good like I was the previous day. When I was old enough to seriously think about parenting, I envisioned my child always being happy and loving because they’d have no reason to ever be upset. I hadn’t yet learned that nobody is perfect and it’s okay because perfection does not exist. Children are going to act out from time to time, no matter how well their parents are raising them, because people make mistakes. I wish someone had to told me as a child, “It’s alright you feel this way. You just can’t [whatever I did that was inappropriate].” Honestly, even as an adult, I don’t see the point in punishing a kid because they’re unhappy.

My little cousin reminds me of childhood and what it was like to be so young, innocent, and joyful. And while I know it can’t last forever, I do hope, unlike me, she is able to grow and mature at her own pace instead of having to be hurried into it.

Early, Late, I Do So Appreciate

Next year is my senior and final year in high school. The best thing about being a senior is that I get to leave early. Instead of leaving at 4:00, I will leave at 3. There’s also a chance I will be able to come to school late. 8:15 instead of 7:30. It’ll be good to have some normal school day hours back!

With those hours, I’ll probably do a little better in school. At the very least, I won’t be so tired and I won’t have to wake up to a loud, obnoxious alarm that I want to throw through the window every morning. Extra sleep is my favorite thing in the morning. It makes having to get up more bearable.

I am a night owl and only need five hours of sleep per night. A lot of people say that’s too little. One person, years ago, even said that’s probably what I can survive on, but I really need eight to nine. Bullcrap. If I’m up, functioning and passing school, I think I’m getting plenty of sleep. The least amount of sleep I’ve ever run on is three hours, though that was pushing it. Still, I didn’t go to bed that night until 11:00. My usual bedtime is 1:00, sometimes 2:00 if I don’t think there will be lessons in my classes the following day. Since finals are this week and I don’t have to be to school until 8:30, I’ve stretched my bedtime to between 2 and 3 AM.

Of course, when the weekend hits, I sleep until 10:00, 11 or even 12! It’s the weekend. That’s what it’s made for, sleeping in! Unless the house is burning down, nobody had better wake me up!

It’s funny how I like to sleep so much, yet when I was a kid, I hated going to sleep. Then, I realized I didn’t hate going to sleep. I hated going to sleep early. Nighttime makes the best alone time because I am the only one awake while everyone else is fast asleep. Unless one lives alone, it’s impossible to get any alone time during the day and I am someone who needs hours of alone time to relax. It’s a good thing I don’t want to live on campus when I hit college because I’m sure I would be so stressed out from schoolwork, I’d be constantly cursing out my roommate and being a little witch. Which also makes me extremely happy that boarding school never crossed my mother’s mind (and I’d be questioning why she even had me if it did). In fact, if I were in boarding school, I’d probably be the biggest witch on board, constantly telling staff and schoolmates to f— off and getting into fights, as I cannot deal with being around people 24/7. However, that’s a topic for another time.