I got really good at making excuses when growing up. It was a habit that my parents nurtured until I was poised to become a sociopath. Now, later in life, I have some legitimate excuses for why I can’t do certain things, but telling someone “no” washes a wave of guilt over me. A wave big enough to engulf my entire childhood.
My mom was incredibly judgemental. Her entire extended family was incredibly judgemental. Maybe something was in the water (or maybe the blood (oh god do I have it too? (this is getting too deep in parenthesis))). I should have seen the rampant narcissism in that family sooner. A large Irish Catholic family who loved gossiping about each other than they actually loved each other. My mom didn’t want me playing video games, because it wasn’t good for me, so I picked up guitar. But anytime I played guitar, I had to stop, because it was annoying her. So I got a girlfriend, who I couldn’t see, because my mom didn’t trust me. None of these things were particularly weird for a kid/teenager growing up, but they weren’t okay with her. The worst feeling was when my mom told me she was ashamed to be out in public with me. I was kind of a skater/punk who had a mohawk sometimes, but mostly I just wore skate shorts and band t-shirts. That was enough for shame. God, this requires a whole blog post on its own, so I have to move on. Basically, I had to lie to my mom a lot growing up, just so I could have the littlest bit of freedom. I got good at it.
On the other hand, my dad was two-faced. You’d either be getting the passive, jovial fool who made fun of your insecurities a little too much, or you’d get the giant raging asshole who will twist everything you say into a slight against him. Both faces were followed by a musk of smoke, but later in life I’d learn that the jovial fool was smoking joints on the back porch instead of cigarettes. Don’t get me wrong, I hated the fool too, but I hated him a little bit less. While he’d poke fun at me by calling me “flinchy” (I flinched because he was a major asshole I didn’t trust with my safety), but at least he’d leave you be if you just left the room. The giant raging asshole would seek you out for every little thing you didn’t do (or if you did do it, why you didn’t do it right). I always needed a reason why I didn’t do something or why I didn’t do it right, so I’d lie. It was the only way to get yelled at a little bit less.
Things got better when my parents got divorced. While I was in high school, my dad moved to another state and my mom quickly pretended that I was already grown up. She started going to AA meetings (more than anything, I think it gave her a sense of identity and superiority, because my dad was not a drunk), she took on some courses from college, and she started dating. Both of my brothers were gone, so most days I’d come home from school or work and be completely alone. I got most of my meals from my job at McDonald’s or the frozen section of the grocery store. Honestly, it was the best time of my life growing up. For the very first time, I didn’t have to walk around the house in fear. Boy, this right here could be another blog post, because I’ve struggled with not living alone since this point. Past roommates and my wife have all probably suffered from the fact that I don’t know how to enjoy anything other than living alone.
Fuck, what was this post about? Oh yeah, making excuses. Yeah, so I made a lot of excuses growing up. Just so I could do normal stuff and feel normal. Just to avoid my parents. Unfortunately, this has been kicking my ass lately. I’m trying to improve my self, so I’ve been incredibly honest with the people around me about why I can’t or won’t do things. If you read my post Struggler, you’ll know I have both ADHD and some unnamed chronic condition that causes me a lot of pain and fatigue. These things prevent me from doing a lot of things that I’d really rather be doing, but when I tell people that, I feel all this built up guilt. Even though I’m not lying, I get flooded with the same feelings as I did back when I was just lying to my parents growing up. I don’t really know what to do about it. I guess I should start seeing a therapist or something, but typing this out is therapy enough for a Sunday morning in the middle of the summer.
I’m sure there are people who would tell me to just suck it up, because I didn’t have it that bad. That’s okay. I’ve made my peace with the fact that I was both incredibly privileged growing up and some of it still sucked.
Anyways, I tend to end these posts with some music I’ve been jamming to. Why stop now? Been listening to this band called Dollar Signs a ton and they totally rip. They give me some Jeff Rosenstock / Bomb the Music Industry! with their own unique voice that appropriately expresses how I feel getting old. Here’s a good one: