There is a restlessness inside me that makes itself palpably felt from time to time – like last night – where I’m left grasping and fumbling aimlessly in the dark for something, anything, despite knowing there’s nothing but thin air.
“Shut up. Shut up, stop responding all the time. Listen to me.”
I think the honest truth is I’m angry. I don’t appreciate being told to shut up, that you – yes, me – “listen to me.”
Hours later, I think I’m still angry.
I think I have listened to you my whole life now, or three-quarters of it that if I continue to do so; what’s left of me? Yes, sure, if I continue to live by you, chances are I’ll live a good life – but what of my autonomy? What about my sense of self? And perhaps above all, my right, my fundamental right, to make decisions for myself?
I will not make all the right decisions, I know that. I’ll fumble likely eight out of ten times, make three silly and unavoidable mistakes before hitting it right, finally, the fourth time – but if you keep wanting to cushion the blow, how am I going to grow? I love you, I appreciate everything you’ve done and continue to do for me. I respect and am in awe of everything you stand for, what it took for you to be where and who you are today. I recognize your achievements, I celebrate them through my most treasured possession: my writing, my gift with words.
I see you for who you are, just as I see my limitations in all that you are.
But you’ve got to trust that I’m not made out of cotton wools and flimsy mechanical parts. You’ve got to trust that when you allowed and consented for me to spend a portion of my growing up years abroad, away in all senses, you acknowledge and have long known that I will come home different. You’ve got to trust that I am neither reckless nor irresponsible.
You’ve got to trust yourself enough, respect yourself enough, that you raised me well.
You can’t give me wings, only to clip them, you know? You can’t give me an expansive mind, only to contain it. You can’t raise me for twenty-four years with all the possibilities of dos, only to now change them into don’ts. You’ve got to trust that you’ve raised me well. You’ve got to trust me – and not just parts of me you approve of, but all of me. Trust me.
Last night I fumbled, somewhat lost, in the dark. But you know, even though I struggled to grasp something, anything, tangible about what happened – I no longer fumble aimlessly for my misplaced sense of self. No. Who I am, what I stand for, what I believe and the parts that make up who I am – I no longer erase bits and pieces to be more widely accepted. I no longer feel that I need to be validated in order to be liked. I no longer feel apologetic to be myself. I no longer stay silent against the sweeping statements about myself. I no longer settle for enough just because enough is what you approve of.
I have come home different and grown. I am asking, with respect and kindness in my heart: Trust me.