Okay I’m going to embark upon a subject that seems to upset A LOT of people. I was not aware just how controversial a subject but little bits of gossip, criticisms, asides, etc., have reached my notice and I find it a sad commentary on American life. 100 years ago it was considered normal, in fact, 50 years ago it was still in practice but apparently it is just not done today; it is (supposedly) a sign of immaturity, emotional imbalance, dependency, enabling, and just plain embarrassing! The irony is that I am not ashamed but it has come to my attention that others are ashamed for me. So I will come out of the closet and say it: I live with my mother.
This is a good time to pause and really think about what goes through your head when I say I live with one of my parents. Gives you the willies, doesn’t it? Makes you feel like you are Superman and someone made you an amulet of kryptonite, right? Or if you know me, you are shaking your head from side to side saying to your mate;
“It’s sad really, she had so much promise. But I knew something was wrong with her.”
That’s right, just get it out of your system. Say and think all the things you imagine to be wrong with the scenario. Sit up straight and tall upon your throne of superiority! But now lets discuss this in a rational, broad-minded, kind and loving way, shall we?
I’m not sure why I am even writing this other than to let certain people know how I feel, and I suppose I do feel I have to present my case, defend myself, and ultimately prove to you that AGAIN my life is not yours, I may not want your way of life and you may not want mine, but I’m not judging you because you run around your house in a kimono with an Indian headdress on whilst singing ABBA songs. Whatever.
The reasons I returned home after having lived away and on my own, were simple: I had lived with a ninny (hardcore narcissist) of a man, attempted to fit my square (but slender) body into a round hole, and found that it had robbed me of all my dignity.
I’m aware that most Americans hate their parents and plenty have reason to do so. I have one parent that isn’t fit for public consumption but I do not feel that way about my mother. My siblings may feel differently but that is their trip not mine. I have grown to know my mother in ways they never will because they only see her as a mom. Not a human being. She is like an inanimate object, as most mothers become to their children. I’m no psychologist but it doesn’t take a degree to see that we want to always see our mothers as the kicking post, support team, private bank, etc. God forbid we gave dear old ma feelings, dreams, hopes, desires, disappointments or credit.
Anyway it took some time, therapy and a lot of yoga to get me back on my feet, and then I lost my balance again (remember, I’m a narcissist magnet), got back up and now have fairly stable ground beneath my Iyengar toes. Every morning I wake up utterly grateful for where I am. I know it will not last and so I wallow in its goodness to stock up the memories for when I am cold and living in a tent somewhere. (FYI I do have a decent tent, and sleeping bag but need a fly sheet and footprint for an old TNF Bullfrog).
If one has done any amount of international traveling you might notice in some countries that you do not see many old people living alone in a great big house (unless ridiculously wealthy). Either they have been shuffled off to Buffalo or they are the center of their community. They are treated with respect because they are older and carry knowledge we have not discovered. Or they simply respect that they have family. There is a joy and love to family and lets face it, it doesn’t matter if you own 3 houses, 12 cars, run a giant corporation; you will always have the same role in your family.
There is also this competition to live alone if you are single. Oh it isn’t spoken out loud but you are seen as a loser if you live with your parent. Quite frankly I feel that when people live alone for too long they forget how to share…anything. But socially it is better for me to save face by living alone in some squalid apartment than to live with my mother. The other day I mentioned to someone how much money I was making (they asked) and they looked astonished. Of course if I had a BMW in the driveway instead of an old giant truck, they would not have blinked. Where did this nonsense come from, the 60’s? Does it have something to do with women’s lib? Why does it really matter?
Ultimately it is a deeply personal thing. But that becomes a sticky wicket too because people tell themselves things, convince themselves of perceptions that are not real. I suppose this is done unconsciously because it makes them feel better about their own living situations.
So whatever your perception is of someone and their home life, before you open your mouth or turn on that broken record in your head, make sure you know that those thoughts are true. Are my mother and I enabling each other, how do you know, do you have proof? Or are you enabling someone and they you? Are you happy in your living situation? Even if you are not, is it better to be seen living an unhealthy life than living with a decent parent? Does living with a parent make you a lesser human? Really? Am I supposed to live alone and start acting like Diane Keaton in Looking For Mr. Goodbar? I’m certainly seeing that behavior in some of my friends and it isn’t for me. And just why exactly is my mother supposed to live alone?
This seems to be a true American hang-up and somehow it has to do with a preconceived notion of what success is. As far as I’m concerned I’m a success because I am happy…and minimizing my carbon footprint.
PS. You know that annoying saying; “you are born alone, and die alone”? I’ve never really understood it. It makes no sense because actually you are born through another human being and usually surrounded by a bunch of people and the same goes for dying. Most of us die with others around us, even if we are being slain. Oh well I guess some people do die alone but honestly that saying is so stupid. Just my opinion.