I’m tired of feeling like such a failure. Like I’m wrong for not attending every family gathering; or for not calling every Sunday, each family member. I’m so exhausted trying to be perfect for all of you that I hardly have time for myself.
You don’t see my daily struggles, my constant, fighting a depression that’s trying to kill me. Nine dollars an hour doesn’t afford frequent trips across the country – I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I can’t be perfect: the daughter and sister you wish you had. I never show it hurts me too, because if we’re all in pain, who is there left to blame? I’m tired of being a failure because you want something different. So when we talk on the phone and your voice falters because I’m not there, just know I’m dying inside; being torn in two, because I may not have visited lately, but you’ve also never traveled 900 miles just to say “Hey, it’s great to see you”.
Money was always a problem, even before I was homeless. I’m almost twenty-two and barely making it paycheck to paycheck. I have no money for doctor visits, even with insurance. I can’t even keep my brain on a steady level, because a psychologist costs $100 a visit and I have to shell out $1,500 before those visits are covered. But my sanity is less important than seeing my nephew. Who is this aunt he’s never met? I don’t know, because neither does she.
But I should be so much better, because I’m bright and I have a family who loves me…I have places to go, but not one place to call my home. Because home is this life I’ve created with my friends, and though it may not be the best option, there’s not one thing I’d change.
One thing I always lacked as a kid was a happiness of my own. Be a straight A student, go to college. Never get arrested or break the rules. Always be civil and suppress your anger – despite the secrets you know destroyed your image of family. My happiness was what you wanted of me, not what actually made me happy. And here it is again. It drags me down, further from my own future when you beg me to return home to Michigan. Instead of growing and living my life, I’m expected to step back because there’s an old life waiting for me to come home. And though aspects of that life mean everything to me, you have to understand I wouldn’t be returning to the life I remember. I’m not okay leaving a life that makes me happy, to a life that made me happy for one part of it.
I’m not saying goodbye or that I’m not grateful – trust me, I wouldn’t be me if it weren’t for you – I’m simply asking you to listen for once.
If I had the opportunity to visit more, I would. Because my god do I love my dysfunctional family. But I’m not even twenty-two, and I need to take care of myself. It’s not selfish, it’s needed. Because I’m not a little girl anymore…