Appearances Are Everything

My parents should be thankful that I have turned out as (somewhat) well as I have.  Give my past, it would have been very easy for me to say, screw school, screw trying, and become a drug addict, a street kid, a slut, a runaway, a drop out, knocked up at 14.  Consider if you will the facts:  By 16, I had been bullied for most of my life, sexually assaulted twice by family members and never told of it, binge eating since age 8 out of emotional emptiness, verbally abused by my parents, and too socially anxious to make a friend.  I was also approaching four years of self-injury, and highly suicidal, without a therapist, without telling my family anything was wrong.  I had a lot upon my emotionally immature plate, and I was too full to consume another bite.  Yet, as I do to this day, I continued to consume, to feed.  I was a certified "gifted" child, a straight A student, involved in school organizations that served the community and the school.  I had my entire high school career mapped out at 14.  I was graduating at 17 (a feat when at the time, high school in my area was 5 years in length).  I had my universities and programs chosen.  I was a virgin.  I'd only had a few boyfriends.  I didn't care for material things.  

I'll live through you I'll make you what I never was

All in all, I was a picture fucking perfect child, the kind that most people's parents point to and say "Why can't you be more like her?"  during weekly lectures with less together children.

If you're the best, then maybe so am I

Compared to him, compared to her

But it has never been enough.  I have always been spoiled, selfish, ungrateful, a bitch, lazy like my father.  Straight A's?  Not good enough for any sort of praise unless they were A+'s.  Otherwise, I simply received a nod, a sort of cursory remark implying that "of course I had received A's - there was no other option".  I changed my university plabns in my last year of high school after realizing that chemistry and I were enemies and the chances of successfully becoming a veterinarian were slim.  I elected to check into forensic psychology.  My parents exploded in rage.  I agreed to do the prerequisites for both programs and see "what I did better with".

I'm doing this for your own damn good

You'll make up for what I blew

When my university acceptance letters arrived, I had been offered a place in all three schools I'd applied to.  All three had offered me varying amounts of scholarship money.  I was thrilled that I was desired by three major Canadian universities, fighting to win me through dollar signs.  My parents.....  All they could see were the dollar signs.  "Go to Guelph, they offered the most cash".  But mom, that's my second choice school and besides, it's going to cost more overall to go there so the extra money offered is negligible.  "Yeah well we're not being put on the hook for your student loans you know, if you blow it we're on the hook to pay it back, you better not fuck up. " 

What's the problem?  Why are you crying?

When my family discovered I was depressed and suicidal, they offered no compassion or sympathy, let alone an interest in my thoughts and feelings.  I was accused of faking to make my parents look bad, told I was stupid and had been brainwashed into taking antidepressants "which I should stop taking anyways".  Nobody ever asked why except my grandmother, and I simply could not tell her.   

Be a good boy push a little farther now

That wasn't fast enough to make us happy

When the time came to receive my high school diploma, my mother left before the 90 minute ceremony was done.  My father didn't come at all.  I graduated as I have always been in this world:  alone.

When my first grades came back in University, they had dropped as is normal with university, but were still A's.  My mother, who has never attended even college, immediately yelled at me asking "what happened to your 90's?"

We'll love you just the way you are

Last November, I stepped onto a scale and realized that years of Binge Eating Disorder had taken their toll.  I was 215 pounds.  At 5'7".  I cried.  I cut.  I then decided I'd had enough.  For years my mother had hinted that I was chubby and when angry, her favourite insult had always been "you're a stupid fat bitch like your father".  I dropped weight.  The first time my mom really noticed, as I see her so infrequently, was this July, when I weighed 180 pounds.  And she would not shut up about how wonderful my weight loss was.  I have a 3.7 GPA in a demanding triple major at university.  Nobody says a word and they barely keep my major straight.  But all I hear now is "you look so good" and "have you lost anymore weight?"

If you're perfect

And I realize now, that my mind, my emotions, my thoughts and fears - these were never the way to earn my parents' love.  I tried so hard to please them.  I always failed.  I had overlooked the answer for years, and now, I see it as plain as I see the fat on my flesh as I pull and tug at it, imagining how I will look at 140 pounds, marvelling at the discovery of my hip bones and bemoaning my flabby upper arms:

Appearance is all that matters.  The shell is all people wish to see.  The core?  Like an apple, it is unwanted, undesired.

(Alanis Morisette) 

"I'm down to your last cigarette"