Thursday, 26 April 2012
When I was 8 till 13 years old, I grew up around a mother that spent her weeknights usually grading math papers with a cigarette between her fingers and a can of Budweiser next to her on the table. Sometimes, I'd walk around the house when I'm supposed to be in bed, and I'd throw in the towel by walking downstairs and admitting that I couldn't sleep.
The smell of the cigarettes bothered me, and the image of her sipping on a can of beer made me feel like there was something that was going on with my mom that she didn't want to tell me; not only that, but she was always taking naps when she had the opportunity. Years later, I found out that she was in debt, spending money for her children that she didn't really have to spend, and trying to work hard to make up for it.
Up until about a couple months ago, I never understood why I detested alcohol use, drug use, and tobacco use until I thought about why I detested the idea of taking naps from ages 15-18.
The reason why I didn't take naps at home was because I thought it was a weakness; as a result, I'd either sleep during some high school classes or force my eyelids to stay open. In my mind, during the time, I thought school was absolutely boring and didn't blame myself for falling asleep when teachers were practically singing me a lullaby; however, taking naps at home when I have access to the internet, video games, or any other kind of entertainment wasn't acceptable. After naps, I'd feel more energized while mentally beating myself up I thought that naps were for kids.
Now that I'm 22 years old, considerably more knowledgeable about life than when I was 16-18 years old, I realized that I was against the idea of taking naps because my mom took naps and I didn't like seeing her tired all the time. After I came to that realization, I started thinking that maybe... just maybe... my mom's alcohol and tobacco use triggered my detestation of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco for the same reason: she drank alcohol but was still the same person the next day, and the same thing goes for tobacco. The idea of using tobacco, alcohol, and drugs for temporary satisfaction with the amount of risks involved didn't really interest me. I'm not going to say that I never tried my mom's Budweiser secretly, but I know that I've never tried smoking cigarettes (my best friend convinced me to try chewing tobacco ONCE and I never did it again). I had no curiosity for it, so I've never tried any drug before, never got drunk, never smoked cigarettes (at least intentionally), and I've never done chewing tobacco more than once.
It has been surprisingly difficult getting accustom to the idea that I'm over 21 years old; I could walk into my local grocery store, buy 100 dollars worth of alcohol, and not get in trouble. The reason I'm having trouble isn't necessarily because I've never had any interest in alcohol, but because society has been indirectly trying to convince me that I have not lived a normal life. I haven't been to any of those teenage parties that had alcohol and such, I've never got high with anyone, or anything like that. I detested all those things, so I chose to stay away from it all. To make matters better for me, my mom promised me her 1985 Firebird Trans-AM by the time I was 16 (things happened in 2003 and as a result she gave me the car when I graduated high school instead) if I didn't do drugs, tobacco, or alcohol; if I detested everything, then I easily obtained the car without any problems. Now that I'm 22 years old, I have talked to a number of people... 10-20 years older than me that have smirked when they found out that I'm over the age of 21. They'd comment about them doing "crazy" things when they were around my age with a smile on their faces, and I'd tell them that I've never done any of those things because I'm not into it. They'd all have the same responses: "oh... okay."
Their tone of voices was the tone of disappointment.
Some people have said that what I have done is the "right" thing to do; if that is the case, why have people directly told me that I'm not "open-minded?" If I'm doing the right thing of not involving myself with drugs, alcohol, or tobacco... then am I not open-minded because I don't have a history of doing anything like that?
Sometimes I feel like I'm less of a person because I've never had those wild experiences like seemingly everyone else has. My little sister is a genius, going to be graduating and moving onto grad school soon, has a $9.00 an hour job working at a desk while I'm working at a grocery store making $7.35 an hour, and yet she was the one who got caught smoking marijuana in the girl's bathroom in high school; she was the one who drank alcohol with my cousin while in Florida.
I'm almost beginning to believe that I am a failure because I didn't involve myself with those things; what I used to feel great about is now tearing me down because society is telling me that I've never really had fun. Perhaps I've skipped the fun stage, and now that I'm 22 years old, I feel deprived because of the good choices that I've made. The good choices I made lead to bad consequences, so it seems. I've tried alcohol, but it's never been because I've wanted to drink alcohol, but because I've wanted to live a normal life of rebelling against their parents (which I've done), rebelling against religion (which I'm an Agnostic Theist), going to alcohol parties, smoking weed, and practically everything else an "open-minded" person does. Now that I'm 22 years old, I feel like I missed an important part of growing up because I was against doing drugs, doing tobacco, and drinking alcohol; I feel alone in the world with this point of view, and I screwed up.
Maybe I should've done bad things after all. After all, you gotta go through the bad to get to the good, right?
What do you think? Am I screwed up?