No, not me. Well I have been awol from the blog too but that is not what moved me finally to write. My cousin ran away from home. The news stirred up such emotion, conjured so many thoughts and regrets, I just had to write them down. First of all, I wrote her an email which I figured she wouldn’t check as she’d made it clear she didn’t want anything to do with her parents and their family. But writing it helped so much and when I finished I was actually smiling. I imagined myself receiving postcards from her from all the exotic places she was visiting. Ridiculous, I know but I am a ridiculous optimist.
First of all, let me explain that I am not at all worried about her. She is an adult and an incredibly brave, competent and intelligent one at that. She’s old enough and experienced enough and knows the world enough to do just fine in it. The only sad part is that she felt that she needed to cut off all links to be able to be herself. And although she never told me this, I just know it. I wish I’d told her that I knew what she was probably thinking; it may have helped in some way. It may not have prevented this but she’d have known that she wasn’t alone. That’s what this post is about, not her family’s pain but my selfish regret.
I wish I had tried harder to pull her out and to get her to be honest with me. I just don’t know how to intrude into people’s private feelings as I am not really sure they want me there. But I wish I had risked it this time. I wish I had called her out when she was being fake with me and told me she was fine living at home and applying for a Masters. I had wanted to say, “Are you fucking kiddin me? Your parents are going to drive you nuts. How do you think you’re going to get away and live your life if this is your next move?” I had wanted to tell her to not get married at friggin 22 especially to someone from the community living in the same town as her parents. “Are you going to pretend to be someone else for the rest of your life? I mean with your parents is one thing but with your husband?” I wasn’t surprised when she got divorced but I didn’t know how to tell her that it was the right thing that happened, that the marriage was a dumb idea from the start, that her parents were nuts for even trying. “You have your whole life to live yet! What the hell were you thinking? Get out and enjoy yourself and don’t waste time with losers like him who are beneath you.” But I didn’t because I didn’t know how much she wanted to hear those words. She just closed up when I tried to talk to her about it. Now I wish I’d been nosy and obnoxious and all up in her business.
I wish I’d told her that my sisters and I thought it was impossible to live with our parents too, and ours were a lot less strict that hers. I wish I’d conjured up another plan with her, one that didn’t involve running away.
Even now, I think it’s the best thing that she did for herself. I know that sounds awful for her parents and I don’t even want to think about what they are going through. But on her part, it takes courage and some resolute planning and will power to do this. I kind of picture her on a road trip on a sunny day in a convertible with the top down. Driving across the US like in the movies. Maybe she’s with friends or a handsome boyfriend. I hope she’s not lonely. I know the reality is probably more gritty than that. Probably involves working, saving money, living in a shitty apartment in hopefully an exciting city. Hopefully the friends are still around and she’s making new ones too.
I also want to take home a lesson from this and that is to speak up. I too am far too concerned with being liked and agreable, and not causing drama to really be me sometimes. Not that she and I are too much alike in that as I have caused my share of drama at her age and when I was younger. I have yelled and I have rebelled and I have cried and thank God I did it. Thank God I followed by gut instint to not marry the moron I thought I was in love with; because even from another country, I could feel his family stifling me. The images were very clear, I must do things on my own.
Now I don’t feel the need to rebel loudly as I know that no one really has authority over me. But I do change faces as I navigate different situations and I try not to rock the boat. Well one of those faces kept me from reaching out to my cousin. If we had both been ourselves, it would have been awesome. And I may not have received a mail delivery failure notice as I reached out to her with an honest email far too late.