The way we hide our lives from our parents
I can't remember the last time I told my parents I was feeling gloomy, or that I had been depressed for quite some time now. Sure, I have broken down into tears over a fight with them. They've seen my eyes all red, my nose all watery. But I've never gone to my parent's room, hugged them and told them that I was feeling sad. For their presence in my life has never been that of a friend's, but rather of authority I'm supposed to obey.
After the initial rejections and constant negative reactions from my parents at every step, my teenage self soon learnt that hiding from them was the easy way out. Similar to how students fake their obedience in front of an authoritarian teacher, I decided to listen to their every command the entire time I was home. However, the moment I got out, there was no stopping me. That's where the duality in my personality started. One that I faked at home and the real self that I showed in front of my friends and other people I was truly comfortable around. One that wasn't scared to express his fears, emotions, and vulnerabilities.
With time, I found out that most people around me also shared a similar duality. What continues to sadden me is how normalised this duality is among a large fraction of my generation. We're used to hiding our true selves from our parents and presenting an obedient yet cheerful mask of who we are. The version of us that's supposed to let go of our passions for our parents' sake to fulfil their dreams all the while putting on a smile when doing it.
Soon, the heat from the fury inside us melts that mask and our true self begins to unveil itself. We lose control over our duality; the two personalities collide and the stage starts collapsing. We start separating our lives from our parents. When we try to express what we feel and what we truly want, it's treated with the same rejection and negativity it was treated with 8 years back. But our current self, with its own voice and years of rage stuffed inside, does something our past self wouldn't even dare to do. It speaks out.
Once the conversation starts, it pours out all our rage, hatred and tears with it. Now that our parents have seen our true selves, the relationship worsens. What they fail to realise is that it gives a child immense pain to hold that much grudge and anger towards their own parents. Rather, they label our revolt as ungratefulness towards their years of hard work and sacrifice. Their reaction consequently makes us angrier and eventually, we make the decision our younger selves made years back. We shut ourselves off, again.
We still talk to our parents, though. About our grades, about the weather or maybe a game of cricket. But never about our relationships, our heartbreaks, the love in our lives or the sadness that follows. Never about our anxiety, panic attacks or melancholy. 'I feel like I have a scream stuck in my chest, burning its walls and waiting for years to come out,' a friend once told me.
Can our parents feel our hearts burning?
Remind Ifti to be quieter at [email protected]