Being an adult-y adult is terrible burden. I often still feel like a teenager (and I’m told, despite being 25, that I look like I’m 17) and many times still dress as one (because my fairly new Nightmare Before Christmas Jacket is just the coolest and I don’t care what anyone says). Despite these qualities, it is very clear that I am not just kind of an adult like a 20 year old, but I am a mid-twenties adult as fuck adult that pays all my own bills and has my own apartment and who is very, very broke, but still has to pay for necessities anyway.
Money has generally been the bane of my existence (does anyone ever say that phrase and not think of the Batman villain?) since my beginning. My family struggled growing up, but my grandparents made life go on anyway, and I thank them for that. When I grew into an awkward teenager, my mother’s career improved a great deal, which meant that our money situation improved as well. I was still a broke teenager, but my mother began to buy me more things, and actually became a shopaholic. Yet whenever she had to pay my medical and ambulance bills, she would would have raging fits about the fact that I was a burden on my family, and that I would be the reason she’d go broke and/or lose her job; because everyone knows that disease and chronic illness is definitely the patient’s fault.
At 18, my health decided to go absolutely insane to the point to where I was practically on my deathbed, and no one knew why. I could not jump into the workforce like all my friends had. Instead of spending time in college, at bonfires, or at a crappy part time job, I spent most days in bed, though my environment switched often between hospitals and my own bedroom. For years, my existence felt meaningless and impossible. When I turned 22, I finally began to show improvement in my health, and I began to scramble to catch up to everyone else my age, but it became clear to me that I was already too late in the eyes of many, including employers, who were the ones I needed acceptance from the most.
So, long story still long but slightly shorter, I ended up having to be reliant on my mother financially much longer than I ever intended. When I moved to Missouri last summer, I had saved up enough money for both my move and to live off of while I looked for a job here. To my complete frustration and anger, my health once again decided to betray me and declined after my move, which meant that once again, I could not get any work.
While I was thankful that my mother kept paying for my health insurance after I moved out our home state where she remained, I was far less thankful for her constant manipulation and threats that she used against me, using my health insurance as her favorite weapon . Every time she decided to take her anger out on me, or we disagreed, the first threat to leave her mouth would be that she’d take away my health insurance as my punishment. Most recently, she decided to take away my health insurance as my “punishment for being selfish” because I decided to go visit my dying grandparents. I realize that sounds absurd. That’s because it is.
Now, at 25, I am broke, I am sick, and I have no insurance or parents to fall back on. Though my life most days feel almost intolerable, for the first in my life I am at least free from the abuse and manipulation of my mother. For the first time, I am under my own control. And that feels kind of amazing. She constantly told me I’d be nothing without her, but in reality, I’m doing just fine.
I don’t know what the word freedom really means to me. I was born on American Independence day, so some assume I’d have this down, but I truly don’t. If you live the “standard” life and work a job, have a family, friends, and all those other parts that we’re often told make up a human life, you’re never going to be completely free. You’re always going to have obligations. Sometimes I wonder if having obligations is not what makes a person free or not free, though. Could it be possible that freedom means that you aren’t obligation free, but that your obligations are ones that are necessary for your growth and well being? If you are obligated to your job, but it’s your dream job that you can’t wait to arrive to each morning, isn’t that freedom? The internet tells me that the definition of Freedom is:
The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
In theory I suppose that sounds pretty fantastic. However, in reality, I am quite thankful that no one has the freedom to kick me in the face for no reason, or to suddenly decide that my apartment is now their apartment. I’m starting to think that if you want to live among other people, you’re always going to be hindered by the rules your society has that makes it possible for all humans to safely and happily live amongst one another, and while it may be frustrating that you can’t do literally whatever you want to others, most people are usually relieved that others can’t just do anything to them, either.
My life has changed a great deal, and while I may have obligations to my boyfriend, my landlord, and the companies we use to heat and light our home, these are all obligations that come with restraints that I don’t mind all that much, because I have the freedom to choose whether or not I want them. In the end, I may never be completely “free” as the definition suggests, but if I can live a life that has restraints that I choose, that make me happy to live within, and that benefit my life rather than stifles it, then maybe being “sort of free” is actually truly free after all, just not in the way Google’s dictionary explains it to be.
Or, maybe everything is a lie, and we really live in the Matrix, where we have no choice but to comply, even though we have no idea we’re complying to begin with.
Red or blue?
But good things come to those who wait, ’cause she laid me,
And mom and dad possess the key, instant slavery.
No need explain the plan, no need to even bother.
I’ll pack my bags, I swear I’ll run, wish my friends were 21.
You don’t belong, you left the kids to carry on.
You planned their fall, too bad you’re wrong.
Don’t need a mom, dad slave drive song.
I time bomb. I time bomb.
I time bomb.