What will they think of us?

Life for any child is tough. You’re expected to learn, grow up, do things right, learn from your mistakes, make no mistakes to begin with, think about your future, be happy, don’t goof around so much, be grateful for what you have, respect your elders, share, be polite, speak up when spoken to, and on and on goes the litany of all the things you should and shouldn’t do.
But what’s really tough for any child to hear from their parent is, “What will others think of us?” This brings up a lot of questions in the child’s mind that you wouldn’t really want them to have: Who’s more important, me or your friends? Are you so worried about gossip that you’d just ignore me and my feelings and my issues? Is that all you care about, what other people think?
There’s always this part of me that wonders about the things that I have problems with against my parents. Things that are so obvious and plain to me that I can’t but help think that they’re just as plain and obvious to my parents. And so I wonder if sometime in their life they knew and then they forgot. Or maybe that I’m not getting the whole picture, I’m not understanding what they’re going through. If they knew once, and forgot, I can forget too. And if I’m not understanding what they’re going through, then I’m not being fair. So action must be taken to not forget and to figure out why. Because I don’t want to be my mom or my dad and feel the frustration that they’re obviously feeling. And I don’t want to look at my son or daughter and say things to them that will make me feel as frustrated as I’m feeling.
So if there is something I don’t understand, what is it? I have friends right now, but the way they view me is based on the actions that I do, I don’t have a proxy by which they can judge me on. But what if I did? What if I had the kind of friends who looked at my family and judged them and thus judged me? My family is poor, uneducated, villagers, for the most part. What if my friends thought “that guy is part of a low class family.” And my first violent reaction to that is.. fuck them. No, I don’t have friends like that and I wouldn’t be able to have friends like that. What about a community of people, not my friends, but the rest of them. The rest of whispering, gossiping mass of empty faces? Fuck them too. I say that.. but do I live it? I look at my life right now and I wonder how much others think of me affect me, and there is an affect. Of course how others think of me affects me. But it’s like a buzzing fly that I only notice when it whizzes by my ear and then disappears. It’s annoying.. I know it exists.. but I have more important things to do then to chase it and try and do something about it.
And I know that flies die very quickly.
But that’s me, I don’t care so much about me. What if I’ve misjudged my parents? What if it’s not their skin that they’re worried about, but mine? What if they believe that how the community views me will affect my life currently and in the future. Or what if they want me to be accepted, to be seen as the wonderful person that they themselves see me as? I can understand that. The most similar, although not nearly close, feeling that I could think of would be the things I am proud of. I have an insane urge to show it off to others and have others be proud of it as well. And any negative criticism affects me more than it should. For example, I’m proud of my writing, these posts, this blog. But if any of you were to tell me that you don’t like it, I’d have an urge to know why. And if you tell me why, I’d have an urge to change it, to re-write it if I feel that it won’t take away from my original intent or make it worse in my eyes. I’d re-write it. Does that mean that I’d want to re-write my son or my daughter? Is that what my parents try to do? Do they try to re-write me so that others can share the same pride they have in me?
That’s sweet, but in a really fucked up way.
I’ve seen and experienced personally the way that it messes me and others up. I’ve seen kids who try to do what their parents tell them to do and eventually it gets so bad that lives become ruined, families break apart, hearts get broken, minds are torn apart. And I’ve seen other kids rebel and hate their parents, and eventually it gets so bad that lives become ruined, families break apart, hearts get broken, minds torn apart.
I can’t be understanding of my parents and do what they want me to do, because it would end up bad. And I can’t hate my parents and ignore them, because that would end up bad. What can be done is to understand them, and then ignore them. Love them for the love they have for me, but do what I think is right.
And I can and must remember. Remember to do what is right. Remember to never look at my own child and make them feel like I’m worried about anyone else but what they’re feeling and what they’re going through. Or at least, make them feel what I’m feeling and what I’m going through. Either be absolutely selfless or absolutely selfish, but don’t choose the middle route and care about some faceless other entity that will have no real bearing on my life or theirs. I can accomplish this by continuing to keep in mind that those voices of other people are just buzzing of flies. And those voices will die out tomorrow, just like fruit flies. I can continue to have friends who judge me for what I do and not what my family or anyone associated with me does, who judge me for the things I alone do and the things I alone fail to do.
No one is or ever will be a proxy for me.

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