When you go home and live with your parents, things often come from over your shoulder. You are once again at the mercy or in the blessing of your parent's cooking. There is a necessary responsibility of cleanliness. Your parents will come in contact with your crumbs and bodily debris. You cannot keep entirely separate or entirely to yourself. The shape and look of the place is not your own. However the stigma of living at home, treats parents as if they are a phase we all go through, not people with emotions and desires and lives in any way worthwhile, or worth talking about.
Your parents probably wish you would call more. Visit more often. Just want to be a part of your life, and it is acceptable to treat them as a bit of a nuisance until you have a child of your own and those twin forces of love for your kid and convenience open things up again. But as attitudes shift about the sensibility of the children-and-marriage-or-else mentality, it seems only logical that attitudes about living at home should change too.
Think about all the people who are living at home because of circumstances we know nothing about, including, most unexplainably, a deep and respectful love for their parents (which is an admirable, jealousy inducing thing). And think about all the people who are made to feel guilty about their situations because of a certain definition of success that involves money, romance and assertive independence above practicality, a shared sense of responsibility and loyalty. This isn't to say that it is knowable why people live with their parents, but this is precisely the point. We don't know other people's situations, and without getting to know them intimately, we shouldn't feel we have such ammunition to shame them. This goes for all aspects of life, but living at home seems to be a universally maligned one. I think we were all secretly thrilled to find out that insane pro-rape Men's Rights nutbag lived in his parent's basement (even I got a thrill out of it, while also understanding the irony in my case).
It is hard to break out of the habits of your youth, when you return to your family. Hard, but not impossible. I am remembering though, a younger version of my brain, before I knew much more than books. And I remembered the way I learned without discernment from what I read. That sponginess of the youthful brain. Gathering every stick and scrap and bit of brush without knowing how to make a nest. I remember it as I think of Henry Miller. I struggled to express my feelings without knowing who I was, the dual nature of all young authors of vague, confessional poetry. Henry Miller's escalating writing struck a chord with the angsty and passionate teen that I was. I found myself carried away by the bottle rockets of his fiery ideas.
What I forgot was the way my brain wanted to imitate what I read without much discernment. Even in simple tales of heroes and villains I saw something worthwhile in the antagonist. I still do, but I also saw the text of literature less as instructive to the soul and more as instructions for being. Anaïs tells me that Henry Miller talks to waiters and makes everyone at ease by having a consuming lust for life. And for a second, I want to be that! I am thinking of how I can make my personality bigger, how to warm my being. I want to be someone Anaïs Nin admires. Even though she is dead, and it is an impossible goal. The desire is only momentary. And that's the difference 10 years can make. No dull ache stored in the soul. No disappointment at the unachievable. Waiters don't usually have an opinion of me, and honestly, though I am a fellow waiter, I don't usually bother having one of them. This is OK.
It's still hard to remember that what you love about someone you don't have to imitate. I say have, because there are certain characteristics we can all benefit from impersonating (kindness, patience, compassion). But in general, I'd imagine it's better for everyone involved if you keep your distance from trying to be anyone but yourself. That in fact the best way to honor characteristics about other people (like their daring or their warmth), real or fictional is simply to enjoy them. Share their glories. And continue on. Remembering that we are not Henry Miller and we are not Anaïs, no matter how much we relate to them and their stories.
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