So when I was little, I had this toy where you pull on its arms and the arms stretch as you pull them. Well to be totally fair, it was probably my brother’s toy that I “borrowed” but that’s besides the point. Anyhow, I forget the name of the toy, but that too, is besides the point. The point is, that’s how I’m feeling right now. Like I’m being pulled in opposite directions. And I’m sure if that toy weren’t an inanimate object and could talk, it’d probably have said that it really, really sucks….or something along those lines. Because it does.
It’s my family. My sister primarily. For weeks now, she’s been coming at me with this big idea of me forgoing school in Tennessee and starting my own photography business up here. I love her to death, I really do…but she’s relentless. She wants me to stay here in New York…she’s been pretty vocal on that point from the very start, so it’s nothing new. But what started as innocent ribbing and teasing that was more annoying than anything, has gotten to the point where it’s almost frustrating now. I mean, I’ve gotten used to the occasional taunt of “oh, you’re gonna miss moments and milestones like these with the boys if you go to Tennessee” or whatever…but now she’s upgraded to this whole business thing. She keeps saying things like I don’t need to go to school for photography because I’m good enough already to make a career out of it…how everyone who sees the pictures I take of the boys always ask her who she had them done by because they look professionally done…and things like that.
I keep telling her it’s not about school, but she just doesn’t get it. I mean, she says that she’s happy for me and proud…but still, it’s like she’s doing everything in her power to keep me here. And that, I don’t understand. It’s horrible, but for the first time, I honestly don’t know her motive behind wanting me to stay. I mean, does she want me to stay because she doesn’t want her little sister moving on her own, so far away from everyone…or because she doesn’t want to lose her “nanny”. Again, I know that’s a really horrible thing to say, but honestly, I can’t be sure which it is. I mean, I know that my watching and being here with the boys is a big relief and burden lifted off her shoulders–that the boys are with someone she knows and trusts and that they’re safe and well taken care of…rather than stuck in some busy, unfamiliar daycare. I understand where she’s coming from, I do. I know she worries and that she’d rather the boys were with me than being taken care of by strangers, I get that. I’d want the same thing if they were mine.
I get it…and I’m really happy to be here, helping my sister out like this with the boys and all. I am. Hell, she’s done so much for me over the years that this doesn’t even come close to making up for it all. I owe her a lot, so this is nothing. Really. And I love the boys as if they really were my own. They’re amazing and I wouldn’t trade this time with them for anything. But at the same time, they’re not mine. That’s the stark reality of it. I don’t mean to sound selfish, but I can’t stick around for the next 4 1/2 years raising someone else’s kids. I’m going to be 27 years old in a few weeks. I need to make a life of my own. I love my sister and I love her boys more than anything, but I can’t stay here.
I need to go. I need to fly. I need to try to make it on my own. Maybe I’ll fail, maybe I’ll succeed…who knows. But at least I’ll have given it my best shot. I know it’s Tennessee and it’s 1000 miles away from everything and everyone…but maybe that’s what I need. I’m so used to having someone there to catch me when I fail and fall…there’s always a crutch when things get bad…and that’s not always necessarily a good thing. I need to learn to do things on my own…to make my own way. So no, Tennessee isn’t about school. It’s about freedom. My freedom. I can’t breathe here, surrounded by my past and my failures and everyone else’s dreams.
I wish my sister would understand why I need to go. That she’d stop with the teasing and guilt trips. I know that she’s only joking…but she’s not…not entirely. I know that she wants me to stay and she’ll do what she can to change my mind. But I need her to realize that her teasing is only making me want to go that much more, you know? It’s only pushing me further away, and I don’t like that. I want to go because it’s what I want–what I need to do for myself–not because I’m running from someone or doing it to push back at those that are pulling me in. For the first time, I want a clean break. I don’t want to be running from something. That’s all I want.
I want to stop feeling like this…like I’m being pulled in two directions. It shouldn’t be like this. I should be excited and looking forward to this…not biding my time. Not feeling guilty for leaving…It’s just not fair.