Is there life out there?
So much she hasn’t done.
Is there life beyond her family and her home?
She’s done what she should.
Should she do what she dares?
She doesn’t wanna leave.
She’s just wonderin’–is there life out there?
So for those of you who aren’t big country fans (1.) you’re totally missing out. And (2.) those are some of the lyrics from an old Reba McEntire song called “Is There Life Out There.” Anyhow, I was listening to one of my playlists earlier and wouldn’t you know, that song started playing … and all I could think was God, this is it. This is me. This is exactly what I’m thinking right now. So cliché, but …so true. Well, minus the married at 20 part…but the rest, yeah. Completely. Totally.
I got my orientation packet in the mail the other day and gosh, I was excited…for about a whole minute, until my sister asked me what I was grinning like a fool for, looked at the papers in my hands, and got that “oh, that again” look on her face. That’s when the excitement ended and the all-too-familiar guilt crept in. A feeling I am so damn tired of feeling, I might add. Sooo damn tired. I swear, were it not for the fact that I’m about 20 something years too old to have an all out tantrum, I probably would have right then, right there. I wanted to. God, I wanted to. I wanted to scream and yell out all the frustration that’s been building all these months. But mostly, I just felt like crying because it’s so damn unfair. I mean, I know she doesn’t do it to deliberately hurt me–she wouldn’t do that–but it does hurt. A lot. Mostly because she’s my sister and we’re close and she doesn’t see it–what she’s doing to me when she makes her little comments that end up being subtle pushes of guilt. She doesn’t get it and therein, doesn’t get me. She just doesn’t understand. And that, yeah…that hurts.
I was venting to the Bestie the other night about it and at the end of my rant, the Bestie goes all pointing-out-the-obvious on me and says, “well…have you told her all this–what you told me?” Honestly, I have…well, not in so many words, but yeah. Or I’ve tried to, I should say. It’s hard because I can’t really say what I want to say–or everything I want to say, I should say–without feeling bad or guilty for saying it…hell, for even thinking it. It’s really, really complicated. See, my sister’s done so much for me over the years. So much. She’s literally gone above and beyond in the “sister” department. I honestly can’t even count the number of times she saved my ass–literally–back in the old days when I’d get drunk off that ass and decide–usually for some dumb reason or another–to go walking off (drunk stumbling is more like it) into the middle of nowhere or down some busy highway and nearly get myself killed. Anyways, I’d typically call her crying and she’d come looking for me…whether she was 15 minutes away, or an hour or two, or that it was 3 in the morning…no questions asked. I drove her crazy with worry and I’m sure there were times she resented the hell out of me for it–but she always had my back. The night I got crazy drunk and went a little too far off the emotional deep-end with the sharp end of a razor–she was there. From what I remember, she held my hand in that emergency room and cried with me while that sadistic doctor stitched me up and stayed with me until they made her leave. She even let me move in with her for 2 months some years ago when I needed a time-out from life and never pushed me into explaining why I needed to get away. Long story short…I owe her…big time. It’s a debt that sometimes I don’t think I can ever repay. Sure, I’ve done a lot of growing up since then and those days are far, FAR behind me…but there are still times, like these, when I feel like I’m right back there again…and I hate that feeling. I loathe it. I’m grateful to my sister beyond words, but I can’t repay that debt by staying here, like she wants me to.
It started with 5 years. Just until the boys start school, she’d say. She’s been trying to bargain with me these past few months–a lot more in recent weeks–and now we’re down to “how about until the boys are 2 1/2 then?”. Time-wise, that’s asking me to stay here for another 2 years. I get it. God, I get it. It’s not that she’s being selfish for herself–she’s just being a mom. She wants what’s best for her boys–and in her eyes, that’s having someone she knows and trusts taking care of her boys–as in ME–rather than strangers in some day care. She keeps trying to ply me with these “incentives” that are honestly, more than generous–and would be tempting–if I weren’t dead-set on leaving. Which I am. Only she doesn’t get it. Or doesn’t want to accept it, I guess would be the more accurate way of putting it. Cue the subtle guilt-tripping.
I just wish I could make her understand, make her see that my wanting to leave isn’t that I’m being ungrateful or spiteful. I’m not trying to make this hard for her or them, but the truth of the matter is–my being here was never a permanent thing. She knew that from the get-go. In fact, it was never supposed to last even this long. I only stayed because I knew she needed the help and for the boys’ sake, of course. And yes, because I desperately needed to get away from a situation and place that was slowly destroying me. But I never intended to stay forever. And I know that two years might not seem like a long time, but to me, they might as well be a lifetime. They aren’t just two more years to me. Their two more years of putting off my life and what I want. Two more years of me wishing to be anywhere but here, in this place, in this state. She keeps saying that two years won’t make a difference…but she doesn’t get it. She already has her life. She has her career, her little family…she’s living her dreams. All I want is to start living mine. Finally. I don’t want to wait another two years. I don’t want to be 30 years old and just starting to live. I mean, sure I’ve done some living…but I don’t feel like I’ve really LIVED, you know? I feel like there’s so much more out there, and I want it all. I want my own life…not living on the shirt-tails of hers. Don’t get me wrong–I love her boys like they were my own, and I love my sister and my family here–but I need to make my own way–as cliché as that sounds. It’s true. I feel like I’ve gotten so used to having a safety net with them–with my sister–and now I want–no, I NEED–to try to make it without it. As crazy as that sounds. It’s not that I don’t want or need them in my life–because I do and always will–but I can’t always have them there to pick me up when I fall. I need to do this. For my sanity, if nothing else. It’s selfish, but honestly, I’ve been through so much sh** over the past few years that I think I deserve to be a little selfish with this. I’ve always done what everyone else wanted…one way or another. I’ve never really done the unexpected. It’s time that changed.
I have to leave. It’s the only way I’m ever going to be truly happy. I just wish I could make my sister and the rest of my family see that. That I could somehow make them understand and see it from my point of view. This is my life. My ONLY life. They’re living theirs, so it’s only fair that I should have the right to live mine–as I see fit–right?