Don’t freak out.
What did my parents say? “We hope you have a daughter just like you.” Guess what, it’s happened. And now I get to deal with the same stuff they freaked out on me about, but try to do it in a way that won’t cause her to rebel and get worse.
Like I did.
I was 17 when I met him. He was charming, thought I was beautiful, and made me feel like I was on top of the world. He was so much more than the boys I went to school with. In my eyes, he was the boy who became my pedestal, lifting me up in ways I’d never experienced. In my dad’s eyes, he was trouble. If I wasn’t sure of it before, it became incredibly abundant when my father stood outside his house ready to fight this 18 year old kid to save the innocence of his daughter.
But dad, that ship had sailed long before.
The hatred that ensued only made me fall deeper into this boy’s arms. I snuck out at night to see him. I skipped school to be with him. I talked on the phone with him till the early hours of the morning. I visited him every chance I had and revolved my whole world around him. And when he was kicked out of his parents house and found himself with no place to live, I snuck him into my room – as if I could really hide him like bringing a pet home.
My parents found out, of course. At this point, the power struggles were getting exhausted. But guess who had more resolve? Me, the teenager. And I was going to fight till the end. My parents must have sensed this because they did the exact thing I never expected – they let him move in. There were rules, of course. And we stuck to them for about a day. And then we were having sex all the time under my parents’ roof almost as if we had their permission. If my dad suspected anything, he kept tight lipped and furrow browed about it. And this boy lived with us until the day after graduation.
Around this time my parents gave me a proposition. I could go to college, anywhere I wanted, and they would pay for the whole thing. However, if I moved in with him, I would forgo any money for college and would be on my own.
I was a smart girl. I had aspirations to be a writer. For years I actually had thought about where I wanted to go, and had it all picked out. A deal like this doesn’t come just anytime.
And of course, I chose the boy.
Fast forward to a one-bedroom apartment, too many cigarettes, strange people coming and going, thrown on the floor and kicked around, pot and alcohol flowing, never having any money, a diet of Top Raman, his disappearance for days, girls claiming to be his girlfriend, a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from, being unable to reach out to my family who no longer knew what to do….
And all because I felt the need to win this power struggle.
So don’t freak out. Talk to her. And then, just listen.