The last day of my freshman year, my mom picked me up. We were driving to SFO, and she said, I have to tell you something. Your dad's leaving me.
It was a whole protracted back-and-forth. My dad ended up coming back three times, and had an affair for quite a while that he lied about.
There were a lot of tricky parts. One was, I don't idolize my parents, I know they're flawed, I've known they're flawed for a while, we all have a lot of issues. But I think for my dad, I don't know if he's not only flawed, but an actively bad human or not. It wasn't 'Are you perfect?' it was 'Are you bad?' Which I honestly still don't know.
He's a narcissist, which is a disorder, but he does love his kids. He's always been a present father.
Looking back, there were a lot of not great things, but there were a lot of good things. For example, I think I'm very opinionated because of him. He always made sure that my opinion was not just valued, but wanted, which I'm very grateful for. Not a lot of people, particularly women, have that.
Anyway, I digress.
I didn't talk to him for a year. That summer after freshman year, I lived at home. I don't think she realized, but my mom relied on me a lot. Twenty-eight years of marriage, she gave up her job for him... yeah, I'd be really upset too.
My sisters were living in New York. They're better at separating themselves from this, and me being the one at home, it was a lot of.... comforting of my mom. Which I'm really happy to do. But it's particularly hard when it's something that affects you so deeply, as well.
The year after -- sophomore year -- was an overall shit-storm. Freshman year, we were all just bopping around. But sophomore slump is like, what am I doing? I'm someone who needs to feel meaning in my life and feel purpose. Nothing felt like it had meaning. I felt like I was just floating.
That being said, something that struck me was how much I rely on my friends. That's when Haley* and I became very close. Haley is also an emotional shitshow. Every day, we'd call each other and be emotional messes together. We were just a lot. Like I almost didn't turn in my finals at the end of fall quarter because, yeah, I was pretty depressed.
But it propelled me to assess what I cared about, and what made me happy.
In the grand scheme of things, I'm an incredibly lucky human and I recognize that. If the worst thing that ever happens to me is that my parents get divorced, then I'm lucky.
I do think that it was a good thing. Both my parents are really happy now. I wasn't very happy in high school for a lot of reasons, and I think a part of it was that my parents were very intense -- and a large part of that was the fact they're marriage was failing, and they inadvertently took that out on me. So I'm so much happier being my own person now, too. Yeah, man, I'm so much happier now.
I'd say I go from steadily surviving -- that's my range. I say that I'm 'foundationally good.' I use this term a lot. Yeah, I don't know what I'm doing next year, but I'm okay. I feel there are a lot of things that give me joy in this world, and that hasn't always been the case.
I told you that I got a tattoo, right?
It says -- 'Feet what do I need you for / when I've got wings to fly.'
It's a Frida Kahlo quote. I got it September 1st and I'm really happy about it. For me, Frida Kahlo embodies a lot of things that I really respect.
At face value, it's like, flying away... free spirit... which is true. But it's more. 'When I've got wings to fly' sort of speaks to the fact that I have the power to dictate my own life. I have the power to make myself happy and fulfilled.