Growing Pains

Santi Gill


As a kid, growing up, as a kid does when growing up, there were many times when I would mess up, forget, or misunderstand something. Now obviously it’s common to do these things as a kid, but usually it’s the job of the parents to correct them in a way that they understand what they did wrong, and to make sure they know what to do to not let it happen again. My parents didn’t really understand that too much, which is why I almost never take myself too seriously, for better or worse. This is not to say I do not respect or have confidence in myself, I do, I just don’t see the reason why they would get so mad when they did. My parents each have their own mental issues on their own, so when they were together it was double the nonsense.

The earliest instance I can remember is around 2010-2011 when I was 11 or 12. Having just drank through three of them my dad told me to throw out the water bottles. Now the “system” we had of recycling bottles in the house was to throw the cap out, rinse the bottle, and put it in the blue bag. So I went to the kitchen, and took off the cap. It was water, so I felt no need to rinse the bottle with something that was already on it. You wouldn’t rinse yourself in the shower by adding more soap, unless you want a longer shower. Yet my dad still yelled at me to rinse the bottle. I tried to explain to him that it was redundant by doing that, to no avail. Lesson learned: nothing.

Then came school assignments. My parents were ludicrously hard on us about doing good in school, in the worst way possible. They were always pressuring me to do better, and I was never really good at math. I recall getting yelled at for not understanding how to subtract properly. This never did any good for me. It only frustrated me to wanting to do better, and feeling bad for myself when I didn’t do better, which would then lead to parents taking away things, like my phone, or the computer.  We also weren’t allowed to play video games on weekdays, which made no sense to me. All “immature-wanting to play a video game-I’d never be able to focus” tendencies aside, when I’m done with what I have to do, why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy myself afterwards? It only ever felt like a punishment. But all of this manifested in 2012 when they divorced.

My parents were kind of religious. Not too much, but enough where you had to take God seriously in the house or you might get struck by lightning or something. With this, I know divorce can never happen to us, because it would be a sin. Yeah, no, it did. It was November 2012, before Thanksgiving. I forget where we were coming back from, but regardless it was me, my dad,  my little brother and my little sister in the car. It was pretty cold, we all were bundled up with our puffy jackets that made us look out of shape. My dad was talking about putting up a tree, while we were trying to tell him it’s too early to do that. We pulled up to the house, and we see some guy speaking to my mom at the door. My dad walks in and the guy tries to hand him a piece of paper, while my dad ignores him and heads inside. I take the paper, and I read that it says “DIVORCE”. Obviously there was more on the paper than just that one word, but that was all I needed to see. Obviously I could see why it got to that point, they weren’t good together, which can be a story of its own. However, this situation mattered because everything felt turned against me, and events afterwards during the divorce process would double down on that feeling. My mom’s treatment to my dad was disgusting, and at the same time, I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to know, help, or understand how my Dad felt. This made going into high school hard, as I had to associate with new people, at the same time dealing with what was going on at home. One of the ways I was able to deal with all this was humor. Being around all that negativity is probably what gave me a dark sense of humor, but this allowed me to find the humor in many things. Obviously not everything though, otherwise I would be a psychopath. I realized that balance is necessary between work and fun.

However you find it, if you don’t find a way to have fun with what you’re doing, you will never feel happy. I love learning, and it is fun, but being yelled at to learn, or to do something, is not. Maybe I could’ve done things differently, I do regret not being social enough during this time, having someone to talk to probably would’ve helped, but nonetheless, I am who I am today because of it. I try to find happiness in the dark times, because if you don’t you will be lost.

Santi, see my marginal comments HERE.

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