I\’ve been needing to get this off my chest for a while. If you read it, thank you for \’listening.\’
Thank you, mom and dad, for all of your wonderful support throughout the years.
I liked the time when I was 20 and you told me you couldn\’t financially afford to assist with the surgery or physical therapy I needed; two weeks later you bought a Lexus SUV and a Lexus town car. But it was okay — I understood. Your luxury was well deserved even while I, your eldest daughter, lived in a room with a bucket on the floor to catch the water from the leaking pipes above. Nevermind that you owned that house, and nevermind that I developed chronic bronchitis from the mold that lived in those water soaked walls. Your status and comfort after twenty years of parenting are more important than, say, your daughter\’s waning health.
But make no mistake, mom and dad, I can forgive you even for all the above. Oh, sure, you used to present me with a tally of all the money you had spent on my medical bills, and sure, you would emphasize how the bill was ever growing, but I can look beyond all that. I can, and I do.
My favorite part of the experience of my life as your dependent, o parents of mine, is the part where I became disabled at age 13. When the pediatrician said it was \”just growing pains,\” and that I \”would grow out of it,\” even though he couldn\’t get the infections to clear up, and even though he couldn\’t explain what was causing the excruciating pain, blackouts, and fever, even though he couldn\’t stop the menstrual bleeding after 40 days, you didn\’t seek a second opinion. You took him for his word. When I begged, pleaded, and even attempted self-harming out of desperation in an attempt to see any other doctor, you said I was just having mood swings; making things up; a hypochondriac; a liar; and you would even take me to buy me records in an attempt to buy my happiness.
You didn\’t listen to me, mom and dad, because clearly a child is not to be believed. Clearly, a child is only manipulative and attention seeking. After a while, I gave up trying to convince you. You had me convinced that I was wrong and that it was all in my head. Isn\’t that a nifty trick? Don\’t I wish I could learn how to do that! To confuse someone to the point where they think physical manifestations are solely a result of somatic delusion. Wouldn\’t that be a wonder! I could be the next Houdini, and trap myself in a box full of your demons.
But I won\’t. No, I won\’t. Because by a freak scheduling accident one day at age 20, I saw a doctor who dismissed all the old theories and gave me the only one that really made sense: I really am a gimp, and it\’s in my body, not just my mind. It\’s neurological. It\’s endocrinal. It\’s immunological. It\’s musculoskeletal. It\’s gynecological. It\’s cardiovascular. It\’s respiratory. It\’s anything but psychosomatic. I\’ve been living like this for over ten years now, and spent the first seven of those years trying to be the fully functioning offspring that you wanted. It didn\’t work. I couldn\’t stay in school. I couldn\’t hold down a job. I racked up thousands of dollars in debt and medical expenses per year (finally getting it all dismissed by bankruptcy after getting my diagnoses confirmed at age 21).
What I really love about my childhood, though, is that thanks to you, mom and dad, I have quite an adult life to look forward to. Now I\’m 24 — the big age of responsibility! My peers are finished with their college degrees and are settling into grad school, traveling, starting their careers, saving up money — all those great adult things that people do. I got my GED with difficulty and have six college credits to my name so far. I still can\’t hold down any job. I don\’t own any property. I consider it a good day when I have enough stamina to brush my teeth in the morning and at night. I live on charity, goodwill, welfare, \’in-kind support,\’ and the generosity of friends. Prognosis for the future is much the same until modern medicine makes some drastic advances.
It didn\’t have to be this way, though. My dear mom and dad, I know you wanted me to be a strong and independent woman, just like mom, who hasn\’t worked herself in about seven years. I know you wanted me to overcome all obstacles, not feel sorry for myself, and especially to not mooch off of you any longer than was legally necessary. Well thank heavens, I turned out just how you wanted, right? Aren\’t I making you proud now?
You could have filed for disability for me when I was a minor. Then I could have received Medicare and adequate health care. Then you wouldn\’t have put out upwards of $150,000 in medical expenses for me out of your own pocket. I wouldn\’t have developed a life threatening pneumonia due to not being able to afford to visit a doctor. I would have had a doctor spot the deterioration in my spine before it reached the point beyond no return. But… you didn\’t file while I was a minor. Due to laws in US Social Security, I cannot qualify for disability now because I haven\’t worked enough hours, even though I\’ve been disabled since I was a minor.
You fucked me for life, mom and dad. Until science develops a dozen new pertinent miracles, I\’m a home-bound disaster area. But! But! It\’s okay, really, because I know that you\’re happy. Your cars still work, and when gas prices get too high you will just trade them in for fuel-efficient vehicles. Much more cost-effective that way. You couldn\’t do that with your daughter, I know… so you just dumped me off on the government\’s dime. I can live on the citizen\’s tax dollars! Now there\’s a solution more satisfying to your capitalist beliefs. You go move into your new three-floor McMansion next year, just the two of you and the dog, while I try to make the $485/month + utilities rent on a studio apartment in a bad neighborhood out of my $579/month welfare check in a metropolitan region where the yearly cost of living for a single able-bodied person is $28,000.
It\’s all okay, though, really. I\’m going to be living independently. With every cent that trickles my way out of the national Social Security fund, I smile a little smile because I know it\’s coming out of your retirement funds. So don\’t you worry about my broken and diseased ass any more, mom and dad; I know you won\’t, anyway.
Cross-posted to .