It has been a harsh reality note of my upbringing to have something I was encouraged to do- talk- be mocked and the family joke point when I started to overcompensate in my turn to talk by speeding up. I can not recall a time when that was not the first to only statement made about my speech.
I don’t think the conversation ever returned to what I said.
By the time I accepted that having a turn to speak would return to me, I had accepted that my interest could not be shared with the select family members around me- they are not reading the same books and the time to build a book report is more doing my homework than this desired chat. I do not miss the pained looks and mocking conversations that would have filled the otherwise quiet as everyone added an insult to the frame of listening to me.
To have my conversation met with laughter pulled me to the ‘child’s place’ I shared with the other children in my family. I began to embrace the kindness of a quiet corner to access what conversation was and be met with laughter. I stopped enjoying contributing to a conversation as a result. As long as the space met hygiene standards of ‘cleaned up’, it was my place to enjoy an author’s interpretation of teen relationships with a nodding acquaintance with adults stabilizing the safe to inhabit spaces off camera.
I do not look at the tight interactions of my family as anything out of normal when the reason for my birth was not planned for or a daily joy to provide for. Their rages about having kids around tinged their patient interactions with us with a veneer of angst. I did not long to be a kid anymore did I longed to be a parent. That is the pivot point of my deviation and insular development alongside my generation as the need to rely on a hosting family member to be the breadwinner.
I do not regret noting that the need for a man would always accompany a wistful look at a wall when brought up among the adults. To consider that gaze of a partner in a romantic state be remarked on than attending church or being a part of a neighborhood, I see the allure of man to be a shared point of centering for the homosapiens whose chemical balance is testosterone-dominant. Watching the males be raised in this wistful wish of a man to educate the males of what it means to engage with a woman, I knew that the allure of romance awoken a need for man.
My hosting family member had regulated engagements with Black males and could not proffer her son the notes of a man when the birth of her children was too close to an open parent adoption creed of the condom less access to sex. Seeing the frustration of malignant students, I dared not entertain a teen rebellion of sexual acquisition when the act was peppered with the potential of birth, a forced engagement with a male that no longer wanted to assist with raising a kid the way he may not want to clean his room or the treatable realm of STIs when an STD would landmine that consideration.
I did not approach this recipe of adult training tools as something I would enjoy. I abhorred the need to respond to a period when the need meant $8 to my personal budget asks. I do not watch the rush to 18 with anything but the paroled time when legal access to the adult budget would need more than the law and social guidelines of child-rearing permitting me to have access to housing, food, and a line of credit.
It is hard to note that I should have recalled the repeat of that chant as the family creed. When COVID put the office clerk work that kept me a working professional into the hands of my beloved bcus, I treaded on the veneer of family hopes over the knowns- upon the age of gradation, there is no family home.