Independence is one thing we want, but can’t always have. Teens want it more than anything in the world, and will do anything to get it. The Merriam Webster online dictionary states independence is “ freedom from outside control and support.” To me, independence means to stand alone and rely on oneself to survive.
Independence isn't always what we want.
When I was twelve, my parents got divorced, No kid knows how to handle that situation at that age. My parents split and so did the houses, the time, and my life.
My brother was sixteen when my parents got divorced. We have different dads, and he had been through this situation already once before me, so he knew how to cope with it. He took me under his wing when I needed him most, but soon abandoned me.
My mom got a new house closer to town. My dad stayed in the old house where I grew up my entire life. We went with mom right away, I didn't see my dad for a while. I never understood depression until I got older and realized what it does to a person. The wear and tear, the Grey blanket wrapped around his shoulders, the gloom, it shows more than most would realize. Mom now being a single parent had to make money to support her boys. On top of her career, she picked up two other bartending jobs just to make ends meet.
My brother was used to moving already because his dad and mom were already split up when he was young. He was sixteen, almost seventeen, and he had plans for himself that didn't include me. Mom was working all the time, so Nick and I took care. He was my brother, father, friend, and enemy all in one. Then he turned seventeen on December 9th, and enrolled into the military on December 11th. He didn't tell me or mom. He showed his independence.
My brother left my life when I was thirteen, packed his bags and was gone. I wondered why he left. Why he did what he did, so I wrote him a letter asking. He replied to my question with honesty; he told me our mother had a drinking problem, was never home, and treated him with no respect, so he moved out. After that note, I started to notice what he was writing.
Nick went through basic training, and AIT, but something happened during this time that screwed him up badly. He came home, but didn't want to be home. Not for mom or me, but no one knew why. Then he got a house in town.
After my Nick left, it was only me. Mom still worked all the time. Dad wasn't around that much. He would try and make an effort, but it wasn't all there. I taught myself how to cook, do my own laundry, do the dishes, get the mail, take care of the house, and all those necessities to live at the age of 13. I perfected these skills by the age of 15.
Nick rented a house here in town with some people I did not approve of. I knew what they were all about, and I didn't want my brother to fall into stuff like that. I couldn't stop what was already happening. My brother got into doing drugs. I don’t know the extent to it, and my mom wasn't stepping in to stop him. All she told me was “ He’s a big boy, he can make his own decisions.”
By the age of fifteen, I was a full grown adult in the eyes of some. My mom and dad especially. I remember sitting on the stairs while my mom was throwing a party, and one of her friends asked how hard it was to raise a young teen, and still work as many jobs as she did. She responded with “ He’s an independent boy, I hardly need to raise him.” She said that, and all I remember wanting to do was to go run away and even see if she would notice.
My brother took his independence early in his life, and it took his life and flipped it. He isn't the same brother I knew before he left. He changed, and not for the better. It all started when he decided to leave and go on his own. Gaining independence when you are that young can be dangerous, and can lead you down the wrong road, which it did.
For most of my teenage life I was alone, or so it felt like. I have some abandonment issues from all that happened, some trust issues too. I fell into a small depression during this time. I handled things on my own.
Independence is a tricky thing to handle. Many aren't ready for it, as I was not ready for it. Independence to most means strong willed, or free. Independence to me means being alone, only relying on myself to survive. Independence shouldn’t about being alone, it should be about freedom with restrictions. Independence is something that turns kids into adults, high school students into college students. Independence changes a person's life. Too soon is bad, too late is even worse. I don't know when we should be independent, I learned young. All I know is Independence is a tricky, scary, mind altering state that changes life as we know it.
I was not ready for it, but I did have some good come out of it all. I became more self reliant through all of this. I feel as though I am more ready for what life has to offer, and all its challenges. I know I am going to use my experience to hopefully one day be a better father. To be around, and help them out so they don’t have to teach themselves to cook, or do laundry. Maybe my negative situation had some positives too.