Your Mistakes are not just Your Mistakes

We all have our stories. We all have experienced pain and heartbreak on different scales. And as life goes on, it starts to become more and more obvious that our parents have a lot to do with those things mentioned. It seems that we as humans, tend to carry the shortcomings of our parents on our shoulders.

We absorb their faults, and their mistakes have a way of molding us into the person we become. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes forget that moms and dads are people, not just parents. They are just like the rest of us, and as humans we have a tendency to make a lot of mistakes. We forget that our parents had parents and they made mistakes too. The imperfections of a mother and/or father are encoded into our DNA; their past become our future. My point is that it’s all connected, and the older I get, the more I start to realize how fragile this life really is.

People joke about it all the time. I mean that girl gets around cause she has daddy issues, right? Or he’s angry all the time because his dad left him and his mom, right? You see, it’s one screw up passed onto the next. Our lives and our choices are just pieces in one big game of dominos, and believe me, I have already begun to feel the weight of my parents flaws.   

My mother grew up with an alcoholic for a father and a mother to cowardly to do anything about him. My father was raised by parents who valued a peaceful home over actual conversations and genuine relationships. They both grew up carrying around the open wounds of their upbringing, but eventually found each other. They were married five years later and soon after started their little family of six.

They chose to raise my brothers and I on the foundation of the Bible and Christian faith. I was taught every command and every verse, but special emphasis was placed on the sacredness of marriage. I was taught that abstinence before marriage was required and divorce was never an option. My parents spent a lot of time drilling these principles into our heads, but never actually exemplified what this “true love” was supposed to look like. As I got older, I began to take notice of the way my parents interacted, and soon realized that their relationship was nothing close to what I imagined love would look like.   

My perception of love and marriage has been skewed by my parents relationship. For, the only things I could associate with the word love was the sound of slamming doors and awkward dinner conversations. You see, I have lived my whole life with two parents who swear by marriage’s promise of “forever” but in reality; they are just a man and a woman living in the same house, but might as well be divorced. They claim to stay true to God’s word and never give up on their marriage, but I can’t remember the last time they had an actual conversation, or a time where they even slept in the same room.

So is that all love and marriage is? A title? My parents made it seem like as long as you live together and have a marriage license, then you’re good to go. They claimed they were staying true to God’s word, that they hadn’t given up on their marriage. The truth is though, they gave up a long time ago. They stopped talking, they stopped listening, they stopped working to fix the problems, and most importantly they stopped choosing to love.

As an eighteen year old girl I am summoned to the hallowed hallways of high school and have heard the word “love” tossed around more times than you could count. I hear those words exchanged all the time, but truthfully, these couples never seem to actually get the happily ever after.

Yes, my view on marriage and love is cynical, and everyday I struggle to make sense of what love even is. The idea of marriage makes me cringe. I continuously pull away from my parents because I resent them, and the impression their marriage has left on me. But everyday I work to fight against the mistakes they have made. I fight to prevent their marriage from defining my future, because if I find myself with a daughter of my own one day, I hope to protect her from my parents’ mistakes.

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