When I was a kid, Daddy was in a bad mood a lot. Whenever he would get annoyed at my sister or me, he would take deep breaths, exhaling loudly. It was extremely disconcerting, not to mention annoying.
So, when in college, I found myself echoing those same loud, deep breaths when stressed out, I was afraid I was becoming my dad.
But I learned quickly during my short time in therapy that I’m not destined or doomed to become my father, or my mother, or anyone else. I am in control.
Then, last week, I talked to my grandparents on the phone.
Nana: So, how’s living at your dad’s house?
Me: It’s okay. I wish I had more time to clean, but I work all the time, and when I’m not working I’m really busy with this improv class, and writing, and other projects.
Grandpa: I thought your dad was cleaning up the house. What happened? He just stopped?
Me: Well, it’s not that. He works so many hours and commutes so much. And when he’s not working, he’s really busy with this class that he’s taking at Juilliard so he spends all his time composing.
And then my brain connected the dots. “Oh, I guess he’s like me in that way. No wait, I guess I’m like him.” Yup.
When did this happen? I was going to be a fast-track business lady like my mom. When did I become a careless artist? Maybe I was always like this.
But, I’ve seen enough movies, TV shows, and even this week’s ASSSSCAT show, where one character dramatically assures the other:
“You’re not your father! You are not your father!”
With that in mind, I need to keep believing that I can pursue my creative goals but also control my life and my space. Maybe cleaning doesn’t come naturally to me, but I learned to breathe like a normal person and I can nail this too.