I’ve been standing in line so long
I’ve been wondering what went wrong
I’ve been weighing the shape of things to come
— Steve Taylor, “Waiting in Line”
All my life, I’ve been waiting for permission. I’ve raised my hand. I’ve waited until I was called on. I eagerly sought approval from whoever was in charge.
At home, I needed my father’s permission to do anything. My world was tightly controlled. I couldn’t even arrange my own drawers or closet as I pleased. He gave me rigid instructions for those things.
At school, I was quiet and didn’t cause problems. I did what I was told, for the most part. I never defied instructions. I learned whatever was placed in front of me, whether it interested me or not. I dutifully spit the information back out on tests. And I waited for the teacher’s approval as proof that I was a good boy.
I’ve recently realized that I’m still waiting for permission, long after I thought I had rebelled and broken free of that programming. I’ve been so proud of being a rebel and not doing things the conventional way. I thought I was free of all that.
But I realize now that I’m still sitting here waiting — for some unknown someone to give me permission to do what I need to do and be the person I’ve always wanted to be.