As I looked down the long aisles of the grocery store, I felt a sense of exhilaration which I hadn’t expected.
For the first time in my life, I could buy any food I wanted. My father would never know. He would never be able to lecture me about it.
I felt giddy. I felt like a rebel. It was an emotional high that felt like dangerous freedom.
I had just moved to Tuscaloosa to start college at the University of Alabama. I was living completely on my own for the first time in my life. I didn’t realize exactly how controlled I had felt until the moment when there were suddenly no controls on me.
For many years, I associated parenting with oppressive control, because that’s the parenting I experienced. (My mother wasn’t around, so all my parenting was from my father.) I was trained to be an obedient robot. I eventually came to understand that wasn’t the healthy way to raise children, but it’s taken me longer to start understanding some of the things that are missing in me because of the unhealthy parenting I received.
At long last, I’ve realized I still need some parenting — and the only thing I can count on is “reparenting” myself.