When I was a child I thought my mother's teeth were perfect. They were clean, white, big, and even. I used to sit and look up at her face waiting for her to open her mouth so that I could see her teeth. They were magnificent pillars. My childhood ivory towers. I wasn't until I was much older that I could see their falsity. The glue at the top from when they were knocked out in an adolescent car accident. The fillings in the back. They were no longer my magnificent pillars, they were teeth. Stained, aged, and just like everyone else's and even mine, imperfect. But when you're young everything about your mother is amazing and wonderful, it's when you grow up you realize that she's human too.
The worst part of being an adult is growing up to realize that the things that you thought were perfect aren't and that even the people you trust the most don't have clean hands. That you, as much as you hoped for yourself find that your hands are dirty too.
When you're a child you don't have a filter, there's a urgent honesty to blirt out whatever it is that you see, "ewww, that's nasty" , "I don't like broccoli" and "you're mean", but those things don't stick. Five minutes later, that girl who you called mean on the playground is your best friend. When your an adult, the stakes are higher, the situations are bigger, and there is no forgetting. Things stay longer than breath on glass, they are embedded in the memory, and they walk around with us.
This is my greatest struggle as an adult. How do I reconcile the positions that people have in my life, and their prestige of those positions while still knowing that they aren't always good? I've tried compartmentalizing, "they're just bad with money", but it's hard when that deficit creeps into lying, stealing, and irresponsibility. How do you explain how deeply it changed how you view them, and how can you begin to explain how to mend the relationship?
What do you even say? How do you tell your grandmother that she's being messy? How do you call your mother a liar? Even if that's who or what they are, they raised you. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around it all. What is the lesson here? Who's job is it to say something? I don't feel as if it's mine. Why haven't they?
My friend was telling me about a couple who were near to her heart getting a divorce, and the first question that popped into my mind was how do you get there? Is it immediate, one huge event? Is it a snowball, one thing after another piled on top? The more I think about it, the more I understand how it could happen. I understand that it's both. There's always something big that makes you think more critically, the snowball isn't a problem until it takes out the house. Those jabs aren't a problem until something else makes them one. It's that I should of seen it coming, 20/20 hindsight. But how much of love is just plain willful ignorance, really?
I know my hands aren't clean, but I've tried to keep my heart pure and not do things out of spite, or to be ugly. It's extremely hard because sometimes you can't express how much you feel, and the inclination is to get their attention by making them feel the same kind of hurt. I'm trying not to do that. Trying.