Parental Dissonance V

“Pursuit of Happiness?” by Neka Barrera

“You’ve decided to live your life a certain way. You’re an adult (maybe) and have chosen your way to be, your pursuit of happiness. Your parents are either super supportive, or… Less than. You may not see eye to eye. How has it affected you? Do you feel guilt? Anger? Resentment? Contentment?”

I’ve chosen my pursuit of happiness?
Oh, please! Even if the pursuit of happiness fell directly
into my lap
disturbing my nap under a rare tree called
“Here’s Your Fucking Pursuit of Happiness, You Lazy Sad Girl, Stop Napping Plantae”
I still would not be able to grasp on tightly enough before it flew away

Both she and her parents approved wholeheartedly of the pursuit of happiness they directed her towards when she was an uninhibited and wild little kid: artist, musician: performer [sometimes conceited]. From 6 to 18, 12 years, her pursuit of happiness revolved around sound and print: guitar, viola performances, story writing, writing, writing, writing. “I’ve read your writing, why aren’t you making a living out of that? Out of your imagination, out of your fingertips?” dad asked her 22-year-old version. Confident 9-year-old version would have responded with “Yuh-duh, that’s what I’m already doing!” 22-year-old version’s hippocampus is muddled stunted and wired as she is unable to react to this statement because she knows it isn’t true:

She does not hold the power of an imaginative and unafraid fourth grader anymore as failure after failure have compiled into a pile as large as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

She neglected to continue these attempted pursuits of creative/ rock n’ roll happiness due to perpetual and increasing anxiety, irrational and crippling fear of judgment.
Seeing eye-to-eye with her parents and failing to meet the expectations of what they wanted for her might hurt more than if she was living her life in a way she felt ideal that her parents disagreed with, and she is still farrrrrr (far)! from ideal. She almost produced what they wanted, what she wanted, but the production got scrambled and lost in scurrying nerves that couldn’t stay focused on a goal, going awry at the thought of defeat, giving up before said defeat manifested into itself.

Note: The author has a collection of writings hidden under her bed. People are welcome to break into her apartment and read them if they are so inclined.

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