This year is my second year since I moved out of the house where I grew up in. Ever since that day I packed my stuff and moved in to my first crummy little kostan room with non-en-suite bathroom, I stopped calling that house my house. I now simply call it my parents’ house.
I don’t really understand why this slight change in the sense of possession of that house occurred. I should’ve realized it earlier because technically that house is, and has always been, my mother’s. My brother and I (and to an extent, my father) were basically just a bunch of freeloaders.
When I told people that I moved out of my parents’ house, most of them gave me a wry, condescending smile. Some told me that moving out should happen after you’re married and it should be your husband taking you out of that house and put you in another. Some of them told me that instead of spending my money on paying the rent, I should stay and save to buy the house of my own.
Some said: “susah kok dicari?”
Actually, the last one was my mother’s saying.
I understand why I got a lot of such uninspired comments: I’m still living in the same city as my parents and their house is only 6 miles away (30-minute drive) from my place. Besides, it’s not common in our culture for a single woman to move out of her parents’ house and live independently by her own means unless there’s a condition like having a job in another city.
The only thing I could do to respond to those people and their comments is giving them a shrug and, of course, zero fuck.
It’s my life to wreck, you self-righteous bitches.
Of course I don’t tell them that. Something else I don’t tell them is the fact that I don’t really have many happy memories in that house or with its residents. It’s always been the issue with young adults who are inclined to leave their parents’ house.
I had always been dreaming about moving out of it since I was a kid. I remember when I was ten or eleven, I once made an attempt to run away because I didn’t want to wear the dress my mother bought me.
Even then I knew I was different and eventually there came a time when I realized that this house would never ever accept me for what I really am. I had to put up with its inhabitants for so long (and the other way around obviously).
When I finally got my first real job and was quite sure that I was financially independent, I took a leap of faith and fled the nest.
But I gotta say, it’s not easy living on your own, especially if you’re a twenty-something millennial with a low pay job.
When your friends go out having coffee in a hip cafe, you’re thinking about what to eat for dinner. When your friends post holiday pictures on the Instagram, you’re thinking about how to pay bills and rent and make it to the next pay day.
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Now, I’m not complaining, alright. I’ve never been happier in my life. It’s my choice and I’d rather live in a cramped room than live in lies.
To some people, living with parents affords the luxury of having not to worry about bills or rent. The other perks is that you have the chance to save. In return, you have to be a nice, good kid, a kind of mirror that reflects the self-image your parents want to see.
And there is where my problem lies: I can never be such a kid. Ever. So I ran away. Yeah, in a way.
See, most kids regard their parents as their role models, an example of what they should be when they grow up. They inherit values and practices from their parents and will likely pass them on to their own kids in the future.
That’s not the case with me. I don’t have as my birthright what Rebecca Solnit calls “an adequate or at least unquestioned sense of self.” My moving out of my parents’ house is an act of reinventing myself, finding my own ground, exploring the terra incognita beyond the circle of my comfort zone. And maybe also a little bit of rebellion against my parents’ values and their expectation of me.
People might think that I’m an ungrateful brat, a deviant. But being biologically related doesn’t always guarantee love. And there are asshole parents out there oblivious of their own shortcomings.
And of course, yes, I’m an asshole kid too. No doubt about that.
Yet still, I respect my parents and that’s the best I can do as a child. I try to be on my best behavior when I’m around them (that’s why holiday seasons are the hardest). I’m only doing it to honor the time they fed me, clothed me, bathed me, wiped my barf off my face when I was still a wee baby. Not to mention their utmost generosity to get me proper education. I really admire what they did.
So yeah, I moved out of my parents house. But not out of their lives I ain’t. Well at least not yet (I have yet to come out). In fact, my relationship with them gets better over time I’m away from them. And even though I don’t live in that house anymore, I somehow still call it home.
Featured image courtesy of Elizabeth Lies via Unsplash.