I was so excited. You took me to a restaurant with you. A fancy restaurant. You said that I was a big kid now. You said I am able to handle things that I wasn’t able to when I was little. I was so excited. Then you told me to stop. Stop doing that. Stop running around. Stop fidgeting. Stop playing with your food. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop being yourself. You told me to stop because when you looked around, you saw everyone looking at you, judging you.
When I look around, all I see is you. You’re the only voice that I care about. You’re the only face that I care about. You’re the only one with any judgment that can hurt me. And you can hurt me so deeply that it stays for life. When I stop running, when I stop fidgeting, when I stop playing, when I stop being myself, when I start caring about everyone’s opinion- you taught me that.
I want to be your perfect kid. I want you to love every inch of me. I want you to be proud of me. I also want you to love me for me, not some fantasy in your head. I want you to see who I am sitting in front of you, not your worst nightmare that might come to pass. I want you to see how cool it is when I build a volcano out of potatoes. I did it to impress you. I want you to run with me and giggle with me as I spin until I’m so dizzy that I fall down. I want to make memories with you, good ones that last a lifetime.
Mom, Dad, stop looking around and look at me. I take in every word you say. I remember how you make me feel. I don’t think about the person at the table next to me and what they are feeling. I only think about your thoughts.
Remember when you said the kids at school might laugh if I wore too bright of a color to school? I didn’t care, but you did. So I stopped wearing bright colors. Remember when you said people might laugh if I said the wrong thing. I didn’t care, but you did. So, I stopped talking so much and so loud. I am afraid to ask questions. I am afraid to try new things. I am afraid that people won’t like who I am. Do you like who I am? Mom, Dad, if you don’t like me- how could the rest of the world?
I was so excited. You took me to a restaurant. A fancy restaurant. You said I was a big kid now. You said I am able to handle things that I wasn’t able to when I was little. I want to be able to handle being confident. I want to be able to handle judgment. I want to be able to handle being a kid. I want to be able to handle being your kid.
I was so excited. Next time, I don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant. Next time, I don’t want to be able to handle the things that I am not able to handle now. I like who I am. Stop telling me to stop.