We Make Ourselves better Than Our Parents

by | Issue #4, Issues

We make ourselves better than our parents. 
We grow up and leave home. 
We go far away and try to find the places where our parents have never been, and do the things our parents have never done. 
We travel to countries they never travelled to, and learn languages whose words never passed their lips. 
We call them from these far-away places and tell them how much we have escaped their hands, those hands desperate to clasp us to their chests. 
We taunt them. 
We laugh at them, 
             even if we do not mean to. 
We dance in the big world outside of their clasping hands and say, 
             ‘isn’t this what you wanted for me? To be strong and independent and free?
             Then what right do you have to still claim me as yours?’. 
We make ourselves more educated, more fashionable, more open-minded. We improve upon what they gave us, and congratulate ourselves for doing so. 

And we believe this is as it should be. 
We believe we are better than our parents, and that we have made ourselves so. 

And then one day, we look in the mirror. 
             A shimmer of something on our left cheek, a quarter of an inch above and to the left of
             the turned up corner of our lip. 
We run our finger over it. 
It is a hair, translucent blond, an eighth of an inch long, and thicker than the peach fuzz covering our cheeks. 
We grip it between our thumbnail and forefinger, and with a sharp motion, rip it out. We run our finger over the empty spot where it used to be, where all that remains is a sting. We think of our mother. 
             Because she has a hair that grows that in that exact same spot. 
             A shimmer of our parents. 
We would notice it before she did. 
             Seven years old and a silver sliver catching the sunlight on her cheek a quarter of an inch above and to the left of the turned up corner of her lip, and it would embarrass us. We would point it out, and pluck it off. 
We would think her old and hairy and unkempt. 
             And now, two months later, 
we look in the mirror and pluck out the same hair, 
             and now two months later 
we look in the mirror and pluck out the same hair, 
             and now two decades later
             our own child looks at us, and points it out and plucks out the same hair, and thinks us
             old and hairy and unkempt, and goes into the world to find places we never went and
             learn languages whose words never passed our lips and taunt our hands which strive to
             grasp them back to our chests, and makes themselves more educated, more
             fashionable, better than we are. 
And we are not better than our parents.

Melissa (she/her) is young (i.e. 23), exquisitely in love with life, and learning how to be stupider and more naive. She moves a lot but spends most of her time in London. You can follow her on Twitter @Meli_Owens or on Instagram as JumpBigandBrave.