Keep in mind that me and my mother have an unusually good relationship. We’re closer than most parents with kids in their early-twenties. We’ve had our issues in the past, but for the most part we get along and function really well. But as much as I love her, we still have our issues from time to time. And when we do, they’re kind of massive.
So I think my mother might be passive-aggressively wanting me to forgo grad school plans. As it stands now, I won’t be in school next semester— I’ll only be working, saving up money, and doing all my grad school applications. The semester after that I’ll actually be in grad school.
My mother thinks that it’s going to cost her money to put me through grad school. If I can apply and gain an assistantship (which I’m pretty sure I can) my entire grad school tuition will be paid for. My person life stuff (rent. groceries, gas) I’m almost positive I can handle on my own. So the dream plan right now is that all of that will happen and it’ll be (mostly) easy sailing.
But she doesn’t see it that way. I think part of it is the fact that she sees grad school as unnecessary and frivolous. She just wants me to be able to get a job as soon as possible. Not because she wants me out of her hair— I understand that— but because she worries about me and my future and she wants me to be able to be stable and have a good life. But she also knows that I want to go to grad school. She knows that I am made for grad school. She knows that I can reach my full potential in grad school. I’m not meant to stop at a bachelor’s degree— I’m graduating in May and I’m not even excited or proud of it. I’m just…impatiently waiting for that next step.
Honestly, I would be happy running the comic book shop. If there were ever the chance that I could run a separate shop in another city, I would do it in a heartbeat. And I’d love it. But to my mother, that’s not a “legitimate career.” It’s a job. And I’m still that kid who wants to please her mother above everything else. I couldn’t bear thinking that I’ve disappointed her by going to college and then doing nothing with my degree.
I’ve never failed in my life. Ever. That’s part of the reason she’s hard on me. Because that’s all either of us have ever known. I don’t know how to handle failure and I know for a fact that she wouldn’t know how to handle my failure. She does not know how to have a less than perfect child. And that scares me sometimes.
I’ve talked to her about it but when I do she just tells me, “Do what you want to do, baby” but will then launch into how she’s having trouble paying everything already because of my dad’s hospital bills, my grandparents’ land taxes, and everything else. It’s basically, to me, saying, “You can do this if you want but it’s going to kill me, financially.” I don’t want to use the word, “guilt trip,” but that feels like it’s exactly what it is.
I love my mother. I really, really do. I make her sound like a horrible person but she’s not. I understand that she’s heavily burdened right now with all of our financial troubles. I understand that and I try to do my best to help out and sacrifice. But I don’t want to sacrifice my future and my dreams because of this. And I feel selfish and useless because I won’t do the “grown-up thing” and put all of that away to do what’s right.
It’s like that Peter Pan quote: “We put our dreams away in a drawer. And sometimes late at night we take them out and admire them” I don’t want that to be me.
I don’t know what I should do. I could start applying for jobs and hope that something comes along. Worse case scenario, I turn it down to go to grad school. But I just really don’t know.
So any thoughts? I’m always up for advice on how to handle pretty much anything.