Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 3:25:11 AM
I always convinced myself everything was perfect. I obsessed over getting straight A’s, pushed extremely hard at track practice, and forced myself to believe that my parents were an amazing couple. Every night as I turned off the light, I would whisper, “Thank you God for the best life in the world.”
This past school year, everything changed; my parents got divorced. Without the backbone of my parents to turn to, I took over the role of caretaker of my family. I breathed in the pain of my parents and my two sisters as we went through this tumultuous time of rearranging the puzzle. Soon, I found myself exhaling this pain into the other aspects of my life. I was turning down Friday night plans because I felt too depressed to fake a smile. Tears were falling on my homework because I could not handle the pressure of school on top of these new responsibilities. I knew that the divorce was not my fault, but I simply could not accept the fact that I was now a member of a broken family, and nothing that I could do would fix that.
Suddenly it hit me like a brick falling from the clouds; everything was not perfect. In fact, it was far from it. I was stuffing my life into a bag every four days to switch houses. I had a severely pulled hamstring that sidelined me for half of the track season. My best friends were increasingly turning to drinking and older guys when all I wanted to do was hang out and laugh. I was still getting good grades, by the stress was taking a toll on my mental health. The more that I accepted that my life was in fact filled with faults, the freer I became. I now understand that my life had never been perfect; I had just wanted it so bad that I made myself believe it.
If there is one hurdle that I was able to overcome this year, it is that I am now able to accept and cherish imperfection. I look at the last years of my parents’ marriage and realize that it was unhealthy for my whole family to live in such a hostile environment, and though I would not admit it at the time, they were definitely not an amazing couple. There is still pain in all of our hearts, but it gets better every day as we become accustomed to a new normal. As I recognize how far I am from perfect in all aspects of my life, it gives me something to work for; not perfection, but peace and accomplishment. I no longer thank God for giving me the best life in the world because I know it is not true. Maybe someday I will feel that it is, but for now I am content with the love of my family and the possibilities for the future.