08/18/2014 12:25 pm ET Updated Oct 18, 2014

Parentlessness, Loneliness, and All Those Other Good Things

There was a grave realization I came to when I spoke with my mother over the phone a few days ago. Without coming out and saying exactly what I wanted to say, I was trying to convey to her a personal struggle I was going through (and still am going through). What I really was trying to do was make her feel guilty and pity me, but no matter how many times the level of anger in my voice fluctuated, I was essentially banging my head against a brick wall. She wouldn't give me the apology I wanted. She did not feel the way I'd hoped she would feel. Instead she did what she always does and is quite good at doing: She was honest.

She talked around the underlying issue. She boasted about me and went on and on about how proud of me she is for the little things I've accomplished in the time I've spent away from my family. I didn't want to hear any of that; instead I wanted to hear "I am sorry," but the only thing she was truly sorry for is how much has happened in our time apart.

"Maybe it's best that you're away from your family," she said nervously. "Ya know? I can get so much done when I am alone."

That revealed to me the true purpose of our relationship. As sad as it is to accept, maybe not everyone is meant to have parents, or even just one parent parent, dedicated to coming to the rescue at every difficult moment that life has to offer, or at any difficult moment, for that matter.

Sometimes the people who need to understand you the most don't really want to. Perhaps in their heart of hearts, they want to love you in the way that you so desperately want them to, but their dislike of seeing what's beyond the trees of the forest is greater, because doing so would mean confronting the most unflattering truth about themselves. They don't really want to know what frustrates or pains you about them or hear about what you desire most from them. They would rather stay in the dark than meet your most intimate self. Staying in that place prevents them from feeling pain. Hell, why would anyone want to feel pain? Perhaps their bliss in ignorance is what's best for the both of you.

Even when it feels like you are alone and doing everything by yourself, you become a stronger person because of it. With that misunderstanding and aloneness, you possess more power in the face of not having had what you perceived to be the prerequisites for life. Not everyone is able to see this, and the fact that you are able to acknowledge your own situations from a sane perspective in the midst of all that chaos that might have happened to you is powerful.

We are in a full-blown relationship with our problems. We have the power to stay with them, complain about them, or say "Fuck it" and leave them with reconciliation. The issue isn't what you don't or didn't get to have. The issue is a failure to see the beauty in how all those challenges shaped who you are now.

Not every parent will understand their children, or, for lack of a better way of putting it, actually "parent" their children. This is OK. And no matter how badly we want it to be the other way around because we think it should be that way, it isn't. And maybe that is the way it should be. No one cares about you and your fucked-up problems compared with those of yesterday or 10 years ago. It is not your job to push someone to care when they don't fully want to. Dwelling on how you felt then does not change how you feel now. Regardless of where your problems stem from, you are the closest to your fucked-upness; therefore, you have to work on them, because you understand them most, and your problems know you the most. The strength is in knowing your weakness and having the audacity to either change it or change how you feel about it. That is where all the power is.