I was 6-years-old when my father felt it was time to remove the training wheels from my cycle and make it a big-people cycle. I don’t remember if I was scared or thrilled or both, to be making the transition. But I do remember that the process of learning to ride a bicycle made me experience both.
My father used to make me practise every evening. Even though he held the cycle’s seat from the back and kept reassuring me that I had his support, I kept crying, scared of balancing it on my own. Being a pampered child, my father scolding me and telling me that I wasn’t trying enough was doubly hurtful. He asked me to have faith in myself and take charge of the cycle. But I just wouldn’t. Him having my back was my comfort zone, and I was scared of what would happen if I stepped out of it.
After a few days of this, he resorted to the evergreen trick, “Slyly Letting Go Of The Seat While Reassuring Your Child That You Wouldn’t”. And before I realised what had happened, I was riding a bicycle! By myself! The initial euphoria was overtaken by a feeling of betrayal. He said he wouldn’t let go, but he did. I ignored the concept of breaks that my father had made me memorise and dwindled to stop the damn cycle.
Of course, later, I was glad he let go. I rode it under parental supervision for a few weeks, and a few years later, became embarrassed of the same supervision I once craved. I fell and hurt myself countless times. I got lost on roads that I used to navigate every day even more frequently. Still, worth it.
This isn’t a unique experience. I recall this almost 14 years later because it’s paradoxical to the life I lead now. I am asking my parents to let go of the seat, and they just wouldn’t. I know they fear that if they let go, I might never want to come back.
It’s 2017, and it’s still wrong of people to want to move out of their parents’ house unless their job, education or marriage demands it. I am a college student who wants to move out of the house and live independently. I want to live with people other than my family, even though I am terrible at adjusting with new people. I want to take care of what I eat, what I wear and how to make ends meet all by myself. I want to become responsible enough to study when my parents aren’t at home. I do not fully support myself financially yet, but given the array of content writing opportunities online, I know I am capable of it. College is the time you can take charge of your life and work towards being the person you want to be. To accomplish that, in my head, it’s essential for me to move out.
The problem is I live near my college. My parents are as wonderful and liberal as middle-class parents can get. Through the eyes of society, I have no excuse for making this demand. How dare I want to be independent? How dare I relieve my parents of the responsibility of bringing up an adult? What have they done to deserve this? Every time I bring this up, I am made to feel guilty.
I thought my parents oppose this because they worry that friends and relatives will assume that there’s something wrong with our house, which is why I want to move out. But after numerous fights with them about this, I know it’s not just that. They fear that I’ll forget everything they’ve taught me, and they’ll never get to see me at all. Plus, they suspect that my motive isn’t just to be independent, it is also that I want to *whispers* have sex (which I most definitely do), and become a heroin addict (which I don’t).
I realise that it’s not all that glamorous. Living alone is difficult – emotionally, financially and logistically. What my parents don’t understand is that not letting me go, won’t stop me from doing things I want to do, things they don’t necessarily approve of. It will additionally delay the process of me being self-reliant. On the other hand, if I move out, I will learn to take care of myself. This doesn’t mean that I’ll stop needing them or stop wanting their support in my life. It’s just a thrilling and scary journey that I want to embark upon. I know they’ll miss me, as I’ll miss them. Maybe even more than how much I’ll miss them.
Sure, I’ll fall and hurt myself. But I’ll learn to pick myself up. I’ll lose my way countless times. But I’ll always navigate my way back home. More so, I’ll always want to navigate my way back home. For all of it to happen, they need to remove the training wheels and let go.