I had a troubled set of teenage years. When it came time to confront life after high school, I lost touch with many of the things that made me strong. For some reason, I felt the need, compulsion, to argue with my parents. The minimal barriers they put on my freedom were things I felt I needed to press up against.
By the time I turned twenty, I had started to come back to something that resembled calm and normal. When I look back at those years and the storm that passed through, as a parent myself, I wonder why I was making such a scene.
Here's the quote: "What are you rebelling against?" Marlon Brando's character is asked in The Wild One. He responds with another question. "What have you got?"
I was not mistreated in any way. My parents were supportive and caring. They were interested in what I was doing and did everything they could to make my path easier. Even when that path had them going to therapy with me every few weeks while I went every Tuesday to straighten out whatever kink had shown up in my line. I'm sure there was some hand wringing on their part when I bailed on my first attempt at college without ever attending a class. One night in a dorm and I had enough. That straight path to adulthood took a sudden and jarring turn.
Such a bright boy. Such a good boy. What could we have done differently?
Looking back, I will say with calm certainty that I do not believe there was anything else they could have done. My brothers kept me in their sights and never let go. They appreciated this phase I was going through. Did I come by it righteously? Probably not, but mental health is a tricky thing. Making sense out of not making sense is something people spend their entire careers trying to unravel.
The good news is that I came out on the other side, eventually. I was stronger. I was smarter. And by the time I got to be old enough to supervise a bunch of kids who struggle with their own vagaries, I was ready to give them the same understanding that I learned from my family when I was lost in the woods.
For those of you who remember those days, so very long ago, my apologies and appreciation for your patience while I figured things out.
With your help.