COLUMN: Dear E-Dad
I’m having trouble finding my own space when stuck home with my family. What should I do?
Charlie, in Pennsylvania.
Since staying at home requires you to stay at home, I feel there is a strong enforcement of family dynamics. Once you walk through that door, you automatically become a sibling or a child. No other position can be filled as you’ve never been anything else. For us growing up, this situation is not ideal, but this is how we were taught to perform as family. An important step to take would be shaking preconceived notions of how to interact with them. In search of your own independence, recognize and respect theirs. By leveling yourself and your family as only humans, I think there’d be a way to construct new and fair friendships.
A lot of people feel your frustration. My mom once told me not to attend online class if she was taking a nap at that time. Screaming at her, let alone anyone, is not an appropriate way to solve conflict. Establishing the distance between your boundaries and your family’s can maybe cause the shift you’re looking for. Direct action, like nighttime walks if safe, can grant you temporary amnesty from the stress. Truthfully, it’s going to be a lengthy process and quarantine isn’t going to last forever. It’s worth planting the seeds now, because maybe it can strengthen your relationships down the line.
In true “emo” fashion, Living in Places Like These Can Be Bad ForYour Health (Can’t Live Here Anymore) by Short Fictions blasts your sentiment in its title. The shift into the second half of the song focuses on how complicated a love-hate relationship with home can be. The Big House by Hop Along falls more into the freak folk genre than anything, but something about the sound is devastating. Surreal, child-like folklore mixed with the realization that family isn’t always going to be what we want. Perpetuity by Leer lets someone scream your anger towards family for you. I think it’s a good enough note to end on. If things do get worse, let me know. Surely you’ll make it out alive. We all will.
I would like to know your thoughts and concerns about impulsively moving in with my boyfriend of three months.
Valerie, in Czechia.
I should note that the original question read, “i would like to no ur thoughts/concerns abt impulsively moving in w my bf of 3 months”. I think it’s kind of sweet. Naivety is what makes the beginning of a healthy relationship so much fun, because you can only think with your heart. Of course, the future is unpredictable, and no one is able to map out a relationship’s trajectory. Still, it is okay to embrace your present feelings to their fullest. Whether or not your situation works out, there’s an experience to be had. Relationships in youth should be viewed as a way to figure out how people work and how you work with people.
My main concern is the obvious. This big of a step so early on is able to create a sense of codependency. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, as I’ve been told one time too many. If the intensity rises beyond your reach, there’ll be an uh-oh moment where you realize that damage control can’t fully contain the impending mess. A lesson is a lesson, sure, but sometimes learning sucks. I’d ascertain what this relationship means to you. If you’re moving in with a partner, there’s a mutual companionship in there that doesn’t outweigh you or your future. Moving in with a boyfriend, on the other end, implies an endgame.
Art School Crush by NNAMDI was an obvious choice. Math rock with muppet energy, this captures the breeziness of premature love. Alsace-Lorraine by Home is Where has a poignant intimacy to it. The lyrics are aware that this moment in time is not going to last, but it treats the ‘now’ as special. That’s how it should be. Finally, Your Sweetness by Adventures. “The way things start always feel so inviting, but growth brings out the worst in me”.
I genuinely do hope things work out. Although I don’t know who you are, I care about you.
E-Dad hosts a regular show on KUPS, dispensing advice while highlighting Midwestern twinkle emo, under the pseudonym “Twinkledad“.