Post inspiration: Sayesha's recent dilemma.
I lived for 22 years with my parents, before coming to the US to go to grad school. Ours was an extremely liberal home atmosphere- we discussed the crazy, dirty jokes with our mom and always felt free to express our opinions to our dad. My mom knew many of the little "crush stories" of school, and would often tease my friends when they came over. My elder sister had a few more restrictions than I did, an off-shoot of being the first child, and also being the pretty, girly one. I was the tomboy, it was hard to imagine me getting into trouble with boys, et al. Unlike some other girl-friends I had then, having "guy-friends", getting phone calls, going out with friends within reasonable hours, having people over, were never an issue for both me and my sister. Consequently, my life was pretty much an open book then. My parents knew almost all the on-goings in my life, and the respect and trust was mutual. Although my mom would've loved for me to become a doctor or an engineer (who didn't in those days?) they completely respected my choice of what I wanted to pursue, and let me go all out to live my dreams.
When I came to the US, a whole new life opened up for me. Being away from home meant that I was responsible for my own decisions, and the initial home-sickness and feeling of alienation brought on a whole new sense of vulnerability. My weekend hour-long phone-calls to my parents involved me narrating all the incidents of my life in painful detail. There were also several new experiences, that I wanted to share with my parents, wanted them to see and be a part of my life here, just as it had always been. These all-revealing phone-calls continued for a while, unaffected by the twists my life took, and all the growing-up I went through in those years. My mom was aware of my headaches, heartaches and most everything in between. Often, my friends would express surprise at how much I told my parents. For me, it wasn't an issue. I loved doing it, and never felt stifled.
Finally, it was my first experience with alcohol that struck the first dischordant note. I was proudly regaling to my parents that I drank an alcoholic drink, and it was no big deal. I wanted them to know of my latest adventure, like every other. Of course, what ensued was a long, angry lecture from my dad. I put down the phone quite confused, not knowing how to react. I thought long and hard and realised that somethings just had to be left unsaid. I was living in a different world than them, and the gap was very much there. For myself, I felt secure and confident about my decisions, and was beginning to get a bit disturbed at their strong reactions. At this point I began filtering things, or holding back information. I embarked on my first long road-trip alone and only told them after I reached my destination. [When I called my mom, she said I should leave my car there and fly back to my city, so as not to drive the 14 hours by myself again!]. I went sky-diving and broke it to them after the event, when I had my dad sharing my enthusiasm and my mom asking me to pack up, quit my Ph.D and come home.[Turns out they knew of a very unfortunate incident where their friends lost their daughter to a sky-diving accident.] Some of my biggest upsets, mishaps and disappointments I've chosen to not tell them, because I know they'd worry and hurt for me. And keep worrying much after I'd gotten over them, and insist I call them everyday or some such unrealistic thing. Sometimes, I'd love to be able to bare it all, there was a unique feeling of release and comfort in doing that. Other times, I realise that things are indeed not the same, and I cannot wish them to be. I need to decide for myself where I'm crossing the line and justify the effort they put in raising me.