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She Tries to Understand (Pt. 2)

... And fails sometimes.

A Picture I Took at My Old House

I never really knew how to get my emotions out or how to tell people how I felt, so I would paint it. That could be the reason as to why I have a delight in nature. Its beauty is pure, and studies have shown that it can cure anxiety. When I didn’t have many people around me, I figured out that I was able to create new things with my hands.

At a young age, my mom said that I could recite a cake recipe from memory. I was three years old at the time, so I would say that is a gift. I began cooking when I was about seven years old. You would think that I would come out of the womb, ready to prepare a five-course meal, but I made some weird stuff. One recipe I created was called “gonache," which is just a ham sandwich drenched in cocktail sauce. I don’t know why I named it that.

I tried to make a gumbo roux with cornmeal and you are supposed to make it with flour. I grilled chicken while it was frozen.

After constant failed attempts, I lost interest. I picked it up again when I was twelve, but this time, I did it right.

Painting and drawing is an art that I never would have guessed that I would end up liking. In fact, I have an online store where I sell my paintings and drawings. When I was little, I liked to draw, but I would quit every time I messed up and it was the same way with painting. Somehow, my sister, who also paints and draws, convinced me to get better. Later, I found it to be fun and therapeutic. I think I got better because I knew that I would mess up.

I picked up photography when I was twelve. I noticed I had interest in it when I discovered my aesthetic, which is consisted of anything concerning neon purples and golden hours. I didn't have the equipment or the talent to do it, so I quit doing it. Three months later, we moved into a very calm and cinematic setting. Even if you weren't a photographer, you would love to take at least one picture there. Gazing at the beautiful display of fall, I gained inspiration once more and wanted to continue to try it. Obviously, I still didn't have the tools, but we met a family friend. He was our neighbor and he dabbled in it and helped me with the basics. Soon enough, I was a natural, but my parents didn't have the money to buy me a camera and I didn't either, so, he did. Unfortunately, we moved to the city two years later. Thanks to him, I still practice a little. And when I am feeling down, I look for my camera.

This has taught me one thing: before you can do what’s right, you usually have to do what’s wrong so that you can get better. I think that my mom had to learn the same thing.

“Guess what, Martha? She needs essential oil vapes. Girl, I don’t know what’s wrong with that child.” I heard the voice muffle from downstairs as I was sleeping.

When mama gets new news, she tends to tell everyone.

I woke up hearing my mom talking to her friend on the phone. She was spilling, not just any tea, but my tea.

“Is she seriously telling all of my business right now?” I tried to turn over and go back to sleep. Nope. I turned over to the other side and placed my pillow around my ears. That didn’t work. Unfortunately, I had to wake up. I huffed and switched around to look at my clock. It was 11 AM. I woke up at 11, again. For the past few weeks, I have been getting up at the same time every day. My doctor said that it was a symptom of a mental disorder. That’s how my mom was recommended a therapist.

“Gab, get up!” my mom yelled from downstairs. I huffed in irritation because I already was up, and I hate it when people tell me to do something that I was already doing. I know that you shouldn’t get an attitude with your parents but it's so hard not to. 

Though I was tempted, I yelled, “Okay!”

I went down the stairs and met her in the hallway.

Holding the medicine vapes in her hand she said, “You need to take four puffs of this one every morning and four puffs of this one every evening. Then, when you get finished, you need to use that red inhaler and take this antihistamine with a lot of water.”

I was always a sickly child and not a year went by that I didn’t end up in the emergency room. I have asthma, keratoconus, leaky gut, and heat urticaria, which is when you get hot and break out in welts. I am seventeen, so I should know how to deal with this by now.

“Mama, mama! I’m 17. I know these things. I have been doing them for a while now,” I whined.

This reminds me of how I used to do with my dad. He would always say that I didn’t know what adulthood was like, so I shouldn’t be so eager to grow up because it’s nothing but bills. In his defense, he was right about life not being easy. By no means do I expect it to, but I want to enjoy my job, and it doesn’t have to pay the bills. But thankfully, my teacher, Ms. Laura, teaches a course on how to take care of ourselves. She knows that we would need these things and helps us out when parents, like my dad, do not take the time out to teach you about the important things. I just think that he doesn’t want me to grow up, so he never does and uses bills as an excuse.

She stopped, looked me in the eyes and said, “I know. I just want to make sure that you are taken care of.” That my friends, is what you call a weird reply. Normally, she will just say, “Well, then I expect you to do it. You have been saying that you will take it, but that medicine bottle is still full from two months ago.” And I can’t complain. I don’t take my medicine, but that is only because my sister said that it could kill me if I take too much of it.

Mama said that she would not have a hard time letting her children go because she started early. I think that may be difficult for her right now, but, I had to savor the moment.

“Mama, I am. Don’t worry,” I said.

“I know. You’re the only one left and I want to make sure that you are prepared for taxes and…” she worried. I arched an eyebrow in confusion.

We all know that her concern for me wasn’t taxes, but rather adulting. She knew that I wasn’t good at handling pressure. When I try, I freak out. Ever since that one day, a few years ago, I agreed with a family friend to babysit her three children by myself for a few hours, I decided that I wasn’t going to have children without a husband. And hopefully, he is calm and slow to anger.

“Taxes? Mama, I haven’t even graduated yet. I will learn taxes,” I explained.

She rubbed her hands up and down my shoulders and simply answered, “Okay.” You know it's beginning to get weird when your mom starts replying in one-word sentences. I knew that she felt bad because she didn’t know what I was dealing with and couldn’t do anything about it. But I had to let her know that there was no sense in worrying because she couldn't control it.

You could tell that she was trying to let me figure out my life, but one of these days, I will let her know when I need her help.

I tried to comfort her by saying,

“I will be fine. You’re looking at a girl who is almost a high school graduate,” I gloated. I am the youngest of four girls and all of my siblings are quite some years older than me, so graduating is an accomplishment.

She scoffed and said, “Well, here.” Handing me the car keys and a grocery list, she stated, “Since you are so grown, then go and get this list of things.”

Okay, being an adult isn’t amazing, but it’s a start.

I looked down at her and sighed. “Just let me go change clothes first.”

“And don’t wear that shirt again. You’ve been wearing that for the past five days.”

“I won’t!” I yelled as I was going up the stairs.

Mistakes are going to be made as you grow older, but sometimes, you have to get it wrong to make it right. She may have a hard time letting me go, but I have to learn from my own mistakes. And surely, she is currently learning that as well.

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