Various Simultaneous Personal Crises

My parents are loving people. They provide for you. They will do anything for you. They will give you anything you want. That last one is the problem, though. I often have to ask them to set boundaries for me, give me some rules, because I feel so free and parent-less. My mom works and my dad has Parkinson’s, so he sits in front of the television all day because he can’t do anything else with his shaking hands. Their parenting style is lax, detrimentally so.

In a phone call I had this morning, my sister called me The Good One. She says she doesn’t know how I turned out so well. (She is 30 years old.) I’m the modest one. I’m the good one. I feel guilty at 17 years old watching rated R movies, watching Mad Men.

I asked my dad the other day what age he thinks is appropriate for watching rated R movies. He said 14.

So I kind of wished he told me that before. Before all the guilt.

I found out my brother is watching Orange Is the New Black. I knew it was about women in prison, but not much else. I looked up reviews about why it was rated TV-MA. Nudity and lots and lots of graphic sex. So what am I supposed to do with that? Knowing my 13 year old brother is watching this stuff? I tried to talk to him last night about how our parent’s parenting is very lax and that there’s no one to tell him right from wrong, really, and that I don’t think he should be watching that show and that that show is so inappropriate for someone his age. He was muttering No the whole time, was annoyed, didn’t look at me except to ask Why Are You Doing This Now? to which I replied Because No One Else Will Do It. I said I’ll ask mom and dad to take away Netflix. He got really mad. Why Are You Doing This Now? He started throwing things at me. I said Go ahead. Pick up the next thing. Practice your aim. which he did a few more times. My dad stumbled literally onto the scene as I was walking away from Target Practice, asking What is going on. I charged past him and into my room. He knocked on the door. What Is Going On? I said Go Away, which he did, and I cried for like 30 minutes.

This morning, on the phone with my sister, I asked her to put restrictions (no TV-MA) on my brother’s Netflix account. I said she can put that on my account, too. She said she’s not going to do that because I’m two months away from being an adult.

My sister says I’m the good one. I guess that’s true, if she’s speaking about my guilt about doing things. My guilt is what makes me good. It’s what makes me Christian. My guilt tells me not to watch rated R and not watch TV-MA and not to curse and not to do drugs and not to take Dad’s anti-anxiety medication because of the label on the side saying that only the person with their name on the bottle can take this. My morality is centered on my guilt. But suddenly I am an adult. Adult means you can do whatever the hell you want (I just cursed), so don’t feel guilty about such childish stuff as rated R and anti-anxiety meds and drugs. What am I supposed to do in college? The world is completely open. It had been open all this time.


Thoughts on a Word in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

Pederasty (a homosexual relationship between a pubescent or adolescent male and an adult male) was at one time considered an ideal but is now considered a crime. It has become increasingly obvious that our codes of ethics depend upon the dominant interpretation of what we know now, the dominant social thought, forget about religion. How does religion fit into our inconstant, changeful morality? Does it fit at all? I am confused by the innocuousness of extramarital sex and homosexuality, as portrayed by today’s popular culture, and the damnation of both by strict or conventional, millennia-old Christian principles. We are learning that they were wrong before or we are socialized to believe that they were wrong (because it is now a crime), when they set pederasty as an ideal sexual relationship. Are we now learning or are now socialized that homosexuality is not as wrong as we thought when we make laws supporting it? Those newly-enacted laws bend to current interpretation of homosexuality as harmless and legitimate (a woman can actually love a woman, a man can actually love a man, sexuality moves in more than one direction). Is it harmless and legitimate? Should I listen to the people who are now “coming around” to the idea of homosexuality, the people whose coming around effects the making of laws that force at least institutions to formally come around because homosexuality is harmless and legitimate and deserving of these legal protections? Should I internalize the implications of these laws? Should I continue to adopt God-breathed, millennia-old principles as my personal code of ethics in the face of these socially-accepted implications?