I don't quite remember what came first: When I was in my very early teens my brother announced he was going to Paris with his girlfriend for a few weeks A cross-Europe roadtrip of a lifetime with a planned visit at Euro Disney. My parents decided to pay for the drive and stay as a gift- as we he was about to start university later in the fall. As a child I was huge Disney fan and I it was my dream to visit a theme park like that. But he was about to experience it. At at that moment I started to feel trapped. I had nothing to look forward to, life was going to pass me by. There would be more and more things I would be excluded from and I was stuck at the apartment with my parents as my brother got to live his life. It would only get worse as I got older and heavier. A pretty gloomy vision for an 11-year old. I remember having a very emotional reaction that day and my parents thinking I was acting out as a spoiled brat sent me to my room where I was crying in the dark. It was one of the moments when I told myself that something needed to change. That I had to find some way, some places to have a life that didn't feel like an attachment to my parents. It had less to do with my brother getting to have the time of his life in France and more with my realization and the extreme feeling of hopelessness that came over me. I also remember one New Year's Eve weekend in the early 90's. My brother and his girlfriend were house sitting for a friend. Quite a comfortable villa, with minimal glass furniture, white walls and lots of light. It was the first time that I got to stay somewhere new without my parents present. And in a way I felt liberated. I didn't get to get out of the house at that age much. Rarely would I go somewhere that wasn't my aunt's, uncle's or grandmother's place. Even on extended school trips my dad would not only always be there, but most likely in the room right there with me, separate from the other kids. Here was I with no one to watch me but my 19- year old perhaps, brother. And it made me feel like we were equals of sorts and I felt like a grown up. A partner. Like I was experiencing something new. My brother made sure I'd make my own toast and wash the plate after I was done. And I thought lik a life without a parent around was not an impossibility at all. In this new setting I was not only able to do things for myself but I liked it! Who knew. Nobody forced me to do it. It's new circumstance that made me branch out and try new things. When I went back home two days later I felt depressed in a way. I was stepping back into that old life when I knew there was another way to live. The apartment we lived in since I was born felt small and stuffy all of the sudden. The memory of that weekend, the image of that house was what drove me to independence today. The thought that I got a lick of doing things for myself and I wanted more. Because I liked how it felt and how I saw myself. As somebody who's able to do things. Don't you know how amazing it is?
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