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I don't blame my mother for reacting that way. In her position, I'm sure I would've been as upset. But as I sat with my eyes to the ground, listening to her tell me what a disappointment I was, I wished I could tell her what I hadn't written in the e-mail: that I'd felt like my insides were being torn apart by a pair of hot tongs, that when he asked me if that's what I really wanted, I instantly regretted my answer; that I had gone to his room after the show ended, hoping to find him for whatever reason, only to be told by his roommate that he had gone home with his parents; that only a bookish, quiet girl in a convincing asshole costume would honey-glaze the desperation of such an act with "I just wanted to get it over with."
But I was so upset that all I could think to say was, "I can't believe you violated my privacy again." And of course, she was so upset that all she could say was, "I'm your mother. Whatever you do, don't think I'm not going to find about it." As it turned out, she was absolutely right.
Over the course of the next few years, I entered a begrudging détente with my parents over the issue of my sexual activity. They still made it their business to know the business of my business, but they were not naïve enough to think they were going to be able to stop me from having sex. They just wanted to know as much as they could about what I was doing, mostly because they wanted to make sure I was being safe.
So we started having real, heart-to-heart conversations. We no longer fought like characters in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, violently, bitterly, and eloquently detailing the myriad ways we'd disappointed each other. Instead, we started talking, and once we started I found that it was difficult to stop. I told them everything: what birth control I used, the boyfriend who'd been cheating on me with my nemesis, the physics lab partner or improv teammate or almost-definitely-gay theater buddy I was aggressively pursuing.
Eventually, I started to feel weirdly grateful that my parents were so insistent on knowing every detail of my personal life. I had friends with parents who didn't root through their drawers or read their diaries, but they also had no idea if their kids were trading blowies for crack on the G train, or if they'd even been kissed yet. Every time my parents reported on something they'd clearly only learned from snooping around, I couldn't help but feel thankful that someone cared about me enough to do so. Every violation of my privacy was them telling me they still thought I was the same girl who'd sat on her uncle's knees, rocking out to "Electric Avenue;" that they loved every part of me so fiercely, they wanted to be sure they weren't missing out on anything important.
Now, my parents are still able to keep tabs on me on the internet without having to hack into my e-mail, and now their friends are able to keep tabs on me too. Every time I publish something, regardless of whether I tell them not to, my parents will proudly send it to everyone they have ever met in their lives, advertising it as "something [their] foul-mouthed slut of a daughter wrote."
It is these words that reassure me my parents no longer feel I am a Giant Asshole. What was once a cutting invective, a way of highlighting the yawning chasm between the sweetness I once was and the disappointment I turned into, is now — oddly enough — an endorsement of the person I have since become. I don't know if writing about myself on the internet merits as much parental pride as, say, founding a children's hospital. But the days when I was so sure they'd hate me if they knew who I really was are still so clear in my mind, that the fact that they have pride in me at all both shocks and strengthens me.
I no longer abandon my underwear in the woodlands of upstate New York, and my parents no longer act like angry, red-faced caricatures from ethnic family comedies. I now have semi-functional, adult relationships, and my family is there to guide me through every single one. So, all apologies to my uncle, but I can only hope to continue to do them proud by advertising every sexcapade and heartbreak in as loud-mouthed, ill-mannered, self-indulgent, high-strung, and profane a manner as possible. Because as long as there's a foul-mouthed, slutty bone in my body, I know they'll want to hear about it. And because — who am I kidding? — they'll find out anyway.