I have lived my entire adult life under the auspices that everyone I know (and don’t know) feels that I owe them something. This started, as stated, around the time I was eighteen. I did not feel psychologically ready for college, though I knew it was the expectations of many for me to attend. Though I know now it would have been beneficial for everyone involved if I didn’t go straight to college, I feel that that is where the majority of my guilt originates. My parents were putting a lot of money and expectations on the premise that I would go to college and do well in every aspect. ‘Every aspect’ basically means that I would have a wife and child by the time I was/am 27.
My road toward marriage-hood, fatherhood, and the absence of both hit its first barricade before my first day of classes. I had a nervous breakdown in the hallway of Dobie. Dobie was the dorm where my parents first met. My first dorm room in Dobie was in the same suite as my mom’s dorm during her freshman yeah. Dobie is also an overpriced prison that thrives on providing facilities that promote social ineptness as well as athletic prowess (to get to the lobby, you have to walk up 45 steps. If you live on floors two through four, you are expected to take the stairs up again, in order to decongest the elevators.)
So while I was struggling through my first year of school, my parents were not only paying for my tuition, schoolbooks, room & board, and my meal plan, they were also giving me plenty of spending money. I felt immensely guilty that they were paying for this, but at the same time I never thanked them. I just blindly went forward. I think because of this guilt, I was very prone to apologizing to everybody (but my parents) that I was around. For example, I would repeatedly say “I’m sorry” to a friend who treated me to dinner on my birthday, while Mom and Dad got nothing.
My apologizing got so out of control, I got a small tattoo on the top of my arm that said “I’m sorry.” It was partly a joke and partly a plea to the tattoo gods to get me to stop apologizing. Though I still feel enormously guilty because of what my parents have done (or given) to me, I don’t overuse the ‘I’m sorry’ to friends and everyone else in my life; but the tattoo remains. Tattoos are permanent. Nobody tells you that when the artists are giving it to you; yet they seem like such trustworthy people.