While We Were Out


I had to make a trip to the library and to Walmart on Saturday. I needed to return some books, DVDs, and CDs to the library, and I needed milk chocolate chocolate chips and pancake mix at Walmart. And on the drive, we talked about this bout of strep, the miscarriage she had after my parents got married, the almost miscarriages she had while pregnant with me, & about all the weird things I ended up inheriting from one or both sides of the family–including drug allergies and bad immune systems. 

Since some of those things are recessive, she felt the need to apologize for passing on those genes. She also decided she needed to apologize for ending up in a relationship with someone who carried similar recessive genes. She said that if she’d known, she would have done things differently and that she realizes a lot of my issues wouldn’t have happened if they’d had children with other people. 

Part of me is glad she is finally acknowledging something that’s been a sticking point in my relationships with both parents. But I also don’t like the realization because it means if they’d done things differently that I wouldn’t be here. I may wish for that sometimes, but I don’t really want it. I don’t like a lot of what I’ve experienced, but I really don’t know if I’d want to change that. 

If I hadn’t been sick or hurt so much, maybe I could have participated in soccer or volleyball or skating or taken dance longer. Maybe I could have had real Christmas trees and fewer doctor appointments. If I wasn’t mentally ill, maybe I would have graduated high school and not gotten my GED, maybe I would have gone away to school, maybe I’d be married and babied.

But things still could have gone badly. Or they could have altered important experiences–good & bad.  

If I hadn’t been abused or bullied, I might not have gotten so involved in online stuff. I would have missed out on amazing friendships that mean so much to me, even if I don’t act like it. If I’d been able to have a “normal” love life, I might not have gotten stood up on what was supposed to be my first date. I also might not have gotten to meet A and have an unconventional, but wonderful experience of important firsts.  

So, yeah, I’d love to have had a happier or healthier existence. I’d love if my parents could have had happy and healthy kids in a happy and healthy marriage–or happy and healthy marriages. But I wouldn’t be me. I might not even exist. And that is something I don’t like thinking of any more than I like being sick, easily injured, or painfully shy. 

I spent so long hating my body for its flaws, my brain for its issues, and my family for bringing me into existence. I don’t want to be like that. Not anymore. So I will deal with my drug allergies and my never-ending strep as long as it means that I get to keep being me. 

Thanks, mom, for wanting to spare me of suffering, but I’m good. 


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.