I’ve always felt like an outsider.

Growing up in the suburbs I always stuck out. I didn’t fit in. I didn’t belong there. My parents always described me as the black sheep. When I was little, they tried to get me to play nice, wear dresses, do the things little girls are supposed to do. To their credit, they gave up pretty early on. They’ve always been as accepting as they’re capable of being. In high school when my friends were fighting with their parents, I was always close with mine.

There was no surprise when I announced I was moving to Brooklyn. I didn’t spend a lot of time talking about leaving the suburban conformity for the city, but I think we all assumed it was going to happen. It felt inevitable.

They insisted in helping me move up. They took me shopping for all the stuff I’d need for my first (room in an) apartment. When they come up to visit they don’t bat an eye at how weird my friends are. I’d finally found my place and they didn’t understand it, but they saw how happy I was.

When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t really know what that meant. People talk about “cancer” as if it’s one thing. It’s really not. There are hundreds of types of cancers and it seems like some of them have nothing in common.

His type of Lymphoma isn’t necessarily terminal, but it’s serious.

I want to be there for him while he’s going through treatment, but that means going home to the suburban life I hated. Leaving my weird job, my weird friends, and my life behind.

I feel like I have to choose between my family or myself.

T. Pierce

Featured image: Christian Mueller / Shutterstock.com

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