(UN)GUARDED

Living in a place with people one’s own age offers a specific comfort to do things. There is a level of privacy that becomes implicit to the living scenario synonymous to the people one is living with. I’ve come to realise that I get to be more outward about my opinions and thoughts with roommates my own age. I don’t have to be guarded about my sexuality or my personality in a city away from home. I have the comfort of watching different content that would not please my parents or would make them uncomfortable to witness. I could say things, act differently around my peers, something that a college environment offers. 

Back at home, spending 6 months at a time with family brings out a new guarded living. There are some conversations that I feel nervous to talk about around them. Calls and dialogues with friends are reserved, or had in the privacy of a different space away from parents. Screens often turned away so as to avoid them looking into it, discovering something unpleasant. There is a constant feeling of awkwardness and nervousness that often leads to uncomfortable confrontations. The yearning to go back to living with peers is heightened. The freedom it offers, in terms of being one’s own self without stereotypical judgement, is something to look forward to.

There are often certain topics that are sensitive in the eyes of the family – social interactions with peers and sexuality being the most concerning. It becomes hard to avoid these topics after a certain point and leads into further inspection. Most of the times, questions trigger arguments instead of reasonable responses and each member of the family go back to being engrossed in their own screens. The eventual small talk and conversations become highly minimal and any topic brought forth for discussion becomes guarded.

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