I turn 18 on Tuesday. I'll be a legal adult. But what the hell good is it going to do me? I can vote, buy cigarettes and lotto tickets. Oh yes, and porn. The voting sounds ok, but there isn't going to be an election for who knows how long. The rest of it isn't exactly all that great.

It’s not like on Tuesday at exactly 6:48 A.M. I will suddenly become a new person. Heck, I'll still be asleep. Somebody, somewhere decided that on this magic birthday, I was an adult. Does this mean I'm free from my parents' constant complaining or yelling at me, my sister, each other? Does this mean that I will finally end up dating a guy who is a nice decent guy, one that doesn't act like a jerk? Will I stop liking the guys that I can't date? Will I finally be more than just some high schooler, who everyone thinks is too smart? Will someone finally see that I'm a person, who has feelings, and wants more than anything in this world to be somewhere else?

My dad's yelling at my sister as I write this, not ten feet away. As if I can't hear, as if it somehow shouldn't affect me. After Tuesday will things change? Will I actually like my house, and not feel like I need to escape?

I guess it's not so bad. Nobody abuses me or does drugs or is a drunk, but I kind of expect more out of life, you know? Like parents that are always mad at your sister, cause she can't follow the rules. A sister that doesn't sleep around with every guy she dates, and makes everyone wonder how you ever ended up related to her. Parents that realize that what you say matters, and don't interrupt you when you speak. They love you and act like they care, but sometimes I have to wonder. If they care, why do they yell in front of me? Why do fight with my sister, when I'm standing there, trying to help make dinner? And I know, if I leave, they will wonder why I'm not helping make dinner.

I leave for college in the fall. Everyone else says they will miss their friends, their families. I have moved quite a few times in my life, so I know when you leave your friends, life goes on. You keep in touch, or you forget them. It sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. I have had some good times with my family, but I'm only going four hours away, I'll still see them. But I won't be here for the fights and the yelling.

I suppose I should be thankful. My parents are nice, decent people. I have what I need and then some. Nice clothes, a job, a car. I have enough money in scholarships to go to college and my parents'll give me spending money. I guess I'm making a bit more out of this than there is.

I remember this one birthday of mine. I think it was seventh grade, maybe eighth. I'm sitting on my bed, and a pile of clean sheets is sitting on the bed, with the covers all thrown up in a heap. I guess I must have washed the sheets that morning. I had just gone outside, and had gotten mud on the clean sheets when I had curled up on my bed. I'm crying and my mom comes in and tells me to stop crying, my friends'll be here soon. And I feel like screaming back, no, let them see me cry. You made me cry, you and your yelling at dad. Why should I make you look good, like we have a normal family? I don't say anything though. She eventually leaves and brings me a cold washcloth. I don't remember anything else from that day, just that.

I'm not asking for pity, or anything like that. I guess I needed to write this, just so I knew it was written down somewhere. That someone else had seen it. Perhaps so someone else will know they aren't the only one. I wonder if everyone else I know at school have the perfect lives that they seem to have or if the ones that complain about their lives really have it as bad as they say they do? I guess we kind of all say what we think we need to say to survive and fit in. I guess we all have that in common.