For New Year’s I graciously accepted an invitation to go camping. I was super excited to go as I love camping and frankly, the last time I went was in 2013. I enjoyed the tranquility and hoped that my life was moving in the right direction. I was taking the time to enjoy myself. I had gotten away from the city, the traffic, the anxiety, the constant need to text or check Facebook. For 36 hours, I enjoyed my life. I kept thinking that 2016 was going to be the best year I’ve ever had.
In that short period of relaxation. I had found the courage to go on a short “hike” all on my own. It didn’t last more than 15 minutes but for me it was worth it. You see, I want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trial, the Continental Divide Trail (Thank you Susan for mentioning this one. I looked it up and it sounds amazing, Did you happen to check out the Ice Age trail?) before I die. But solitude scares me. I’m afraid of being alone for long periods of times with my own thoughts. This is something that I will have to learn to overcome if I actually want to become a hiker. But anyways back to my little 15 min hike. I had a reoccurring cold so I had trouble breathing even when I was sitting down. While I walked around, I listened to my breathing. It was hard, wheezy, and that of a 89 year old chain-smoking woman. But I got to hear birds, the wind, and the laughter of a few campers down below. As I continued walking, and with the sun setting, I felt something different. A presence. I knew I wasn’t alone. At first I was scared and started to breath heavier, shorter, almost like I was gasping for air. Then, all of a sudden, I relaxed and I started talking. I don’t know what I said or who I said it to but I know I was speaking (maybe I was thinking; it has been over a month since it happened). I made peace with the presence with promises of returning and headed back into camp.
Camping resumed but no major event happened afterwards until I got home. At home, my life has felt like it’s been turned upside down. I came home to an angry mother. Nothing new right? What started as a recommendation for a new business computer became an attack on me as a person: my physical being, my sexuality, my finances, my status as a 31 year old, my emotional and mental well-being. That is what my mother does, time and time again. She knows your insecurities and reminds you just how much of a worthless human being you are. And it kind of clicked for me. I don’t really hear my voice knocking me down. I hear hers. I hear her disappointment and her rage. She doesn’t want me to get better mentally because that would mean that she was a terrible mother who refused to acknowledge my depression. I don’t believe that she is a terrible mother but she would believe it. For her, the easiest way to avoid my depression is to believe that I simply don’t have it; despite being told my doctor’s for the past 20 years that I have depression. My success is her success, my happiness is hers, and my thoughts are in a sense her thoughts. We are somehow connected but I’ve stepped out of line. Every few months, I step out of line and I have to be reminded of what it means to be in check.
**The next part is what happened on January 4**
It always starts out with me being a whore. I’m a whore because I almost had a child out of wedlock. I’m a whore because I’ve had multiple boyfriends or dates. She generally assumes that I have slept with every male that I have ever spoken to since I turned 18. I’m a whore because:
- on Mondays I come home from work at 8PM
- Tuesdays and Wednesdays I’m a whore because I come home at 10PM due to dance
- on Thursdays I was a whore because I was taking Russian language classes and having dinner with my boyfriend; now I’m a whore because I’m coming home from work at 8PM
- on Fridays I’m a whore because it’s date night and I come home at midnight
- on Saturdays I am not a whore because I help her clean the house, have lunch with her, and spend a few hours with her at Joann’s unless I decide to spend the night with my boyfriend
- on Sundays… another whorish day as I come home at midnight after spending a day with my boyfriend at the bookstore, at Joann’s, at Disneyland, Souplantation despite spending Sunday mornings with my parents
Basically I’m a whore if I am out of the house after sunset.
By this time, I am already crying. I don’t speak up for myself. I don’t see the point. It’s morning and I am having to get ready for work. Yes you read that right. All this happens before work. Every time.
She moves on to my looks. I’m ugly. Too fat. Too short. Too many glasses. My head is too small. My nose is too wide. When did I last brush my hair? Why do I dress the way that I do? Too many jeans and t-shirts. Too many black underwears and bras. Too many everything. I look too much like a lesbian. Don’t I want people to know that I am not gay?!? She didn’t give birth to a lesbian. Stop picking at my scabs, stop pulling out my hair, stop vomiting. Stop being so weak. Don’t I know how to fight back?
Honestly, no, I don’t know how to fight back. I’ve learned to just be quiet. Try not to make a sound. Don’t argue back. Just eat my breakfast, pack my lunch and go. Become invisible. Learn to be invisible.
Once my looks and sexuality have been degraded the inevitable question comes up. I’ve been asked, my entire life, why can’t I just be happy? Why not stop being sad for one minute and just be happy? She needs me to be happy because it will validate her parenting techniques. She did a good job in raising me and she’ll be damned if I say any different. By being depressed, I am being selfish. And being selfish is the worst possible thing I can be, right?
I cry a lot. Despite repeated attempts to say that I don’t have an on or off switch. I try and explain depression and I try to explain that she is not the keeper of my happiness. Only I am responsible for my happiness. I’m gasping for air and trying to eat my breakfast. I need to hurry up. I’m afraid of moving and yet I’m trying to shove food down my face faster and faster so I can just go. I’m afraid of walking away from her screaming at me. It doesn’t make sense but it’s what I do.
More questions. What’s wrong with me? I don’t fucking need a therapist. No one in our family needs a therapist! Do I think my siblings need therapy? YES. THEY FUCKING DO. I scream. I’m scared. That’s me screaming. That’s me, defending myself, defending them. Holy shit. I can’t go back now. Fuck. fuck. fuck. YES THEY FUCKING DO!!! We all do. Even her. Especially her. I vomit. So much for eating breakfast.
Dad walks in. He knows something is wrong but he simply states, “I don’t have time for this. I’m going to be outside, working.” Mom threatens me by kicking me out of her house. I’m no longer crying. I’m angry. Her house?! Her house?! I ask quietly for her to clarify what she means by her house. But she didn’t fucking stutter. It is her house. It’s always going to be her house. It’s not my home. I need to move out and soon. I should be embarrassed leaving at home at my age.
But I am not embarrassed. I am, however, angry. I’m spewing fucking nonsense. Nonsense that I happily suppressed for years. Want to see me fight?
YES IT IS HER HOUSE. ALWAYS HER FUCKING HOUSE. IT’S NEVER BEEN HOME FOR ME. Remember? She shipped me off. I was 8. I didn’t know any better. I went to live in a foreign fucking country not speaking the language. Then I’m left there with my grandparents who force me to go to church, learn catechism, learn about God, cut my hair and watch as my toys are given away to the less fortunate. Be a good fucking child. AND FOR WHAT!? WAS I A HORRIBLE CHILD BEFORE???? DID I DESERVE BEING SENT TO MEXICO?? Then out of the blue I’m back in the States. LET’S JUST PRETEND THAT NOTHING FUCKING HAPPENED. But everything changed. I am no longer daddy’s little girl. I have a little sister. She is sick. So everything is changed. Learn to walk on eggshells. Learn to be invisible because your little sister is sick and needs to be kept calm. I tried to exert some sort of independence. DON’T DARE STEP OUT OF LINE BECAUSE I’LL BE SENT BACK. RIGHT BACK. An empty threat for the next 8 years.
You know who else knows its HER house? Her other two kids. One would rather live far away and never visit. The other prefers her abusive, alcoholic husband then trying to come home and escape it all. You know who else knows its HER house? Dad. Dad who stays for 48 hours before he leaves again. A stranger in his own home.
And with that being said, I get in the car, crying, and go to work. My abandonment issue has surfaced. Time to learn how to deal with it.