I’ve been free for nine weeks now.
I wish I could say my life is so much easier. While I am physically out of prison, emotionally, my mind is in a prison of its own. It’s a lot harder to escape that prison. I can’t just walk away like I did before. It doesn’t work that way. My mind still believes I am in danger. My mind still believes I am going to be hurt. It is something I can only hope will heal with time.
I threw out the keys to my old house today. I don’t even know why I had been holding on to them all this time. I took them out of my nightstand, held on to them for a few minutes, and then tossed them in the trash. I don’t need them anymore. I won’t ever be going back. I would rather die before subjecting myself to that ever again.
I couldn’t help but think how something as small as a set of keys helped my mother continue her control over me for years. I wasn’t even allowed to have any keys to the house until I was in my 20s. Even then, I never had every key. She’d always make up some nonsense excuse as to why I couldn’t have every key. I knew the real reason. If I didn’t have every key, that meant I couldn’t sneak out and get back in without her knowing. It was her way of keeping me contained. And it worked. I never left. The fear of her finding out was too real. It also didn’t help that she took up residence five feet away from the door…literally, she slept just feet away from the door. No one was ever getting past her unnoticed.
A mail key was another thing I never had the privilege of having. I was never given a key. I was never allowed to check the mail. The mail had to be inspected by her first. Oftentimes, I would be questioned about mail she deemed “suspicious” (from out-of-state, from a name she didn’t know, hand-written addresses, etc.). A friend from a few states away had mailed me something a few years ago, and my mother interrogated me about it. “Who is this person? When did you meet her? What does she do? What does she know about us? What did she send you? Why?” The questions seemed like they never ended. The interrogations would last over a span of several days. Eventually I got smart and had “suspicious” mail sent to my job instead. I could usually intercept it there and avoid any issues altogether. But even that was a hassle. I had to turn down a lot of opportunities for mail because I didn’t want to risk my mother finding out about it.
My mother didn’t want me sending out mail, either. If I wanted something mailed, I had to go through questioning first. I used to find ways to sneak around her. I remember in 8th grade, I asked a classmate to bring me a stamp so I could mail a letter to someone. I ran to the mailbox after school let out and dropped it in before anyone noticed. My plan failed though, because I didn’t think the person would write back to me. Sure enough, my mother opened that “suspicious” mail and all hell broke loose. I broke one of her major rules of talking outside of the family. I got the shit beaten out of me for days. I never had the desire to write another letter again. I should have known better. She always finds out.
It’s weird how I never really thought about all of this until today when I picked up those keys. For the longest time, it was just a part of my normal. I never really thought about how messed up shit really was. I wonder what drove me to break the rules when I was younger. There was so much fear there, and for good reason, yet a part of me still wanted a taste of freedom and went for it. I know I had that desire to break free later in life, but now I can relate some parts of my earlier life to having that same desire. I just wish it didn’t end up causing me more pain.