Today marks 14 weeks of freedom.
Sometimes I still question what the hell I’m doing here. I wish I could say my situation is ideal, but it isn’t. I’m living on savings. I’m still paying off my family’s debts. I made the decision to apply to grad school for the spring semester so I can take out loans to help support myself. It was one of the options my therapist brought up to me, and the most doable. I will still have time to manage my own mental health without completely exhausting myself. I can start trying to relate to those parts of me that need attention, attention that I just haven’t had the energy to give. I just need to stay on top of myself and make sure I finish the application in time, because otherwise I’m screwed.
My living situation is a mess at times. There are times when it’s okay. Then there are times when I am scared to be here. My roommate got herself into a situation the other night and yelled my name out to help her. It was the middle of the night. I had already heard them fighting before that and tried to keep myself grounded. When she yelled for me, I froze. Then I realized I had wet my pants…something I hadn’t done for weeks and had just told my therapist about it like it was the biggest accomplishment ever. In that moment, I’m not sure my mind knew that I wasn’t a child, that I wasn’t back at home, and that it wasn’t my mother yelling my name. I was in fear. So I cleaned myself up and left without saying a word. I didn’t even check to see if she was okay. I wasn’t even okay.
I guess I should be grateful to be out of my previous home situation, but I never intended to throw myself into a different unsafe situation. Maybe this is just the norm. Maybe my hope of one day living in peace is just a dream that can’t be fulfilled. I don’t know. I’ve been through enough already. Why do I keep getting hit with more? When do I get a break? Sometimes it seems more worthwhile to end up in jail. I’m already used to it. For now, I’ve resorted to wearing a Superman beanie to bed. I realize it’s a very child-like response to the things that have happened, but it’s a false sense of security that is working for me in the moment. Superman will protect me.
Today also happens to be my brother’s birthday. I’m not even sure why I care. Perhaps because it was so hard to ignore the disparity between how my brother’s birthdays were celebrated and how mine were. My brother always got what he wanted. He still does. My mother always forced me to buy him a birthday gift, even though I never wanted to celebrate him. I hated him. I hated how he was honored, yet when my birthday rolled around, it was just another day. I actually grew to hate my birthdays for a while until my friends at work started celebrating it like it should have been celebrated by my own family. Then, it didn’t matter to me how my family treated me on that day, because my friends and coworkers would always do enough to make me feel wanted.
I almost feel bad for my brother. Here he is now, in his mid-late 30s, still being controlled by our mother. He doesn’t understand that there is life without her. She doesn’t own him. She is not his wife (though she continuously acts as if she is). He is still following mommy’s orders like he is six years old. I will admit, his willingness to comply likely saved him a lot of pain in childhood. I got the brunt of the abuse because there was always a part of me that wanted to rebel, that wanted to go against my mother. I think my mother knew that, which is why she kept me under such tight control, yet allowed my brother a little more freedom. My brother did whatever she would say. He would believe anything she said. If she claimed the sky was green, he would eagerly agree with her. I could never do that, even as a child. It ended up causing me a lot more pain and anguish. Perhaps it would have been better for me to just comply like a good little soldier. But then where would I be? Like my brother? My brother is not free. He may very well never be free until the day she dies.
But I’m free. My mother no longer controls me. I may have a lot more scars than my brother, and a few more (diagnosed) psychological problems. But I’m free. I’m intelligent, I have a decent head on my shoulders, a good moral compass, and a sense of responsibility; all things my brother lacks. While the lack of those things may have saved him from some pain, it has only prolonged his prison sentence. I’ve been exonerated, and I’m never going back.