An Instagram story got me here:
Inquiring minds wanted to know, so I am here to deliver.
What I am supposed to feel comfortable calling home has always been the complete opposite.
I was about 12 when I started forming my own opinions, questioning everything I'd ever known, and going against my parents' grain, especially when it came to church.
If I gave all of the details of that era, we would be here all day, but in short: a lot of yelling, physical altercations, and feeling misunderstood. But, you would never know because my family does a great job putting on a show for the public, while behind the scenes, it's always a completely different story. After all, we were the church's first family; we don't want any scandals coming out, do we?
I've always been the go-getter, independent, know what I need to do to get to where I want to be, and if I didn't, I promise, I'd figure it out. As I got older, I got the scholarships, the praise from my teachers, the features in the city newspaper. All of which my parents never hesitated to use to boast among their own peers, but to me, it was never good enough.
I won a full-tuition scholarship when I was 14 years old and watched as my father sat at the banquet table and told my new mentor, "I want her brother to be better than her." That was the day I stopped trying to please them, but also the day I cashed my ticket to leave their house. I just had to wait 4 more years.
So I finally left, but I hated everything about college and knew it within my first week. But I had my own freedom, my own room, set my own boundaries, and didn't have to answer to anyone. Be in an environment I didn't like, but keep going and see if it gets better, or go back to living with up to 12 people, sharing a bed, a noisy house filled with arguments, constantly being belittled, and fighting. So I chose the lesser of the two miseries.
I went through college with no outside financial support, an empty fridge, decided to stop trying to repair a relationship with my father that was just non-existent (we didn't speak once my entire freshman year). Actually, I went home for winter break and disclosed that I was donating plasma to buy necessities, and my parent's reaction was: "what will people say if they find out you're doing that for money." Not out of concern for me, but their image like always.
I was super depressed my sophomore year, couldn't sleep, or drive at the time because of my anxiety. One night I felt a bit on edge and like I would do something I would regret if someone didn't come to my dorm and take me back home. So around 2-3 am I called the people I'm supposed to feel like I can come to with anything and gave. run down about what was going on. Honestly, I still don't know what overcame my body that night. I remember staring at their names in my phone with my handshaking. I just needed help. Again, the concern wasn't for me and my well-being, but "how is it going to look if you leave or dropout. You're supposed to be the first one to finish."
Once COVID hit, I took the opportunity of college never being the same and moved back home. I thought that because I shared such a vulnerable moment with my parents, things would change once I got back home after not living there for 2 years. It went fine at first, but slowly got back to normal. I started feeling like I was wanted around, belittled, ignored. I think what hurt the most is that for the first time I allowed my parents to see me at my lowest and called for help, but I was failed. Not once did anyone ask me if I was okay after what I experienced.
They took emotional jabs at me whenever they got the chance to. I found myself avoiding areas in the house, or just staying in the room until they left the house. If they weren't talking at me, they wouldn't speak to me at all, which was honestly better to me.
One night, they were both talking about me in the kitchen. Harsh words. It was midnight, I'm not sure if they thought I was sleeping, but I wasn't. This was in October. I made a promise to myself to become 100% financially independent in 2021 and never go back there to stay/live for any reason. My goal was January 2021, but one weekend things got so bad that on November 13th I just packed up my car, went to my last therapy session in-person, and moved that day to another city.
I wanted to be far. I didn't tell anyone where I was going because no one deserved to know. All they know is that I left, and I hope no one is waiting for me because I'm never coming back. I wasn't emotionally prepared to move, but I was financially.
Save your money. Money holds a lot of power when it comes to your independence. Start with what you can. $10-$20 every paycheck, get another job if you have to where you dedicate your checks solely to moving out. Moving requires a deposit (unless you have a guarantor) which is usually 2x rent. I'll talk about this in another post because it's important.
Part of me was scared because I've always had that cushion. I was miserable in college, so I was able to go back to this house and live rent-free. Even though my parents never financially supported me, living in their house was still support in a form. I was at about 90% independent. Was it worth the mental headache? Never. But I don't have that cushion of security anymore.
You know what's funny? After two years of not living in that house, I didn't even last a year home. After 7 months, I packed my bags and left. I wasn't talking to my father anyways and really don't care to talk to the man ever again, but my mother has reached out:
How do I deal with getting messages like this? Remembering my why. I wasn't spoken to like this when I was in physical reach. I was belittled constantly, so I can't feel sorry for you feeling worried about me when I was in much worse situations, and no one cared. I have been guilted like crazy since I left, but I work through those feelings. I really only feel bad for leaving my sister and grandma behind, but that wasn't a strong enough reason for me to stay.
As I said, I could be here writing about this all day. I'm not sure what prompted me to write this, and on my favorite holiday of all days, but sometimes I feel the need to talk about certain things because I know there's someone out there who needs to hear it.