My mother has always spewed venom at me. Barbed words that wither my soul, sharp insults that dampen my spirit, and putdowns that have perforated my self-esteem. Of course she has supplied me with many opportunities which I am grateful for, but overall, I cannot say that she has served as a shining example of the type of person, or parent, I strive to be.
She and I have a toxic relationship. When we’re together, the air is thick with tension, as I wait for her to send some stinging comment my way. I’m always on edge, my mind a mix of worry and fear and panic. I don’t dare speak, as anything I say could be used against me. I manipulate my posture perfectly so she doesn’t accuse me of standing up too straight or slouching. I think of the future, of what life will be like when I am free from the confines of this curse.
Usually, when she instigates her invective and begins to break me down, I am too weak to resist. Even though I haven’t been hit in years, her words wash away any remaining remnants of my resolve. I am destroyed.
But, a few weeks ago, when she has started screaming and yelling at me, I’ve recognized things I haven’t before. I’ve realized how her insults lack logic, how what she says does not actually affect me or pertain to my qualities as a person. I’ve realized that she is a snake, throwing toxic at me in the form of terrible words.
There are many things that are toxic. Thoughts can be toxic. If a person mentally and continuously replays negative thoughts about themselves, they are poisoning themselves and trapping themselves in a cycle of hurtfulness and depression. As I’ve touched upon, relationships can be toxic. When you can’t get along with a person because they are always mean, or because they cannot communicate in a productive way, or because they are simply spiteful and hateful for no real reason, the bond is not beneficial and in fact venomous.
Once you’ve recognized that something is toxic, you need to move away from it. Things that are toxic usually cannot be fixed or ameliorated – once you know that they are irreparable, escape as soon as possible. That way, once you are free, you will be able to recover and reinvigorate yourself. You will heal.
This summer, that’s what I’m doing. From June 17 to June 23 I studied government at a college in southern Virginia, and from June 24 to the last week of July I’ll be participating in an elite program for Virginia’s brightest students at another university. Even though I’ve only been here for two days, I’ve already learned so much – my professors are lively and intelligent, and all of my peers are intrinsically motivated and intellectual. The ability to go study at the university’s library whenever I want to or to go out for a walk whenever I feel like it is just so splendid. It feels like freedom, in its purest form.
I’ve always talked about the future, about getting away and living my life as I please. About being able to make a positive difference in the world while expanding my own mind and increasing my own intelligence. Now, and for the next few weeks, I’m experiencing a preview of what will come in a little more than a year.
Finally, I’m turning away from toxic.
Thoughts? This is just an update on what I’ve been doing this summer and why I haven’t been posting as frequently as I would like to. The internet here is a little wacky, but I’ll try my best to post as much as possible. I’m learning so much, and, to put it bluntly, I’m really loving it here. I hope everyone else is having a marvelous summer as well, and I also hope to hear from you guys soon!