Unafraid

My family members tell me that when I was little, my mom refused to change my diaper. My dad did, sometimes, but usually my grandmother would. Even at a young age, my grandmother was stepping in to provide the support I needed, when my mom wouldn’t dare to do so.

My mom made me cry a lot when I was little. Almost every day. I remember all the little mistakes I made, the endless missteps of an inexperienced toddler, always met with a sharp hand or stinging words. I don’t think I would have survived if it hadn’t been for my grandmother, who has lived with my family since the day I was born.

Every time my mother abused me, I would run to my grandmother. I would hold in my screams, tears trailing down my face, and just collapse and cry and wish I wasn’t born. I vividly recall screaming that I wish I was dead, over and over, as my grandmother consoled me and kept me from falling off the brink of despair. It’s safe to say that I did not appreciate her as much as I should have – if it hadn’t been for her constant compassion and patience, I may have committed an act I wouldn’t have been able to take back.

If it hadn’t been for my grandmother’s example, I could have ended up exactly like my mom.

Yesterday, my grandparents moved out. It was not an easy process. For the last few years, my mom has been tormenting them, even as they became weaker and weaker – my grandfather, barely able to hear, and my grandmother, who has Parkinson’s disease and was recently hospitalized. I don’t know why my mom terrorized them, similar as to how I don’t know why she terrorizes me. Perhaps she has a repressed psychological issue. Perhaps she’s simply emotionally unbalanced.

My grandparents playing bingo on a cruise. Those were the good old days.

Either way, they’re gone. I’m sincerely glad they have left. No one should be forced to live the few remaining years of his or her life constantly in fear. No one should have had to go through what they went through, for such a long period of time.

But now I’m alone. When my grandparents were here, my mom would keep her distance from me when they were around. Yes, she would hit, she would scream, but I always had someone to turn to. I had someone to ebb my tears, to tell me it would be okay when I wanted to give up and go under.

Today, I visited my grandparents in their new condo. It was cozy, comfortable, and most importantly, empty of my mother’s presence. They were happy, and I was happy that they were happy.

The first question my grandmother asked me after I arrived was, “Did she scream at you?”

Followed by, “Did she hurt you?”

I smiled and shook my head. My grandmother’s face softened and I could tell she felt relief. She proceeded to offer me grapes, strawberries, and everything else in her new kitchen. I laughed, and pushed back the growing pit inside of my stomach.

My grandmother loves it when I eat. I suppose she takes a sense of pride in providing for me what she herself struggled to attain.

And yet, here I am, by myself. My mom could come into my room at any moment and tear me apart. She could accuse me of being gay for wanting to wear the clothes that she threw away, she could look at the books I read and bite my head off for putting such trash in my mind, she could do anything and everything to put me down.

But I can’t let that stop me. I know, about twenty miles away, my grandmother is sitting on her new sofa, hoping and praying that I’m alright. She’s wishing that my mom won’t lay another hand on me until I leave for college, that she won’t bring me to tears before I can get away for good.

The thought of my grandmother worrying about me hurts me more than all of the possible poisonous and painful things my mom could do to me. That after all of these years – all those times she kept me alive – she still is unsure of my safety, of my well-being, of my ability to prosper.

I can’t let her down. I am gay, I do read weird books, and I have an uncountable amount of flaws. But no matter what my mother says to me or does to me, I am strong. Maybe by writing this post and publishing it to the world, my grandmother will somehow feel a sense of security, a sense that I have learned from her and will be okay without her.

A sense that, after seventeen years, I am unafraid.

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22 Comments

Filed under Personal

22 responses to “Unafraid

  1. By “uncountable number of flaws” you mean you are as we all are. Not perfect. I love how you write but sad about what you write. I do, however, find comfort in your strength.

  2. You are an incredibly strong person. That’s really all I have to say.

  3. Andreas

    I just love this post. It felt real and I truly hoped that this post will inspire a lot of people. Gosh, can’t believe how talented you are! And be strong always, I know that you can overcome this. 🙂

    • Yes, I wrote this post around 11:00 PM the day after my grandmother moved, so the emotions were fresh. Thank you for your support, I will look back on it when the going gets rough!

  4. I don’t really know what to say, but I’ll still try by saying I’m glad to know that you’re unafraid and I know that you’ll be okay.

  5. I hope you continue to stay strong in such a tough situation. I’ll be praying for you and your grandparents, because you all really deserve so much better. Keep strong and unafraid.

  6. Camilla

    I have been appreciating your blog now for a while and so I think it’s about time I leave a comment. You inspire me immensely, with your eloquence and wonderlful bookreviews- and how you continue to fight even when life’s tough. I am sure your grandparents couldn’t be more proud of you, you truly seem like a great, talented person. Maybe knowing that you have friends even on the other side of the planet can be a comforting thought as well 🙂
    Love, from Sweden.

    • It is much more than a comforting thought, it’s really an amazing feeling and one that I cannot fully appreciate just yet. Even though this is the first post you’ve commented on, it means so much to me that you’ve been reading my writing and that you have been silently supporting me from the sidelines. Thank you, Camilla.

  7. BS's mom

    Thomas, you know there are the two homes close by (in addition to your grandparent’s) if you need us, you just call.

  8. I read this when you originally posted it but didn’t know what to say – I don’t know you that much at all – but reading it almost made me cry, so I feel I have to say something. The love you and your grandma have for each other is … … I don’t have the words. But you’re both strong and your consideration for each other is heartwarming. There’s no doubt she would be incredibly proud of you if she were to know exactly how you felt about your mom, about her, and about yourself. And, yeah, it feels weird but I’m sending you love anyway. You’re incredibly brave already – just keep doing what you’re already doing.

    • Thank you, Lady D. I feel like my grandmother is more like my actual mom, in the sense that she has provided me with unconditional care and support since I was born. It’s weird only seeing her once or twice a week, but I know I’m lucky to see her at all. I will continue to write, thanks for the extra motivation. (:

      PS: I don’t know if you got my comment on your post about Life of Pi, but I finished it and wrote a review. Now I totally understand what you mean about wanting more and not settling.

      • Yeah, I guess it’s kind of similar to adopting mothers – only love defines who’s really a mother. And I don’t just mean keep writing – though you should definitely keep doing that – but just your bravery in the face of your situation. It must be hard to live with everyday but I know there’s bright sparks in your life, too, so I’m glad.

        Weird, no, I didn’t get that comment. I always reply so don’t think I was ignoring you. Yeah, it’s definitely one of those books that frustrated me – I still enjoyed it but it left my brain in a tangle.

  9. Pingback: Freshly Pressed: One Step Closer to Ruling the World | the quiet voice

  10. The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage.”
    ― Carrie Jones, Need
    I hope that you’ll find the happiness you deserve..
    I wish that you can live with the freedom to be yourself no matter what…
    Because happiness and freedom and courage are gifts that we give ourselves …even when the world strongly disagrees

    • I read Need awhile ago, that’s very true. I’m still searching for freedom and fighting for the freedom of others – thank you for reminding me of how intertwined happiness, freedom, and courage are!

  11. Kelly

    Hi Thomas, I don’t know how but I managed to stumble across your blog last night. I’ve been going through your posts since, and I couldn’t help but wonder – have you ever thought about putting a stop to your mother? I can’t imagine the pain you have gone through all your life. Surely there are social service out there that could have intervened? We’re you afraid of what might happen to your mother?

    Btw I’m from New Zealand.

    Stay strong!

    • Kelly, I should’ve contacted social services when I was way younger – but for the past few months I’ve been handling it and getting help in different ways. Last week I turned 18 and in a few months I’ll be heading off to college; I’m free now, in a sense. We’ll see where my relationship with my mom heads in the future.

      Thank you for your support! This post was definitely a turning point for me.

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