A few nights ago, I wondered what it would feel like to cut off my ears.
I remember thinking something similar when I was thirteen or fourteen. I was in the car with my mom, sitting in the passenger seat as she screamed at me. This I was used to – what scared me was how she had formed her hands into fists and was punching the leather of her seat as well as the surface of the dashboard. While I cannot claim to remember exactly what had caused her anger, I do recall that it was something insignificant. Perhaps I had closed the car door a little too loudly. Maybe I looked at another boy who walked by for a little too long.
But, as she spewed poison and purged her anger, I thought to myself: I wonder what would happen if we got into a car accident right now. I wonder how much of myself I would be willing to give away for her to disappear. I proceeded to bargain mentally – would losing an arm be worth not having to put up with the abuse anymore? How about an arm and a leg? All of me?
Looking back, I realize how melodramatic and shallow those thoughts were. However, just a few nights ago (I think it was Wednesday) the thought of eliminating my ears crossed my mind. To sum up the scenario, my mom’s new job has been stressful, so she took it out on me that night. I had to stay up until 1:30 AM to get an assignment done, and at one point I was working on assignment while crying – unfortunately, my tears soaked the sheets of paper so badly that I had to start over.
The next day, my mother picked me up from school and told me that she had talked to my father. She called me a liar and an unappreciative brat, but she also told me that my dad told her to leave me alone. She told me that he said this: I’ll work two jobs, I’ll work as many jobs as I need to… just leave him alone.
I can’t properly express how much those words meant to me. To stand up to my mom is to fight a manipulative snake with the strength of a bull – almost impossible without some serious injury. I don’t know anyone who’s combated her without being severely burned.
All my life, my mom has dealt physical and emotional blows to me, my brother, and my father. Believe it or not, females can also harm their families, not just males. My father, a quiet, intellectual man, has always stood as my pillar of support. Similar to my grandparents, he listens to me on the weekends when I talk about school and society and politics. I don’t see him on the weekdays, ever, because he’s always working to provide for my family financially. He’s been described as a genius by his coworkers, and had to overcome salient struggle to make it where he is today.
I can’t even come close to fully describing how much I owe my father. Unlike my mother, he’s never yelled at me or hit me without reason. Unlike my mother, he listens to me and loves me unconditionally. He’s a little awkward, yes, but I love awkwardness – he’s where I get any of the brains that I have as well.
I’m not one to work for other people. I don’t try to fulfill the expectations placed upon me by my mother, or by society. I study and work hard because it’s my choice – because I know what I need to do to accomplish my goals, and to make a difference.
But if there’s one person who I will actively attempt to make proud, it’s my father. He’s made me realize how lucky I am – and he’s the one who made me believe that I have the power to make it better for those who aren’t as fortunate.