I faced a lot of abuse as a child. To this day, I still feel an ounce of panic when someone raises their voice, and I still flinch when anyone raises their hand, even if just for a high-five. One of my most vivid adolescent memories centers on the first time I saw a friend’s parents interact without shouting. It proved to me that non-dysfunctional families did exist outside of fiction, that some people did get along without hurting one another, and that maybe one day, I would find someone who understood me, too.
I do not want pity for my past, but I do want to talk about how I coped with my abuse: I developed a huge internal locus of control. Every time my mom lashed out at me or struck me, I always told myself that if I worked hard enough, I would survive and get out of my house. This strict regime I set up for myself had negative consequences – my eating disorder, for example – but for the most part, it worked. I escaped my house, and I made it into the Honors program of my current college, where I get to study Psychology and English, two subjects I love.
But life has proven me wrong. Within the past six months, my grandfather passed away, a best friend betrayed me and broke my heart, and a couple of other close friends from high school abandoned me. I had no control over any of these outcomes; no matter how hard I worked or how much passion I poured into my relationships, these external events slammed into me with a strength I never would have expected. They knocked me down almost as much as my mother’s abuse.
Now I know: I can only control myself. I have food, water, and shelter. I possess an untouchable compassion and inquisitive nature for people. I have never once stopped caring, and I have always been there, for others and for myself.
I need to learn how to just be, to let the storm soak me without trying to stop the rain. In a world with so much hurt, I will learn how to heal myself, by doing and by being. I will close my eyes and tell myself: you will be stronger than you have ever been before. And I will continue on this process of growth, on this journey of discovery – on my path to breaking free.
Thank you so much, as always, for all of your support. I appreciate every comment I receive, and though my personal life has obscured every chance I have to respond to comments, I will as soon as I can. May this warm weather bring more uplifting posts about subjects other than myself – Ariana Grande, academia, and more. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week.