Lonely is a Strong Word

Dearest readers,

I have been extra introspective (extraspective?) lately. I’ve gone astray in my own mind with the past, present, and future. It’s almost like the Christmas Carol ghosts are wandering about my mind, though they haven’t given me a good reason as to why (and it is not even Halloween yet, so the season is no excuse for them, either). In times such as these I’ve learned to do my best to drift through it all until my mind calms down, and, in the words of an inspiring, little blue fish, just keep swimming.

Last night specifically, one topic was on the main stage of my brain- the concept of being alone. For most of my life, I have always been alone to some degree. It took me ages to realize being surrounded by people was not enough to make a person, especially a chronically ill person, feel supported and loved. I can think of countless times when I was within a group of people, whether it be family, friends, or other, and yet felt completely empty and alone.

On reflection, it seems this was because more often than not I was around the wrong sort of people. Sometimes I was around people who were nice, though not on the same page as me, while other times I was around those who were physically and emotionally abusive. I was also with people who were honestly trying their best, but just couldn’t understand what I was going through because they had never experienced what I had, and didn’t quite know how to handle me. And so, I remained alone.

The past few years I have lost a lot of people in my life for various reasons, and it has been rough on my heart. It’s difficult thinking you are close to a person only to find out the relationship (whatever type of relationship it might be) was unhealthy and skewed. Slowly I am learning that being mistreated is not worth being able to say you have people around you, which is a useful less to learn, though going through the loss cycle multiple times  has made me feel a plethora of confusing emotions.  While logically I know I am healthier without abusive people in my life, it doesn’t hurt any less. Then there is also the fact that I have anxiety disorder and depression, both of which are talented in making me feel alienated and lonely in the worst possible ways.

All of these experiences have led me to note a defect in my own personality, where nowadays I seem naturally inclined to feeling completely isolated and like I’m doing this whole life thing solo. It’s easy to think that I have done everything by myself when now, I have no parents or family (save for my darling grandmother) to guide me, and even when I had them, they were far from helpful. However, this default can make me forget those that have worked to the best of their ability to ensure that I am not alone at all, and that just doesn’t seem fair.

My boyfriend and his family, for example, have done nothing but shower me with love since I’ve met them. Emotionally, they made me feel at home immediately, and later on gave me a physical home when I had nowhere else to go; were it not for his grandmother, I would have been one step closer to living in a homeless shelter, (though just last week another dear friend said she would have never let that happen to me, which only furthers my point).

There’s also the small pile of friends who jumped to help me move twice within six months (once in an ice storm) even though I didn’t have the money to pay them with beer or pizza, per the moving custom. There are my friends back home, like the one who has literally kept the same txting conversation going with me for a year, or another who for the past two years has always, always made the effort to call me when she can. Not to mention my Social Worker and her agency, who have brought me up from some of the darkest years of my life.

It’s true that I still do a great deal on my own, and I try to be independent as I can. But sometimes I need help, and in the most dire times, these people and the other great humans in my life haven’t let me down. At my worst, when it seemed like I was absolutely alone here in Missouri, I had several friends from back home that would always answer my calls when I was in self destruct mode, leaking heavy, painful tears.

Though numbers wise I have less people in my life now than I ever had before, I have never been less lonely, because the people I do have do so much to make me feel supported and loved. They try to help me find solutions when I am stuck, they actively listen to me when I am unwell and need comfort, and they consistently reassure me that despite how bleak my life may look, I’m never truly alone. I hope that the way I live and treat the people I care about constantly proves my gratitude.

I’m living proof that in the absolute worst of times, there is still another way, and good people to help us through them.

Eleanore Vs. Too Much and Never Enough

Dearest little snowflakes,

I’ve been under house arrest! Well, sort of. Between all of Missouri being in Icepocalypse (the news came up with the name, not me. Dramatic much?) and the virus that I still have not been able to beat, I have done a whole lot of nothing. In many ways this is good, as I am a chronically ill and disabled person who is usually not allowed to care for myself as I am busy keeping my life from turning into a supernova. The storm and my virus have both forced me into a state of self care, which my body appreciates, though I am quickly becoming restless.

Restlessness for me often leads to introspection…and a lack of sleep. So, this morning around 4a.m I found the last appointment I had with my psychiatrist on shuffle in my brain. I went to visit him Thursday and I caught him up on my life, which is tasking since I only see him once a month. I explained with enthusiasm my plans to set off on the next adventure in my life which includes taking a leap of faith. As my words flew out of me like fireworks, he listened intently before finally saying, “I can’t help but think as excited as you are, there’s fear behind your words, too.” What is he, like a psychiatrist or something? He was completely right.

Acknowledging fear for me has always been easy. The dissection of it is what I find intimidating. As the conversation descended into my past, I was overcome with memories which naturally set my PTSD into action. Growing up, my mother made sure that every emotion expressed was negated. If I was upset, angry, saddened or in pain she would tell me I was overreacting, a bitch, selfish, worthless…you get the idea. I look back on crying in my bed from the pain caused by my many illnesses; she would blast open my door furiously, ask me what was wrong, then scream at me to stop crying. The only thing she did worse than this was never coming to check on me at all after hearing my calls and screams, which happened more as I got older.

My suffering as a teenager was only ever relieved by my beautiful older sister, who we’ll call Sissy. Often after my mother would scream at me, Sissy would gently knock on my door. I’d be laying in my bed, my spine and legs engulfed in horrific pain, barely able to breathe without screaming. She would be so compassionate towards me, a rarity in our household, and would either hold my hand or rub my back while I cried myself to sleep. The severe pain would cause nausea to the point where I was unable to eat anything, so my sister would make home made chicken soup while I rested. She would bring me food in bed because I was unable to walk. Her affection towards me was my silver lining in a life full of constant nightmare that she too was living. After all, Sissy was only five years older than I living in the same dreadful home.

It wasn’t until last year that my sister told me on days like these, my mother would go to her and tell her, “go deal with your sister.” Despite being endlessly appreciative of my sister’s kindness during some of the most painful days of my life, my heart breaks thinking that my mother had to pawn off my care onto my sister because she was just that inept at being a mother.

The discussion with my psychiatrist carried on and I realized that my mother did not only stifle the negative emotions I expressed, but the positive ones as well. Whenever I felt accomplished, I was told I that I was too thrilled about what I had done. When I was happy, I was told no one particularly cared that I was, and that expressing my happiness was selfish. When I was excited, I was told, “it’s not that big of a deal.” By the end of my appointment I was reduced to tears and bullets of memories were piercing through me. I felt shaken, terrified by the worst memories we spoke of (which I will not write about as to not trigger myself) and on the verge of a panic attack.I was disheartened because I was sickened by my own life.

Wiggling about my bed in the early morning, replaying all of this in my head lead me to one conclusion; for all the time I have been alive I have always been seen by others as either too much or never enough. I’m either too deep or too silly, too excited or too worried. I’m never good enough, pretty enough or healthy enough. If I’m elated I’m manic and if I’m saddened I’m depressing. Through it all I have come to a conclusion:

I AM SO EXTREMELY TIRED OF BEING TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH. 

It is no secret that I am hyperaware of my flaws, but now I am beginning to understand that while it is true that I am chronically ill and altogether imperfect, I’m not the only problem. Some in my life kept me feeling inadequate in order to keep me on their leashes,  while others I have loved intended to keep me weak and therefore easily abused while remaining attached to them for fear I’d be unable to survive on my own. I’m only now understanding that they were not healthy people to have in my life and as I grow I fight to rip myself away from them, even when it is the most painful.

I have been minimized, gaslighted, and hurt endlessly by people I lent my trust to, only to have it exploited. There is so much wrong with me and I fully admit it; but what makes me more than my faults is that I not only admit it, but I fight to care and strengthen what is wrong with me to the best of my ability, so that rather than being a part of my pain, my pain is a part of me. That makes all the difference, as I am only now starting to learn.

I may be chronically ill and damaged from the abused life I had no choice but to make my way through; but I work to take all my damage and pain and create something truly wondrous out of it. That is what I feel my purpose is, and for the first time, I feel that I actually do have a purpose. That’s a big deal for someone being told they were worthless from the very start. I am hoping that with more time, help and support from those I love now, I will believe more and more that I am just the right amount of everything that makes me myself. After all, I never want to be less than myself. Why should I be?

For all the people who have been told they’re too much or never enough, I hope you make your way to self love and understanding, too. I’m just starting this journey, but I hope one day we can assure ourselves that we are good enough as our hearts swell with love and pride.

To read more about my experiences living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Click the blue right here! 

P.S – If you’ve seen the film Howl’s Moving Castle, you understand why I made it the feature image. If not, you should definitely drop all your obligations for the day and watch it right now. OR read more of my posts. Or both!

We are all that we are; so terribly sorry.

~Angels and Airwaves – The Moon-Atomic

 

Eleanore Vs. Maternal Chains

TW: Pregnancy, abuse, parental abuse

Dearest readers,

I am sometimes an unhealthily introspective person; I tend to obsess over thoughts that just get stuck in the subspace of my mind. Especially after the several big events that have happened recently, I’m now analyzing everything inside and outside of what it means to be Eleanore. Sometimes this brings me negative realizations and sometimes it brings positive ones, but usually each realization is a mix of both.

Today I was home alone and I was told to not to come into work. I got little tasks done around my home and played my bass a bit, but the whole time I was in deep thought about my current predicament of being mostly defeated, broke, and unsure of what’s to come. It was all quite overwhelming and saddening, and then I was bitch slapped by a memory that changed everything, at least for the moment.

My mother had an odd habit of suddenly breaking out in exceptionally out of place comments which were often cruel and hurtful. When I first became “official” with my first love, I was just about to walk out the door to go to school one morning when she felt it pertinent to blurt out, “you know if you were to get pregnant right now, you’d almost definitely miscarry, right?” I was crushed for the rest of the day, sobbing to my sister on the phone on the way to my first class. These interactions also bashed the wind right out of me, but never stopped coming.

Back home, in a strange land called California, there was a store called “The Starving Musician.” My mother and I used to pass it while we ran errands around the city. We were sitting quietly in the car when out of nowhere she told me, “you know, you can’t do that whole ‘starving musician’ thing. You’re too sick. You’d never make it.” This was only a few months after I started to my play bass guitar. I’m not sure what she intended for this comment to do to me, but I mostly found it jarring and insulting. I was only 13 at the time, and I couldn’t understand precisely why, but I felt the cut of her words deeply.

As I got older I realized that she was a very strange abuser in the sense that she would constantly complain about what a burden I was and would make me feel as unwanted as possible, while also working hard to make me believe I couldn’t possibly survive without her. She taught my sister and I that the world was a scary, dark, and dangerous place, that no one was to be trusted, that we were burdensome and worthless, and that without relying on her or being just like her, we would never get anywhere. As I have grown and have ventured outside the black veil my mother kept me hidden under, I realized just how very wrong she was.

There were so many times in my life when my mother would have violent fits and would tear me down any way she could because I made a decision without her consent. Even after I was able to drive myself, she was furious any time I even went to the hospital without her for regular appointments. She had the same reactions to me house sitting, going to see my friends, and pretty much anything else I would take part in. I was hopeful that this attitude would stop when I had moved away to Missouri; unfortunately she only became more verbally abusive and controlling.

For the last five months I have had no health insurance because I turned 26 in July and was therefore removed from my mother’s insurance. Soon after, she called me, explaining that because I was chronically ill, her work wanted to help me get extended coverage. I thought about it for a few days, and while the prospect of health insurance was wonderful, the thought of still giving her something to use as a chain around my throat sickened me. Every time she threatened to take my health insurance away for one reason or another haunted my mind. It was a difficult decision, but I ended up deciding that I would rather have no health insurance and finally break the chain that kept me under the clutches of my mother than have proper medical care while being chronically ill. When I am looking at my medical bills or am in a hospital bed I often relive the deciding moment; yet every time, I arrive at the conclusion that between two dreadful options, I chose the less harmful.

Currently my life is a mess, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified. However, I am often relieved that while I have to face that terror a hundred times every day, I don’t have to deal with it being layered with threats, abuse, hatefulness and unrealistic fear. As I’ve grown from child, to teenager, to a fully adulty adult woman, I’ve realized that most of the lessons I was taught as a child were horribly wrong and that they were actually not lessons at all. They were only chains used to keep me tied tightly to my abuser.

My life may be overwhelming, I may be chronically ill and have very little. Yet after 26 years I have finally started ripping apart the chains that my mother worked so tirelessly to keep me down with. I have discovered so much in my life, I have met so many beautiful people, and have been braver than I ever thought I could be in spite of every toxic seed she planted in my mind. While I often feel I haven’t got much to be proud of, I certainly have that.

I do not know what is next for me, but whatever it is, I promise to myself that I will be brave and adventurous. I will also mostly likely be anxious and scared, but  I promise that my fear will not stifle me. After 26 years of being raised in a world full of doubting and darkness, I am slowly but surely discovering what I’m really capable of.  I can’t do everything I’d like to, but I can still do spectacular and wonderful things.

I can live, I can thrive, I can create. I can break the chains placed around me at my birth. I have already started to.

I can, I can, I can.

It was a strange place and a tender age; I was just a babe in school,
Saw them roll their eyes at me every time that I thought that I was cool.
Well God knows I was no chosen one that just wasn’t my prime,
Yeah it’s just matter of time, honey, it’s just a matter of time.

~Work This Body – Walk the Moon (I’ve probably used this song before but it’s just SO good!)

A horse of a different color:  I am really struggling to survive right now. So, I am selling most of my things. Please consider purchasing (and convincing others) to help me pay for rent, gas, and my medical bills that are currently adding up to the height of Mt. Doom itself.

Click here to see jewelry.

Click here to see books.

Thank you for reading, from the bottom of my heart. 

Ellie Vs. Freedom? Sort of?

Dearest readers,

Being an adult-y adult is terrible burden. I often still feel like a teenager (and I’m told, despite being 25, that I look like I’m 17) and many times still dress as one (because my fairly new Nightmare Before Christmas Jacket is just the coolest and I don’t care what anyone says). Despite these qualities, it is very clear that I am not just kind of an adult like a 20 year old, but I am a mid-twenties adult as fuck adult that pays all my own bills and has my own apartment and who is very, very broke, but still has to pay for necessities anyway.

Money has generally been the bane of my existence (does anyone ever say that phrase and not think of the Batman villain?) since my beginning. My family struggled growing up, but my grandparents made life go on anyway, and I thank them for that. When I grew into an awkward teenager, my mother’s career improved a great deal, which meant that our money situation improved as well. I was still a broke teenager, but my mother began to buy me more things, and actually became a shopaholic. Yet whenever she had to pay my medical and ambulance bills, she would would have raging fits about the fact that I was a burden on my family, and that I would be the reason she’d go broke and/or lose her job; because everyone knows that disease and chronic illness is definitely the patient’s fault.

At 18, my health decided to go absolutely insane to the point to where I was practically on my deathbed, and no one knew why. I could not jump into the workforce like all my friends had. Instead of spending time in college, at bonfires, or at a crappy part time job, I spent most days in bed, though my environment switched often between hospitals and my own bedroom. For years, my existence felt meaningless and impossible. When I turned 22, I finally began to show improvement in my health, and I began to scramble to catch up to everyone else my age, but it became clear to me that I was already too late in the eyes of many, including employers, who were the ones I needed acceptance from the most.

So, long story still long but slightly shorter, I ended up having to be reliant on my mother financially much longer than I ever intended. When I moved to Missouri last summer, I had saved up enough money for both my move and to live off of while I looked for a job here. To my complete frustration and anger, my health once again decided to betray me and declined after my move, which meant that once again, I could not get any work.

While I was thankful that my mother kept paying for my health insurance after I moved out our home state where she remained, I was far less thankful for her constant manipulation and threats that she used against me, using my health insurance as her favorite weapon . Every time she decided to take her anger out on me, or we disagreed, the first threat to leave her mouth would be that she’d take away my health insurance as my punishment. Most recently, she decided to take away my health insurance as my “punishment for being selfish” because I decided to go visit my dying grandparents. I realize that sounds absurd. That’s because it is.

Now, at 25, I am broke, I am sick, and I have no insurance or parents to fall back on. Though my life most days feel almost intolerable, for the first in my life I am at least free from the abuse and manipulation of my mother. For the first time, I am under my own control. And that feels kind of amazing. She constantly told me I’d be nothing without her, but in reality, I’m doing just fine.

I don’t know what the word freedom really means to me. I was born on American Independence day, so some assume I’d have this down, but I truly don’t. If you live the “standard” life and work a job, have a family, friends, and all those other parts that we’re often told make up a human life, you’re never going to be completely free. You’re always going to have obligations. Sometimes I wonder if having obligations is not what makes a person free or not free, though. Could it be possible that freedom means that you aren’t obligation free, but that your obligations are ones that are necessary for your growth and well being? If you are obligated to your job, but it’s your dream job that you can’t wait to arrive to each morning, isn’t that freedom? The internet tells me that the definition of Freedom is:

The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

In theory I suppose that sounds pretty fantastic. However, in reality, I am quite thankful that no one has the freedom to kick me in the face for no reason, or to suddenly decide that my apartment is now their apartment. I’m starting to think that if you want to live among other people, you’re always going to be hindered by the rules your society has that makes it possible for all humans to safely and happily live amongst one another, and while it may be frustrating that you can’t do literally whatever you want to others, most people are usually relieved that others can’t just do anything to them, either.

My life has changed a great deal, and while I may have obligations to my boyfriend,  my landlord, and the companies we use to heat and light our home, these are all obligations that come with restraints that I don’t mind all that much, because I have the freedom to choose whether or not I want them. In the end, I may never be completely “free” as the definition suggests, but if I can live a life that has restraints that I choose, that make me happy to live within, and that benefit my life rather than stifles it, then maybe being “sort of free” is actually truly free after all, just not in the way Google’s dictionary explains it to be.

Or, maybe everything is a lie, and we really live in the Matrix, where we have no choice but to comply, even though we have no idea we’re complying to begin with.

Red or blue?

But good things come to those who wait, ’cause she laid me,

And mom and dad possess the key, instant slavery.
No need explain the plan, no need to even bother.
I’ll pack my bags, I swear I’ll run, wish my friends were 21.

You don’t belong, you left the kids to carry on.
You planned their fall, too bad you’re wrong.
Don’t need a mom, dad slave drive song.
I time bomb. I time bomb.

I time bomb.

~Blink 182 – Anthem Pt. 1 

Two Player Mode: Ellie and Han Solo vs. Childhood

If you think you might have The Force, please raise my hand.

Hehe. See what I did there? Anyway. Hi!

Life continues to kick my heart in the ass. So today, instead of talking about my current condition, we’re going to hop into a TARDIS and fly back to the 90’s, which for me, consisted of trolls (no, like…not the internet ones…like..the dolls), ice cream sandwiches, and, you guessed it, Star Wars.

Aaand now all the hardcore nerds are losing they’re minds, thinking, “HOW COULD THE 90’S BE ABOUT STAR WARS YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THEY CAME OUT IN THE 70’S FACTS FACTS FACTS FACTS THAT ONLY A FEW PEOPLE KNOW YOU ARE NOT A REAL FAN GO DIE IN IN HOLE AAAAHHHHHHH.” Okay. Calm the fuck down. Yes, I know Star Wars came out in the 70’s, but during the 90’s they re-released the films into theaters so all the little children in neon clothing could have their minds blown by Harrison Ford and cheap, yet effective, film tricks.

The first time I saw Star Wars was in theaters, between the ages of six and seven. I remember being absolutely terrified of Jabba the Hutt, and feared he would come out of the screen and eat me, but aside from that, I fell in love, especially with Han Solo. My mom raised her kids on Star Trek and the X-Files…so a movie trilogy about the adventures of space, my favorite theme ever? Pfft…I didn’t stand a chance.

The reason I love Star Wars, aside from it just being all together fanfuckingtastic, is because when I was little, my home was not exactly the best. While I was not nearly as sick as I am now, there were still a lot of problems. My mom was somewhat a young mother; she had my brother when she was only 21, and my sister when she was 23. She was married, but their father was in short, a truly horrible person. She got divorced, and then married my father, who unfortunately was an equally large douchebag, and was divorced again by the time I was 2. After fighting for custody for all three of us, she had nowhere to go, so her parents, my grandparents, took us in. The house was small, but they didn’t have enough money to buy a new one. So, we made it work with six people, in a small house, in a poor neighborhood.

My grandmother was and still is the heart of our family. She was a stay at home mother, and a stay at home grandmother. She made every meal for us, she cleaned, she took us to school, helped us with homework (as best as she could despite being an immigrant with very little education, that is), and was also my angel and my protector against the rest of my family. My mother and grandfather both had and still have horrible anger issues, and generally always made my siblings and I feel like we were burdens on them. Living in that house was constantly like playing with fire…any second, even a bit of smoke would cause an enormous explosion, and everything would fall apart. We got in trouble for everything, and it was a general nightmare.

On top of that, my grandfather was also an alcoholic. That meant he’d steadily get more and more angry as the day went on, because he started drinking around 9am and wouldn’t stop drinking until 9pm. There were fights every single day about all kinds of things. However, one of the most constant ones was on the subject of race, and about the fact that his grandchildren were terrorists and horrible, disgusting Arabs.

Let’s back up a minute to give you my racial and religious layout: My mother’s family comes straight from Austria. My grandmother is Catholic and my grandfather was Catholic until The War (In my family, The War meaning WW2) killed his father, and he became furiously god hating (I refuse to call him Atheist because surprise, surprise, not all Atheists are angry, violent, god haters). My mother, raised as a Catholic anyway, converted to Islam in college because, as she told me, she just sort of liked it better. She met my siblings’ father, who was from Jordan, and after that divorce was with my father, who was from Egypt. So, after all that, I ended up as a half Egyptian, half Austrian, raised very religiously as a Muslim, in an Austrian/Catholic household, in a predominantly Vietnamese and Mexican neighborhood in America. How’s that for diversity!

Nowadays, I just say that I was raised to be half Catholic and half Muslim, because at the end of it all I think that is the most true thing I can really say. We celebrated both types of holidays, and that really would have been okay if it wasn’t for my angry, alcohol-filled grandfather. As we grew up, my sister became more involved with Islam, while my brother became an All-American cowboy type in order to overcompensate for the fact that he attributes his painful past with religion and being half Arab, which in reality has nothing to do with our past at all. I know for a fact that you can be any religion, gender and race and still either be a giant dick or a wonderful person. I’m honestly not really sure what my mom is anymore, but as for me, I get the most out of studying all religions, because in reality they have a whole lot more in common than they are different. My grandmother would always tell me during the fights that there is one God, and that everyone sees God differently, but it doesn’t make them wrong. I think that’s a good way to sum up what I think.

Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be about Star Wars? Yes! It is!

The older I get, I find that most of my childhood memories are fading away. Which makes sense, because every day I get new memories, not to mention I’ve been told by most therapists that I’ve suppressed like 80% of it. One memory, however, still remains incredibly vivid. There was one night where my grandfather snapped, as always. Sometimes the fights would calm down, and other times they would erupt to where we would have to leave for a while until my grandfather went to sleep. This particular time was the latter. I heard my grandfather screaming at my mother, and her screaming back. I remember him calling us dirty Arabs, and saying something along the lines of, “I better sign up then, because otherwise we’ll all have our heads chopped off.” That was a pretty scary thing for a little kid to hear, because at the time, I had literally no idea what he was talking about.

Sidenote: Contrary to popular belief, being raised as a Muslim, I was never told to kill people, that others who weren’t like me were going to hell, or that I was supposed to take over the world. We mostly prayed for people who were suffering and were told to be kind, and that if you have the ability to help someone, whether with money, food, or just simply comfort, it is your responsibility as a human being to help another human being, regardless of religion or race. I didn’t stop being Muslim because it was violent, or dangerous. I stopped being Muslim because I was also taught that God knows what is in your heart, so he knows if you are doing something for the right reasons or wrong reasons, and if you are praying just to look devoted, or if you actually meant it in your soul. And for some reason, I didn’t feel like I did mean it, so I went to find out why. I also stopped going to Masjids because while the religion never really made me feel judged, the people in the particular community I was in did. Being mixed race was awfully hard, and made me an outcast in the community I was involved with. But it’s made me an outcast in most social groups I’ve ever been a part of…that’s why I don’t belong to any of them anymore. Anyway, I digress.

After all the screaming and slamming, my mother hurriedly grabbed her kids and packed us into her forest green mini van, and took us to the theater. We were all quiet with tears in our eyes, not really sure what to do. I was standing in the hallway watching my mom and grandfather fight, and I don’t know where my siblings were, but it was so loud you didn’t even have to be in the same state to hear them.

Having to deal with racism in general pretty much sucks. When it’s in your family, it sucks even more than usual, because you can’t walk away from it. Anyone who has dealt with racism knows you can never truly walk away because it always hangs over you, but in my case, I couldn’t even go home and shut the door and hide like I wanted to, because it infested my hiding place too. I had no escape from it. I dealt with it in school and I dealt with it at home…but home was worse, because the person who was supposed to protect me, who was supposed to be the closest thing to a good father I could have, absolutely hated me for something I had no choice in. That made my heart ache. It still does sometimes.

We sat in the car for a while, and my mom hugged my brother who was sitting in the front seat. Then my sister and I climbed over the benches, and hugged her too, and we cried more. My family’s life has always been painful and traumatic, and we hid it well, but sometimes it leaked out because it just became too much. Despite my mother’s anger, and me still not getting along with her even today, she sincerely tried in her own way to be a good mother, she tried to keep us safe, and tried be a strong woman. And every now and then, her hard facade would be let down for just a little while, and we saw that despite her being a mother, despite her being strong, she was ultimately just a scared human being, like us. And I could never blame her for that. I was scared too.

We finally composed ourselves and we went to buy tickets. I don’t think my mom really cared what we watched, but she happened to choose Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. We sat in the theater, our hearts rattled. We didn’t really pay attention to the previews, and we didn’t think we cared about the movie either. But then, that famous composition blared from the speakers:

BA BA BA BAAAAA BAAAAA

BA BA BA BAAAAAAAAAA BA

BABABABA BAAAAAAAA BAAAAA

BABABABA BAAAAAAAAAA

And those opening lines started scrolling, which I probably didn’t read, because I was seven. But I looked at those words, and I looked at those stars behind them, and my heart stopped rattling, and instead sat still, and I felt like everything was going to be okay. At one point during the movie, I looked over at my sister, and then at my brother, and they were both smiling brightly, in awe of everything that was going on, their faces lit up by the movie screen. I looked at my mother, too. She wasn’t smiling…but I hoped she was on the inside…a little at least.

We came out of the theater, and my brother decided he’d call the movie, “Return of the Jenny.” We didn’t know anyone named Jenny, and till this day I have no idea why that was so funny. But at the time, it was hilarious. We walked out to the parking lot, and it was late, and we were small and tired, but the mood of my family had changed. The pain of what happened wasn’t gone…but Han Solo, Chewy, and Luke dulled the pain a little. I remember the sky being incredibly clear and black; it must have been summer. I remember looking up, and thinking that they were all up there celebrating the defeat of the Empire. I was so happy for them, but my heart sank a little, realizing that I’d have to go home to Vader. I wished with all my little heart that we wouldn’t have to go home, but I knew it was inevitable. That left me with one choice only; it was time to become a Jedi.

Well. This has by far been the hardest thing to write. I don’t talk very much about my past at all, for obvious reasons. But to anyone who read this in its entirety, I sincerely thank you.

And P.S. I know Han Solo isn’t the only hero, or even the main one. But to me, he is the coolest. Ever. And now, I leave you with a quote as always, one that is very, very dear to my heart.

Beep beep beep whistle, whistle boopdoop baboop whistle.

-R2D2, Star Wars