I have been thinking a lot lately with my birthday and me being sick for the past six months. Its some of the things people have been telling me. Trying to define me. The funny thing I keep replaying in my head is my core values. I value my family, my job, and the relationships I hold in my life. And I think its strange, my values have always stayed the same, but for some reason, I seem to have changed. And its not my core values, its how I practice them.
I know many of my newer friends did not have the pleasure of knowing me through the roughest part of my life which began four years ago when we first moved to south Carolina so it seems to me, none of the people I truly love really knows who I am, who I was, or even what I stand for. Aside from being a feminist, a strong woman, and the daughter of two very powerful people (and I do truly believe my parents are powerful given what they endured and fought for to give me and my siblings).
So here I am.
Not the same girl I was two years ago, not the same girl I was a month ago. And I know living with Chrys has helped me define myself and it has helped me grow in a different way.
Four months ago, when we first came here, I was excited for change and new experiences. Shortly after living here, I really started to hate it. I was harassed and mistreated my entire senior year at Rock Hill High, threatened several times even. But none of that matters any more.
I got a job which we all know I take great pride in I love. I have never found more joy in something in my entire life but I love being surrounded by people that are as lost as I often find myself, and that’s exactly what my customers are; lost people, looking for something new and different.
I remember the day I met Miss Kathy. The day I met Jessica, Liam, and Tyler, so vividly. I form strong, close relationships with people very quickly and I am not easy to let go of that.
I could talk about the abuse I endured at the hands of every one of them in detail, but that would take all day, night and week. More so, I’d rather talk about the abuse I endured at the hands of the one person I did think I loved and I did see a long future with. I loved Dan, but honestly, I don’t think I really did. I think I was stuck in the comfort of something so close. I am an addict. To control, relationships, and intense connections to certain things.
My parents say I have broken wing syndrome. That I have a strong desire to fix people, but that’s not the case. I bought into it for a long time thinking I needed to work on my strength and independence but I think Liam and the deciding point. Because I never wanted to fix him, I just wanted to submerge myself in his lengthy stories about the afterlife, which I have never believed in, and beauty in the earth that we live on. Even more so, with Dan, I never wanted him to change or be fixed, really, I just wanted to feel I had a control over the direction of my life. And Tyler… I don’t want to talk about yet.
I know it seems I wanted to fix Jessica. But I never really did. She caused me so much pain, but all I really wanted was to have a positive female relationship in my life. And I fell in love with her because of her story telling. With her, and Liam both, life felt like a Shakespeare love story. Fast paced, and very dramatic, I was always the leading lady, pined over and loved with intense desire and passion. My own story telling trapping just about everyone I have become close to. Passion, love, desire, all words that evoke such strong emotion, I use them very well.
Still, broken wing syndrome, a big way to say the victim. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to tell my dramatic stories about how I was abused, victimized, and mistreated, however, I have never once been a victim. Not when I was thirteen, seeing my best friend get raped by someone we babysat for, not three years ago when Jessica called me every nasty name in the book to bring me to her level, and certainly not a year and a half ago when I stood next to Liam in his kitchen arguing over my rights as a woman and a human being.
I have never been stronger than that day. And I know its an arguable act, but it is what it is and everything truly is subjective. As I see it, I am no victim, because everything he did, I reacted to with strength and power and even though he took something important from me, I took something even more important from him, and that is his strength as a man.
My tattoo, I wear over my hip, I know everyone has heard the story. It is a celtic trinity knot which stands for many things. To me, it is the mother, maiden, and crone. And fertility, over the one thing that makes me stronger than any man, my ability to bring life into the world, his ability to force life into this world, and more so, my ability to take that all away with a single, painful move. A constant reminder that I am strong, and I am weak both at the same time.
My past, circling my present, and deciding on my future. What Chrys means to me, he is without a job, without really anything to offer me but himself, the only thing I truly want in this life. Not needing to be in control any more. Letting life just happen, and hoping for the best for myself. He is my one big selfish act, and in that he is the best decision I have made yet, because I am not healthy, I am not rich, but I am being taken care of for once, and I can very firmly say that I am in the best place I have ever been.
The only constant in life is change. As I see it, I was letting change happen before. Watching the destruction that it brought into my life, but now, change isn’t just happening, I’m pushing change where I want it to go.
Its funny, people keep asking me what I’m doing at Winthrop University. Its like, you come out of college a complete person and unless you go, you can never fully understand life, but that is nowhere near true. Dan was sixth in his class, all A’s in college. He is nowhere near a complete person, in fact, he will probably never be as successful as I am and that’s all because I know who I am, and he doesn’t.
My boss, Cindy asked me the other night. We were closing together, the store completely empty but the two of us at 11. And she asked me how school was going, and I just cried. And that was all I did. I have never hated something as adamantly as I hate Winthrop University. The campus is beautiful, I have wonderful opportunities to meet new people and experience things I know Chrys may never get the joy to even know about. But I can feel it in my bones, something that evokes such strong feelings of hate, pain, and anger. Doing something I hate, knowing I have no choice.
I never knew psychology was such a terrible place to be. I never knew teachers could be so misguided. I never knew I could be as unhappy as I was reading the e-mails my Woman’s Studies teacher sent me the other day. At this point, my classes are ending up to spread out. I don’t know when I’m going to graduate, but I really wish it could be today so I could be done with this place and all the unhappiness it has brought me. I have never felt so mistreated, segregated, and oppressed due to my silent nature. When a teacher will grade you based on how many days you attended and how much you speak up in their class…. I find it odd that a psychology professor would judge someone so harshly on something that it impossible to fairly grade. Something so biased, so misguided, and so wrong. Because I remember, high school, middle school, and elementary school, grades were the top priority. But here, they want you to throw yourself all in to be judged. Body, soul, and mind. I have the skills to be amazing, and I am intelligent, so why does anything else matter? Even York Tech wasn’t this bad. But I truly believe that Winthrop is a terrible college and I would have been better off going to NIU or USC. Anywhere but here.
My point, I am very aware that I am not the little girl I was a while ago. But you cant say that the change is bad, or that I’m not me, because my core values have stayed the same. The only difference is how I practice them. I am a lot less silent. A lot stronger. And I would defend myself to the death. Someone once called me a martyr back in rock hill high for an argument I started between many of my class mates. And at the time, I didn’t know what that meant. But now that I do, I don’t understand why it is a bad thing to be so passionate about the world we live in, the lives that we lead, and the people that we love, that I would die for the things that mean the most to me. Even more so, that is a concept most religious people could understand, in fact, anyone in love, anyone with children, or anyone that has been oppressed and abused, and that’s just about everyone on our little planet.
And yes, I know Chrys doesn’t have much to offer and I deserve an amazing future. So how about looking at the little facts I present you with. I’m no longer taking antidepressants. I have not had a panic attach in months. He is the only person I have remained completely faithful to, and despite his situation, he is one of the few people I have ever felt treat me like an equal. He does not hit me or call me names. He does not leave me to do all the work. He comes with me when I need him. He is here. And that is why I moved in with him in the first place. He has brought me a sense of stability and control, enough to help me let go of the control I needed before, and enough to make me a complete and happy person, able to take care of myself, and to say no when I need to.