Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Confessions and Curveballs

My brother visited me this past Saturday at the end of his two week vacation. He drove into Tulsa from Salina, Oklahoma where my parents live and where he has been staying. My brother and I are in many ways complete opposites, but, I cherish his visits. Funny thing age, Daniel and I used to fight left and right as kids and now we call and talk to one another, visit, and banter as if we've gotten along our enitre lives.

When Daniel came over he brought something he found in my parents garage that he helped to clean up. It was a ceramic cat. Given to me by my great-grandmother and it sat in my room for ages. One of my cousins as a young toddler would always ask to go upstairs to my room and, 'pet the kitty'- he thought it was real! When I saw the face of this cat I felt a barrage of emotions I had not expected to feel during my brothers visit.

Five years ago, plus a smidge, I left my parents home for good. No, I didn't move out, I left them and my life there completly. I haven't spoken to my parents since that day. Without going into the long, melo-dramatic, story behind my leaving allow me to say that I did this for the betterment of my life and my person. The situation living at home, my past issues with mental illness, trying to go to college on my terms, as well as, trying to grow up and become a better person- the mix of all of these did not work at all. I was pushed until I knew if I did not do something drastic I would deteriorate. I was left with the choice of stay and go back down the dark and hopeless path of depression and anorexia/bulemia, or, leave and learn how to stand on my own two feet, live, and learn to thrive. Since the day I left I have worked on becoming a better, healthier, and productive person and I have accomplished much of that (still a work in progress though!).

When I left I left most of my belongings behind. With the aid of some friends I was able to gather a few things that fit in trashbags and a couple of laundry baskets. The cat my brother found and brought back to me was an object that I knew I wouldn't see again. I accepted that, made peace with it, and then after five years here it is sitting in my new life that I've built.

While processing all of this my brother handed me a statment- an invoice of payment towards a student loan that my parents took out when I first went back to TU (I declared independence status after I left and all my loans went into my name after). Daniel was given it as he informed my parents that I was working on loan consolidation. After recieving this piece of info another curveball came out of nowhere. Daniel explained that my parents had paid off another loan by selling my beloved piano that my grandfather had given to me.

This piece of news overwhelmed me and a feeling of disorientation began to take over. I didn't understand- why would they do that I asked. And why did I feel as if I had lost pieces from my past all over again? It was just an object, one that I knew I wouldn't see nor possess from that day forward. Yet, I couldn't believe it. Perhaps it was my parents reasoning that perpetuated the flood of thoughts and emotions. They sold it soon after I left in a fit of fear believing that I would leave school and leave them with those private loans in default. So, rather than make some calls to the lenders to double check my student status, they believed the worse would come and reacted to their fears.

I guess what I'm saddened by the most is that if my parents believed that I would leave them high and dry, quit school, and make them pay the consequences then perhaps they never really understood me. I'm not saying I was a complete angel before I left- my stress and anxiety levels were through the roof and I said many things I am not proud of. However, I don't quit, I made my reasons for leaving clear, and I stuck through and with every decision I made and now, despite the sad circumstances that started this journey, I am happy.

I confessed to Daniel that if I hadn't left I wouldn't be standing in front of him today the way I am (if at all). He nodded, not wanting to hear more, but, seemingly with an understanding of what I meant. I never wanted to say that to him, but, he needed to hear it and I needed to say it outloud. Now the cat he brought to me sits proudly atop my bookshelves- a strange monument to my past and the reminder that the past is always present within. It does not haunt me, it pushes me forward, and it has taught me many wonderous lessons.

We are who we are because of where we came from. And no matter how painful the path has been the scars make us better only if we want them to.


Anonymous said...

Daniel sounds like a good guy. If he can accept you as you are that's great. So sorry about your folks, however. They should have a little more faith in you.
Small objects from the past can have a powerful impact on us. I got rid of most of my stuff when I moved to France. But sometimes I'll miss something in particular.
Be strong, and don't let the loss of your piano undermine you.

Habebi said...

Daniel is fantastic. He said to me, "I just want to be your brother." I told him that's what I wanted to. So we've mended the fence so to speak and we're looking ahead.

I am still surprised at how much I was impacted by an object. I guess I thought I had 'risen above it' and then whamo! Guess I'm human after all huh? lol ;-)

Thanks for the encouragement- you're so sweet!

Heather said...