Last week, I went back home, to my parents place, for about 6 days.
I’ve dreaded this for the past few days. It’s the first night.
I wake up at 5 am by my grandfather shouting at my mom for some reason, and her shouting back so he would hear her. I’ve barely gotten any sleep. The shouting makes me want to go in the corner and cover my ears like a little kid. As I am not one anymore, I bite my lips, and wait for the shouting to be over. How does my mom go through this every day, I wonder.
I can barely make it a week.
But I know how. The same way that I jump every hour the first night, panicky and afraid, but by the third night, I only wake up from the shouting in the morning. I call that Equilibrium.
It’s that wicked balance you find when you are in a hard situation you can’t avoid for long period of time.
Your body seeks for a way to adjust, to tolerate things we usually can’t cope with, for the sake of survival. It’s adapting, tolerating the bad, until we are in good enough conditions to change anything about it.
I’ve done the same thing, 3 years ago. That summer, for 4 months, I tolerate things that I would never imagine I can even live with- living in a dangerous place, seeing death, addicts, homeless people, dealing with not having any money even for food, dealing with rape and PTSD. But I made it through. It ended up harder to deal with when I was out of that summer. When I was there, I was in that bubble, in that equilibrium, in which I had a sick tolerance for all bad things. At a certain point each of them seemed like a new daily thing, something that may be bad, but “it’s how things are”. They were like that, and so I deal with it.
Just as my mom has had to deal with my grandfather, who is her father, all her life.
It makes her sick, too, but she tolerates it, and I know she will, until she has to.
Let me back up a little. I started this blog to deal with my issues with rape, I know. The fact that I have a lot deeper issues that that hasn’t really occurred to me that much.
But when my mom tells me that my grandfather is staying at home now, in my childhood room, I disregard it for a while. But then, as I am planning my trip in a week, it occurs to me that I might have to see my grandfather, and talk to him. Which is fine, until I close Skype, sit down on the bed and break down in tears. I cry, unable to comprehend what my boyfriend is saying, or to stop crying. I just cry.
My grandfather issues are a long story, one I will leave for the next post. I will just say that he’s been emotionally abusive to my grandmother, my mother, me, for the most of his life. Now that he is really old, too old for anything else, he is just an old man for which my mom has to take care. Yet the thought of him makes me sick. For me, blood doesn’t equate family, and he certainly isn’t a part of mine. I realized that when I was a teenager when I started ignoring him when he was talking. Then I left for university and he stopped existing for me. But the thought of him in my room still made me feel sick.
Visiting for a week meant sneaking through my own house like a thief, and sleeping on the couch in the living room. Pretending that I don’t hear the mid-night screaming. The first night I wake every hour, panicky and jittery, afraid of the old man in my room, to whom I hadn’t said a word in 7 years.
I feel amazed at my mom’s strength, to take care of him even when he has hurt her in many ways all her life, and she has enough problems just with her job. Being at home for a week, I feel tired and agitated, from the lack of sleep and dealing with him. I can only imagine how she feels. There are very little certain things in life. I never particularly liked the apartment we have, but it was still safe, and it was still home. Now nothing about it feels like home, and that is almost unimaginable. Now, when I am a border away from there, I finally feel…safe. Sad part is, no matter how much I know my mom has learned to tolerate him, I know it takes a toll on her. Just like all such thing do. And when I was in that bad summer, at least I knew it was for months- though every day felt longer and longer- which she has no deadline for how long she will deal with this.
So for both our sake, I try to be healthier, do the best when I am in my new home, and can really work, to deal with my issues so that I feel good enough to help her in some ways.
I guess we never really leave our past, do we?
I thought my childhood issues were nothing but my past, “how things were” back than. That first night, when I wake up from the screaming, I know that it’s time I face all my shadows. One at a time.