Sending that sh*t back.
Hello again friend,
This is the last week I'll be having a "fancy" car that was leased under my name. Honestly, I am relieved and excited. It was a car leased by "my father", about 4 years ago (for brevity, I will refer to my biological father as his first initial "Y", as I feel unnatural referring him as anything more). Many people would see this and think "how lucky", or "what a great guy, Y is". Friends who I was fortunate enough to reconnect with in 2019 would see me walk up to this car in the parking lot, embarrassed. They would say, "Wow, you really made it". Ashamed, I would negate them and say, "uh.. no :/ this isn't where I'm at.. this isn't me."
I could have went along with it and brushed it off. But I had reached a point where I was physically unable to stomach telling more "protective" lies. You see, I have been a shield between the constantly changing family dynamics. I have been a fatigued single stitch at the point of contention in my mother's complicated marriage. I have been backstitched further in, by the affect of seeing how my mother has been mistreated, demeaned, and cheated on. I have been holding seams in for her, for more than half my life. This car has been a constant reminder of it.
--whats the significance of this car?--
In the spring of 2016, I was shopping for a used car. I had come back to Toronto, struggling with incredible guilt over leaving my mother alone in potential danger, with Y. My intention was to be near her, in case she needed any help. It was meant to be a temporary solution, to put my mind at ease. Instead of staying with my parents, I stayed with my ex partner and his parents (They were incredibly kind to have taken me in, as they had never met me prior to this). After some time, my stay became indefinite. I needed to work to earn back some of the savings that had been slowly haemorrhaging. This was how I ended up trying to make things work in Toronto, the first time. I was able to get a job through a friend, serving at an Izakaya in Dundas West. I was travelling from Morningside, so I then needed my own car. I was working to save up to buy my first car. It was a symbol of my independence and I was saving aggressively.
--here's how I won the lottery--
Things were progressively worse with Y's blatant infidelity and my mother wasn't sure of how to confront him. She was being driven crazy, by Y. He was treating her with much disdain. He was rejecting meals that she would prepare for him (with pathetic excuses) and would have lunches made by other women. He would also have dinners with one particular widow, and her two children. He would be getting home late and obviously because work is a priority, she had to accept it as a truth. He has always been incredibly slippery with his deceit. This is because he thinks we have no idea of his activities, therefore he thinks he is clever. We had an estimate of how many women Y had been seeing. We knew some of their names and faces.
One Saturday afternoon in July, my mother asked me to drive with her to Y's factory. She needed to use a sewing machine to complete an alteration for a client. She had been ruminating and venting again. She was angry about Y's betrayal, and what lies he would tell to come home late or reject home cooked meals. She told me if she saw this one particular woman at the factory, she might have the urge to confront her. I told her that I understood her desire to expose them, but to not do anything to risk her safety. Sadly, this was a day that unexpectedly ended up with a very public display of physical violence.
--if you are triggered by violence, please skip this detail to the end of the next red line--
Because I had any involvement and because I was "taking sides", I was told I was never to come around the house again (I'm glad Y used the term "taking sides" because his action was a clear indicator of him taking the side of another woman, over his wife). Playing the card of someone who isn't aware what's going on, I expressed that I didn't really understand what was happening, but that I didn't agree with it. Y said because I'm not on his side, I am exiled. The ridiculousness of this logic couldn't have made me laugh harder. I gladly accepted. Furious with rage, I left by myself. As usual, I limited all communication with my mother. I've had to do this to recover from my anger which also would bring on despair.
--a lesson to me that generosity does not erase guilt--
August is my birth month. My mother had told me to meet her and Y at the car dealership because they were looking for a new car. I didn't want anything to do with them. She knew he was in the wrong and that he's an asshole but he's willing to lease a car since I need it, so I should accept it...... It took me a long time to process what she was asking me to do. To take this car suggested that I am allowing us to move forward, without discussion. To take this car suggested I had to be thankful for something he is doing for me. To take this car suggested excuses can be bought. The terms of my acceptance of this was that I let it go and take the car..just take the car...take.. the damn... car... So after consulting with those that are close to me, I felt I had to make the best decision at the time.
*This is what they helped me understand:
- I needed to earn money
- I needed to get around to earn money.
- Public transit from Morningside to Dundas West would take me 2.5 hours and most shifts end at 2 am.
I was reminded everyday, how I sold my voice for a 4 year lease. I know that it was just the circumstance then and times are different now. I have worked on understanding I have made decisions that allowed me to survive. I also know that if this happened within the circumstance today, I would have simply called the police, thrown up a middle finger at the car offer and ride into the sunset on my Harley.
*This is what I have today:
- I feel I have less limitations in my finances,because I can now afford to provide my own safety (currently my now loving partner). We're not rolling in it, in the conventional way. However, we have a roof over our head, laughter over hot meals every day, and a full night's peaceful rest with our fur child. This is what rolling in freedom is like for me #slumberpartieseveryday.
- I have more options because I am now safe.It's been hard to look at this car, but I understand that this served as an important daily reminder to me. A reminder to pull my socks up, have courage when it feels really hard and take every honest step available towards freedom from being under someone's thumb.
- I have taken every step towards a better life and each one has been one valuable step closer. It often feels like an uncomfortable marathon of steps. There were days where it felt like the skies were clearing as I taking new strides. There were (and still are) days where it felt like there are on a steep incline and it seems impossible to push through. When facing these days, I look back after all these little steps have been taken. I take inventory of all the events that brought me to this day, where I cannot deny how transformative this intense time has been. All the fighting through the muck and turmoil, has made me stronger. It has allowed me to stand up taller and fight back harder for my mother, sister and me.
--to you, the brave one who feels stuck--
If you are feeling stuck because there has been incentive for you to stay put, please know that this is not permanent. It's messy, its hard and it really hurts. But you can imagine me (your friend) being next to you, holding your hand in a safe place. Let's write out the obstacles and fears that are present. Let's assess each one and write how we can change with one small step. Do you have a hobby you love? Can we start there? I'm submitting this to you, because sometimes all you need is to start exactly where you are. Sometimes the things we do to find solace, can be a great starting point. Remember that each step will lead to the next, towards a way to a safer side. As soon as you know it, options and solutions won't feel as far away as it seems.
Additional message: **During this time of COVID-19, there has been a significant rise in domestic violence and abuse. Where isolation is an effective strategy for everyone's safety, it is not the case for several victims. Please call 9-1-1 if you are feeling unsafe and please find a local shelter by any means necessary. It is important to look after your health and well being. I encourage all victims to be gentle and tender with yourselves in everything that you do, during this incredibly difficult time. You are more precious and worth far greater than you've been treated otherwise.
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