About a month ago, I wrote a post about the emotional abuse I received from my father from childhood through early adulthood. I had mixed feelings about talking about it publicly. I have no plans to ever live with my folks again, so being kicked out is no longer a concern. I still speak with my mother and younger brothers when I’m able to, but my dad and I have barely spoken a direct word to each other since February. It’s been a rough time these past few months; Skylar, my family’s Shetland sheepdog, died on May 15th, just before my first final exams, and I’ve been having financial trouble, as well as trouble finding accessible work. But I did what I needed to do for the end of the semester; I took time to grieve Skylar’s death, was able to finish all of my exams, and am now working on moving on.
[Art from the always incredible Emm Roy; see more of their work here]
Something I was asked and pressed on about by a career counselor on campus recently was what “moving on” meant for me. Honestly…while I was a bit defensive at first, I realized that was something I did need to think about. I hadn’t realized until very recently how much I still tend to isolate myself, how much I still use food as a coping mechanism, and how much anger I still have toward my father (not toward my mom; I found it in me to forgive her and don’t have any anger toward her anymore). I am working on getting better with not isolating, reaching out for help when I can and see that I need it, and above all, trying to keep busy.
But what about what “moving on” really means to me? For me, the following have been steps to moving on:
- Understanding that those who’ve wronged me are human, but also recognizing that I don’t need to forgive them in order to move on.
- Taking responsibility for my own health and well-being; scheduling appointments, going to them, taking my medications, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are all part of that.
- Remembering there are good people out there, and I owe it to myself to go out and find them.
- Remembering that this is my life; I get to determine its direction. It’s a privilege, and also a responsibility.
That last point is honestly the most important. I’m not responsible for what others have done to me, but I am responsible for what I choose to do now. It’s why I went to that career counselor (she actually gave me a lot of good advice). That’s why I moved out of my folks’ home in the first place. Moreover, self-determination is key in all those steps involved in my recovery.
I’m not taking summer classes this year; these next few months will be dedicated to getting grounded, finding a more stable living situation, an income, and generally the stability I need to heal. Wish me luck, friends!
Please, love, and stay hydrated!
*Dedicated to Skylar Mott (2007-2019); rest in peace, baby girl!