I can’t remember for the life of me, the last time I stayed put. By the time I was 10, I’d lived
in 5 different homes. Seemingly nomad-like, I grew accustomed to a life of being on the
move. Laying foundations one moment then uprooting the next.
By the time I was 15, I’d become agitated if we’d been in one place for more than 2 years.
Like an allergic reaction, I’d itch and get anxious and feel the walls closing in on me. It also
didn’t help when Mum and Dad were racing up and down the stairs hollering at each other.
Hollering? I put that lightly. More like full on screaming matches followed by objects
hurtling through the air. I became so numb to it like background noise – a soundtrack to life
per say. As long as I wasn’t directly involved, it wasn’t my problem. Having said that, it was
inevitable that I’d become a direct target of my mother’s accusations and abuse especially
when Dad had enough and crashed at my uncle’s place for 6 months straight before getting
his own place.
To say that period in life was a dark time is an understatement. It was perpetual, agonizing
and plain confusing. Brainwashing is no joke and once you’ve reached the point where high
school feels like the best 8 hour escape of your life per week, you really start to lose grip of
what true joy is and start to question if you really are worthy of happiness.
Fast forward 10 years, I’d somehow managed to climb up with hands on work experience,
sorted myself a decent job with good pay, rented out a great apartment and had not spoken
or seen my mother in 8 years by this point. I remember having nightmares and being
flooded with guilt about not being able to withstand the physical beatings. I often told
myself I’d chickened out.
It just hurt too much both mentally and externally. There’s so much battering and bruising
your psyche can take. You naturally burst and have enough. So, I left…just like that.
I can say I’ve tasted momentary freedom a couple times to say the least. While naturally
fleeting, there’s always a crash. Without guidance, the concept of freedom transcends into
repression. Suddenly, you look around and see solid communities and friend’s families
looking at you funny because you’re used to serving yourself first and putting others second.
You are the only thing that matters to yourself – to keep surviving.
Out of the rotating partners, fair weather friendships and hazy nights under the influence,
the one thing I couldn’t shake off was not being able to stay put. I knew once the agitation
and itching set in, it meant having to uproot yet again. I’ll never know where I’m heading in
those moments but one thing I know for sure is to keep moving.
By: Karina Curlewis