What Happens When Your World Gets Taken Away From You?

Because that almost happened to me today.

I’d like to thank all the bloggers and Tweeters who’ve shared kind words and lended their support. I may have not sounded like it in my replies, but your responses meant the world to me at a time where I felt like I was alone and against something I couldn’t change. I am so, so lucky to have the support and understanding of the book community. I don’t think mere words can explain how thankful I am, but I just wanted to let you guys know: you are the reason why I could still talk to my mom civilly after this conversation. You guys are the reason why I recovered from my mental breakdown so much faster than usual. And I can never thank you enough.

Note: Swearing ahead. Also personal details that I just need to let off my chest. 

You may have not seen a lot of posts recently on the blog this week. Fun enough, it’s because of my exams that had me at around three hours of sleep each night. When I’m not writing an essay or lab report, I’m studying my ass off for a number that basically decides my future for the next couple of years of my life. It wouldn’t be surprising that on Friday afternoon I feel GREAT hearing that 7th period bell ring and release students. I’m ready to relax at least for a week before worrying about final papers due after the holidays. My plans on binge-reading lots of anticipated reads were going to be fulfilled.

Except when I get into the car, my mom talks about “cleaning” up my room. Background story: She’s been talking of renting my room out to people and moving me downstairs. I have no problem with that. However, I did not know that she would move my things THIS VERY DAY, without my supervision or permission. I would have gladly done the work myself, but it seems she had other plans. Either way, she continues on to berate me for having “evil books.” The conversation more or less went like: (only saying the important parts that left an impact on me)

Her: I don’t approve of you reading those books. I threw away your brother’s Harry Potter books, I can do the same to yours.

Me: So you THREW THEM AWAY? There were good books in there!
[All the books I own are good actually but I tried not to argue too much.]

Her: No, I saw so many evil ones. When you read about “vampires,” or “demons,” your soul becomes tainted. It’s exactly because of those books your brother is the way he is.

[I for one think my brother is perfectly fine. He’s a great guy who has an awesome wife and a steady job.]

Me: You didn’t throw them all away, right? Some of them were for school.

Her: Those were all old books so they’re also in the trash pile.

[I am slowly growing more and more livid. At this point, I’m SCARED. A lot of the books on my non-fiction and school shelf are school property, like workbooks and study guides. If she’s done something to them, we’d have to compensate and that would have been a pain. The rest are just old books I was saving to sell to underclassmen or keep because they have decent information in them.]

Me: *speechless and scared as shit.* *On Twitter because too many emotions.*

Her: *continues to spout religious ideals.*

LUCKILY ENOUGH, when I got home I found them all in an unorganized mess at the front room. They weren’t treated the way I would have treated them, but definitely salvageable and not actually IN THE TRASH like I was believed to think.

Moments after, I called my godmom and she said she could store them at her place for now so they won’t get threatened by my mother again.

In the course of twenty minutes, there were too many emotions radiating from me to name accurately. Let’s just say the majority of them were quite negative. From fear, anger, and disgust in the car to absolute relief in seeing the books to an overwhelming sense of pain when I realized my mother would never understand me, it was a lot to take in after a stressful day. I now know that she could never realize how much books mean to me, how much they have saved me in the past when no one, not even her, could. It’s hard living in a family where they don’t support your passions. A tremendous weight is placed on your shoulders and you don’t know how to satisfy the hopes and expectations of your family as well as your own goals. I thought I had gotten good at juggling my passion for books with the expectations placed by my family of maintaining stellar grades and aiming for a future that could make them proud. There are more factors that play into it, however.

One is religion. My mom is a large pusher of religion (she is a nondenominational Christian), and that was the whole basis of her argument. One line that stuck with me in the car was me saying how only few of my books had demons of any sort in them. She replies with saying how that’s like you touch only a little bit of dog shit. In the end, you’re still touching shit and is tainted by it. I personally find this to be a ludicrous arguments, but of course I couldn’t call her out on it. That’s what happens when you live under the roof of an authoritarian parent. The consequences of actually speaking your mind is just not worth it, I find.

I think what struck me the most was going upstairs into my room and seeing a bare wall.  Bare of my posters (which, one of them ended up ripped in the trash can), my books, and my pictures. That absolutely GUTTED me. I could physically feel the pain zip down my body like a small shock of electricty – one that galvanized me into tears. My bulletin board with pictures and symbols of memories was ruined, and the lack of respect to my items was just painful to see.

It didn’t matter to her that the items she so callously treated were the ones so close to my heart. It didn’t matter that she threw away my world, or at least the important stories that make it up. It didn’t matter that she knows how long it took for me to save up to obtain those books. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t speak up about it, or be faced with the wrath of a tiger mom with traditional Oriental values (very similar to stereotypes) and a stubborn emphasis on religion. I respect her beliefs 105%, but that does not give her the leeway to PUSH them onto me or let them affect my life. Respect should be mutual.

If you’ve gotten to this point, I applaud (and appreciate) you for listening to my rant. I guess I shouldn’t make such a big deal out of it since now my godmom can help me save the books, but it was just the last straw for this week. I’m so, so tired. I feel like I’m losing my mind as I lose sleep. I think after securing the books, I will go into hibernation. I wish that there is a lesson to be learned from this rant, but the only thing I can say is that books and the stories in them mean the world to me, and the pain of taking them away from my life would be unbearable. 

And I know you guys would understand. 


35 thoughts on “What Happens When Your World Gets Taken Away From You?

  1. gabimoh says:

    Reblogged this on BooksABlog and commented:
    Aila I’m so sorry for how crappy your day must’ve been. I’m sending you all of my love and no matter what the blogging community will ALWAYS be there for you ❤

  2. Pamela Nicole says:

    Oh my god Aila, I knew about the books from Twitter but I had no idea about your room. My heart goes out to you. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it must be to not to be able to do much about it, so all I can tell you is to be strong, and to push through all this bad stuff.

    Do what you’re supposed to. Get to college, work hard, write some words and be successful, and find support in people who believe in you wholeheartedly (hopefully that’s us, and your -fairy godmother- and even your parents! -um for things non-book related-)


  3. Claire Wells says:

    I am so sorry Aila. You don’t deserve that. I’m so sorry the things you hold dear were mistreated like that. My world would be shattered if someone did that to my books and from this post I know you were too. I’m so sorry, I hope one day your mom will understand! 😦

  4. Tiffany says:

    Oh Aila I’m sorry. It can be hard living under your parents’ roof when you have different values and still have to live by their rules. Sometimes you just have to deal with it until you can move out and be more independent. I hope she’ll learn to be more tolerant and respectful but until then sending you hugs and support.

  5. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    Oh my god Aila… I’m so sorry to hear, this is absolutely insane and so disrespectful of your space and your passions. I couldn’t imagine what that would have been like having your books ripped away from you, your room bare and not having a space for you. My heart is breaking for you and I’m just so glad that this is a space you are able to vent on. I actually grew up with a similar tiger traditional mum who also pressured me a lot at home. I got out of there as soon as I can and our relationship hasn’t been better! We’re here for you. Xx

    • Aila @ One Way Or An Author says:

      Thank you so much Jeann ❤ It warms my heart to hear of other people's similar experiences, and knowing that if they could get through it, I can too. The support from the community has really made me able to endure everything. I'm counting down the days until I can gain my independence.

  6. Lance says:

    This blog post was really tugging at my heartstrings Aila. I think it’s terrible when parents do things without even consulting their kids first. I think it’s great that you have such a wonderful Godmother, who is so understanding of your situation. I hope your mother can learn to understand your love for books Aila.

  7. Fafa's Book Corner says:

    Hi Aila! I came across your post because a blogger reblogged it and a lot of people (including me) retweeted it.

    I want to say that I am truly sorry this happened to you. And I can relate. A few years ago my mom told my sister and I that we shouldn’t read books about immortals and vampires because of some stuff she heard. We freaked out and obeyed. Partly because what she said was horrible and because we didn’t really like books with vampires and immortals.

    Sometime after this conversation I realized one thing there is nothing with reading certain types of books namely paranormal as long as you don’t believe in them. So I went back to reading them. And while my mother doesn’t really know what books I read she knows that we went back to reading paranormal books.

    I think that it was really unfair that your mother did that without your permission. And it’s odd that she preaches about how bad your books are. Honestly as long as you don’t believe in them and practice some of what you’re reading (demon summoning) it doesn’t matter. Sometimes the books with monsters and demons actually have good lessons. I wish your mother saw it like that.

    I have an idea of what your family is like. That’s what mine used to be like. My mother didn’t want me to go into the field that I chose. She wanted me to become a doctor or a lawyer. But both of parents saw that I was happy so they dropped and decided to be happy for me.

    My mother is religious but she doesn’t believe my books are evil. And I’m truly sorry that your mother does.

    I’m glad that she didn’t throw them. And that you were able to work it out. I am happy that your fellow bloggers were able to help you!

    Your post has left an impact on me. Your post shows the beauty of fellow blogger friends and to be thankful for everything that you have.

    I hope everything in your life works out! And enjoy your break and your books 🙂

  8. Julia Ember says:

    Wow. I grew up with religious parents and we often came to loggerheads about the things I was reading or watching, but they never would have violated my room — i.e. My safe space — in such a disrespectful manner. Have you ever talked to your mom just about respect? Does she still have any kind of relationship with your brother at all?

    Either way, I’m so sorry that has happened to you 😦

  9. Jocelyn @ 52Letters says:

    I am so sorry that you had to experience this. I cannot even imagine the emotional hell you must have been in, and I’m just happy that there’s a (mostly) happy ending.
    Don’t apologize for sharing this rant! I know that stressful days are sometimes made manageable by sharing them with friends. And don’t let yourself feel stupid because it ended on a happy note. I’ve done this to myself recently and it was absolutely the worst.
    Good luck! I hope that everything works out! 🙂

  10. fiddlerblue says:

    Sending lots of hugs over to you Aila! That’s horrible what she did with your books and your room, just disrespectful. Even if you live under her roof, she is still your mother and she should know by now that there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and with an adult as well. :/ I’m glad things worked out in the end. Even if I didn’t experience it personally, a lot of my friends came from traditionally strict families (can’t even go to a party without asking for permission, and we were freaking 27 years old then), so I somehow understand what you mean. I hope you get the space you want very soon. *hugs*

  11. Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books says:

    Omg, I’m soo sorry that happened!!!! It’s just horrifying! How I wish, that right now, I could be there with you. I can understand what that can do to a person. *Sends lots of warm hugs your away* Please feel free to rant non stop or simply talk with me if you want.

  12. Ardis says:

    Speaking as a person who grew up with authoritarian parents, it will get better. But you may have to get through HS and be independent first. My Dad wouldn’t even let me wear Blue Jeans growing up! My parents wouldn’t support me going to college at all (“Why would a Girl need to go to college? You’re just going to get married and have kids, anyway”). I went to community college, and worked my tail off. Later I transferred to a great university where I could do my own thing. Since I did this on my own, my parents didn’t have any say in what I did, wore, or read. Good luck!

  13. Montana @ The Book Belles says:

    This is awful. I’m so sorry! I also have pretty religious parents, and was never allowed to read Harry Potter growing up. That is so awful your mother did that, and definitely extreme 😦 I’m glad you were able to give the books to your godmother for safekeeping!

  14. Kynndra-jo @ Diva Booknerd says:

    Oh wow, hun.. that is absolutely atrocious of your mom. I would probably flip if my mom did even half of that. Thankfully she isn’t all that controlling. I hope you’re able to figure out the issues with your mom. Until then, don’t loose your passion for reading and whatnot. I am so sorry you have to deal with all of this :c

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