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.