My Guilty Conscience

Recently, I used Amazon for a purchase.

I stopped using Amazon some years ago because they don’t accept PayPal and, much more serious and atrocious, they’re infamous for treating their warehouse workers like garbage.

Unfortunately, a desire to save some money on a graphics tablet and its unavailability for the same price elsewhere led me to their website. They lost my package, but they refunded the shipping cost, gave me a promotional credit, and resent out the package (I only asked for the last option). Their customer service is wonderful, but that makes my conscience worse.

I do not want to support a company that treats its workers horrendously. At the same time, it doesn’t matter whether I use Amazon or not. They’re big enough, and successful enough, that most people don’t care about those workers, and would I may as well be a speck of dirt in comparison to their customer base. Yet, my conscience still doesn’t let me off the hook.

Yes, I feel guilty about buying from Amazon. I desperately hope the customer service representatives are treated well, or using their services will be on my conscience as well. That said, all workers should be treated well without exception. Despite what I just said above about knowing lack of my business with them means nothing, I doubt I will use Amazon again after I receive the package they lost due to my conscience eating away at me.

I recently read an article where, in response to criticism of how their workers are treated, Amazon responded by saying they pay their workers more than most retailers. The problem has zero to do with money, and that combined with my conscience is more than enough for me to avoid Amazon after they deliver my package. I only wish I could make more of a difference than not giving them my business (which, again, makes no difference at all).

What’s Assault?

Here’s a very controversial matter I’ll speak about: spanking. But I’m going to make it short. I just want an answer to this question.

A few days ago, I overheard what I think was a crime show my grandfather was watching. The episode was featuring a woman who’d escaped from a very abusive relationship, and she described some incidents of the abuse. One of them was when her husband had told her to lean over the hood of his/their car and proceeded to spank her with his belt. She outright said he was hitting on her behind, so it was what’s considered a spanking. She described the pain as being so terrible, she was hoping she would somehow melt into the engine of the car (or in other words, die right there on the spot) to avoid having to feel any more. She said every time she didn’t listen to her husband, he would do this to her.

This woman is an adult, so that is classified as abuse. But if she were a child, that would be discipline. Why? That’s my question. Why is this “abuse” when done to an adult, but “discipline” when done to a child?

To My Younger Self

Every so often when I browse Facebook or Tumblr, I see a post that goes along of the lines of “If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?”

I think if I went back in time to meet my younger self, even by as few as three years or so, she’d slap me back into my current age. I wouldn’t blame her. As little as one year ago, if someone told me I’d be doing the things I do now, I would’ve assumed they were out of their minds.

However, when I see that question, it’s myself as a child I think of. I usually picture myself back around age 7 or 10. There are a lot of things I would go back and tell my child self because I very much needed to hear them, but no one ever told me. Hearing them probably wouldn’t have made life back then any easier, but in the moments I needed it, it probably would’ve helped. Had I any artistic skill, I’d create a comic about it.

I want to keep this list fairly short, so I’ll stick to what I think are the most important things.

  • You’re going to be happy to be alive. The very first time I thought about suicide, I was ten years old. Before that, my thoughts were often of running away from home and not returning. When things got especially bad and I was crying myself to sleep, I spent the time until I finally wore out hoping someone would break into my house and snatch me away. If I could go back and speak to my child self, I’d tell her she’ll be happy those thoughts were never a reality. She probably wouldn’t believe me and, again, I wouldn’t blame her. But I’d still say it.
  • Love does not hurt. Well, not the way I learned it did as a child. To be totally honest, this is something I’m struggling with as an adult. I prefer to just be grateful and not dwell, but in the back of my mind, I question why someone loves me or why they care to help me or why they want to know me. This is something I’d probably say over and over to my child self until I was certain she understood. No, your loved ones are not supposed to hurt you and no, being family does not justify them doing so.
  • You’re the cutest child ever, but that’s not what matters. No, I don’t think I was the cutest child ever when I look back at my childhood pictures, but “ugly” was the most common insult I heard growing up. It wasn’t only by the school bullies. My family’s vanity and obsession with looks also pushed me to believe I looked horrid when, in actuality, nothing was wrong with me. I spent my entire childhood hating how I look because I believed my looks weren’t good enough and that was all anyone cared about. I would tell my child self she is an adorable person, but it’s not the most important thing about her and most people really don’t care.
  • Friendships aren’t like the cartoons. I’m certain this one speaks for itself. I had trouble keeping friends because of how often I moved and my mother didn’t like friends visiting or letting me visit them. I would tell her it’s not completely abnormal and she’ll not only find her own friends in due time, but learn who’s a friend and who’s not.
  • 2010 will be the worst year of your life. As awful as it sounds, I’d tell her this as a warning. 2010 is the year everything began to crash and burn. My life was ripped apart from the inside out and this is the year my suicidal emotions were at their worst. The only thing that kept me from acting on those emotions was the cowardice to cause myself pain, and I regularly kicked myself for that. I’d tell her she, unfortunately, doesn’t have a choice and she’ll get through it, but it’s going to be painful. Very painful.
  • Your family will fall apart, but you won’t. This is the final one and arguably the most important after love doesn’t hurt. My family indeed has fallen apart. It’s ripped up more than I could’ve ever imagined as a kid. I’d tell my child self this is going to happen and she can’t stop it, but it’s not her job to stop it in the first place. I won’t lie and pretend it doesn’t hurt. It hurts a lot! However, what hurts more is when you’re trying as hard as you can to keep it together and your efforts are failing. I’d tell her she’s not a failure for being unable to hold her family together and it really is alright for her to worry about keeping herself together first and foremost. I’d tell her it’s their choices and their actions that are making them fall apart, and she’s not at fault for what they do.

You’re Still A Bad Mother

Last night, my mom called me. We very rarely speak to each other because 1) I can never get ahold of her and 2) she’s bitter about my dad’s side of the family and likes to take it out on me. Anyway, unsurprisingly, she didn’t want anything. She only called to tell me she knows I dropped out of school. Okay, and…?

My mom has a habit of doing this, really. Not just trying to antagonize people she doesn’t like, but behaving in ways merely to spite people. She’s done this since I was kid, when I was still young enough to be a bargaining tool.

In short, it’s been twenty years and she still sucks at being a mother.

You’d think I cut her out of my life, at least temporarily, with the way she acts, but I can never bring myself to. I have tried to fix our relationship and all of my attempts fail. I know she won’t change. Why would she? She typically gets what she wants through manipulation. She can’t deal with someone who doesn’t think she’s always right or her word is law. She doesn’t like to admit when she’s wrong either. That’s not to say people haven’t done wrong to her. In fact, her own mother was actually worse to her than she was to me (cycle of abuse, basically).

Years ago, my mom once mentioned how she said she’d never treat her kids the way her mom treated her. Unfortunately, she only got it half-right. She may not have treated my sister and I as badly as her mom did, but her parenting was still abysmal. The only reason my sister is still in her good graces is she follows my mom around like a shadow and rarely questions a word out of her mouth.

I posted about this in a Facebook group and everyone who replied basically told me the same thing: I have to accept she will never be mother I need. And I want to accept that, yet I feel I can’t. The guilt that results from even considering cutting her out is crushing. I have no idea what the guilt is even for, but I feel bound and chained by it. But eventually, I’m going to have to figure out how to break those chains. I’m only 20 now, but soon enough, I will be 21, 22, 25, 30, and so on. I’ve already spent about two decades under her thumb. I do not want to spend the rest of my life feeling guilty and unsuccessfully trying to fix my relationship with her.

Being over eighteen is supposed to mean you’re free from your parents’ control. I don’t even live with her, nor have I for the past four years, and I don’t feel free. I feel like a caged rat.

College plans aren’t all that changed…

When I was forced out of my mother’s custody in August 2010, I’d always planned on coming back after I turned 18. I postponed it until I graduated high school because I didn’t want to have to change the information in the system (more of a pain than it sounds, trust me). But now, it seems like the tides have turned and I’m going to be right back at my grandfather’s house.

Mom was happy about me moving back in. She told everyone her daughter was finally coming home. I heard her tell people half the time! Apparently, however, that happiness was short-lived. My mother has become poisonous and I honestly think she’s losing her mind. I do my best to put up with it because she’s not like this all the time, but she apologizes just to do it again later. She’s made it clear she doesn’t love me and favors my sister. I still remember how she would deny that when I was pointed it out as a kid. Nice to have the confirmation, I guess, but it hardly means anything when I knew all along.

I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate her. The insane accusations (and I do mean insane!) out of nowhere, blaming me for her troubles, doing just about anything to make my life harder. She really doesn’t care what happened to me, even if it was death! And I’m not exaggerating. She really doesn’t.

I know of the saying “an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind”, but two can play at this game. In about a half hour, I’m heading out to cancel the layaway we made together. She can have her darn money back and I’ll take mine and get what I want myself! I still question why she even had me if she was basically going to toss me aside like dirt after a certain age.

But you know what? It’s fine. I’m not the only one who’s dealt with a bad parent and the friends of mine who have are turning out to be alright. One got lucky, but I’m not envious. I’m very happy for her.

The stupid thing in all of this? I have my cell phone turned off and you can bet my mother will be calling me frequently and getting mad at me not answering. She has a bad habit of “forgetting” the awful things she does. Well, just like she apparently doesn’t forget what people do to her, I don’t forget what people do to me. And yes, I know I’m not perfect and I do some bad things too, but nothing near what she accuses me of. The worst thing I probably do is…ignore her when she becomes mean, come to think of it.