Just because they’re your family doesn’t mean you’re tied to them. She learned that the hard way. Birds, cats, squirrels. Sometimes it’s time for the young to leave the nest. For good. So she fought the fight. The fight for independence. It’s something she doesn’t talk about because in many cultures people assume your mother loves you and that family is a warm place. At even the slightest mention she’s shunned and judged. “But it’s your mother.” “Oh, she loves you.” These are the dismissive words she grew up hearing. She didn’t understand the gravity of the situation until she began therapy. Thank goodness she did. Thank goodness she left. Last year she was able to attend school as an emancipated student and she never looked back. Prior to that she was in danger of being homeless. Some say she was. But she stuck to her guns. The risk was entirely worth not going back there and having no control over her own happiness. While her emotionally taxing Spring 2017 semester was coming to an end she secured a job and found a place to live which doubled as a dog business. All in the knick of time. From there, sleepless nights with separation anxiety crazed dogs. It served its purpose for the time being.

A few months later she was able to leave that job, start a new nannying job, pay back her emergency dorming balance, and move to where she lives now thanks to a Christmas bonus. The victory was here, though heavy it weighed. Independent status at last. There were times when she was barely scraping by and starving. But it was better than being in a toxic and violently homophobic household. And she’d do it again.

Learning the art of storytelling, probably breaking all of the rules