There’s a universal truth that nobody wants to look at, despite the fact that it is probably the most pervasive reality on earth.
Some parents hate their children.
Sadder still, some parents love their children but have no way to protect them, from themselves, from the abuser, from the cold and uncaring consequences of their own failures.
So we have nowhere to seek solace. In a world that also hates us for reasons of its own, there is no hiding. And it’s unfortunate, but I need you to buck up. Because, out of the 7.125 billion lost, sad, and abused bastards on this slowly dying space turd, you happen to have the extreme luck to be born one of the 318.9 million Americans. This could also apply to any one of the 35.16 million Canadians, 64.1 million United Kingdom residents, 23.13 million Australians, and so on… but this is America, so suck it other countries.
You have options available to you that other people can only dream of. And you probably don’t even know what they are. Because why would anyone tell you when it’s in the majority of their best interest to keep you small, afraid and ineffectual.
I had the benefit of some great teachers when I was younger, and I’m going to compile those lessons here for you. Read them, but know that they’re only my experience of what worked. If you only internalize one sentence in this entire blog post, it should be the next one. You have options. Just because someone says you have to do something doesn’t mean you do. Just because you don’t know anybody who’s ever accomplished the things you want doesn’t mean you can’t.
Handle yourself. Go to the nearest mirror and look into it. You are the parent now. Your parents can’t feed you, can’t keep you safe, but someone has to and you’re the only one here. This is where being an American is the best thing you have going for you. We are surrounded by wealth and you don’t need that much to survive. Start cleaning houses, mowing lawns, sell fucking oranges by the side of the freeway. Get an income stream that is independent of anybody else. Don’t get a job you need a ride to get to, don’t use parental connections, make something entirely yours. Live off this money. Whenever possible, hide a bag with a change of clothes, as many underwear as you can spare and some food that doesn’t parish. This is your bug out bag, and you may need it someday. Figure out how to escape your room when you’ve been locked in it. If the violence is escalating, don’t go home. It won’t get better, it will only ever get worse. If they say it will get better, that’s a lie and it will only ever get worse.
Some people want you to die. Whoever you are, this statement is true. They may be close or far away, known or unknown, but they wish you were dead and they will take steps to starve you out of this life. Decide if you will fight or if you will die. I recommend fight because dying will take so much longer and be so much more horrible than you think. Even more horrible than it is now, even more horrible than the worst days in the fight. If you will fight, fight. Do not let them tell you where to go, what to say, or how to act. Do not let them tell you what your options are. We already covered this, but they are lying. Figure out what game they’re playing, learn all the rules to it and beat the pants off them. Find the loophole, get what you need on a technicality if you have to. This isn’t semantics, it’s survival.
Lie. Whenever possible, lie to people who show an inability to hear your truth. They want you to lie to them. That’s why they change the subject when you start to talk about what’s really going on, that’s why they minimize the impact of what you’re telling them. They want you to tell them you’re fine. Say you are and move on. This is not an ally, this is a roadblock to your ability to thrive.
The truth is a powerful weapon. Use it to your advantage. Unleash it only when it stands to do the most damage to the oppressor and the least to you. This usually means when you’re free and clear of the situation and safely out of their control. Alternately, it can be deployed if you’re backed into a corner as a last resort.
There’s safety in numbers. The poet Jenny Zhang has said “I’m not going to accept the mentorship of people who don’t see me, don’t know me, and don’t understand me.” Conversely, if you have someone who’s in the shit with you, who knows from experience exactly what it feels like to be hated and cast out by your own parents, they may be an ally. If they are trustworthy (if they say they’re going to be somewhere and they show up, they don’t make promises they can’t keep) trust them with a small thing (will you keep this dollar for me until the end of the day, for example) and see what happens. If they can be trusted, you may have found somebody who can watch your back. Don’t get comfortable, though. Circumstances change and allies can become enemies over time.
Beware of caretakers. Some people will think it’s romantic to be friends with you. You are a waif, a scoundrel who’s own parents have cast them out. It’s like a cartoon they watched in their safe house with their good parents while you were hiding in a closet or a bush or any other kind of cover you could find to keep them off you. I’m not saying not to be friends with normal people. Normal people are the reason I graduated from high school. But you have to know that you need more than they can provide. If you try to rely on normal people, they will begin to resent you. After all, it’s not their fault you’re like this. If a normal person offers you something too eagerly, especially if they’re an adult: beware. People always want something in return. You are broke, young and you have no resources. They will probably want to fuck you, and they’ll probably imply that raping you is justified because you accepted whatever gift or assistance they offered initially. This is why it’s so important to handle your own shit. If you don’t owe anybody anything, they can’t collect in the form of your ass.
Find a sanctuary. This could be any place where you feel protected, where people won’t turn you in to child services, where hours or maybe even days can be spent in safety and relative comfort. Make sure that no one controls access to this space. The public library, for example is public space and therefore no one can be banned from the library. Sanctuary can also mean a cultural association like a church or a youth group. If you’re going to find sanctuary in youth-oriented space, be careful. Rules designed to protect normal children can also be used to make you vulnerable and dependent on services that either can’t be relied on, or come with too high a price (see previous paragraph). The good news is that anybody who tells you you have to follow their rules in order to be happy is lying to you. Always remember that you have options.
Forget about all of this. If this works, you’re going to wake up one day in a glorious future. A future you built yourself, a future where you are safe and you don’t owe anything to anybody. You must become a soldier who hones his skills, praying for a time when they are no longer needed. Your dis-empowered youth is only a hurricane, terrible but brief in the scope of your life. Giving this shit up will be almost as bad as learning it in the first place, but it’ll be worth it. Tell yourself that this is likely where your parents stopped trying if you need motivation to press on. Don’t be like them. Don’t fuck this up.
2 Replies to “To the Young, Oppressed American, Whomever You May Be”
I can’t wait for your first book Marina! 😀
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