Prompt 2


Prompt: write about a worldly place that is a threshold for you. this can mean anything-- maybe it's some place between end and beginning, forward and backward, past and present, here and there, friends and lovers, or something else entirely!

content warning: discussion of suicidal ideation

For a long time, living in this house meant living behind closed doors. Both in that I suffered in silence, and that it was a near-physical stopping point– a wall. There was no way to move forward. It's my purgatory, as I wait perpetually for something to change. My first step to gaining independence was finding work, but my chronic exhaustion barred me from doing so. It would be different if I had a strong support system to carry me to a better place, but I had no one. I felt helpless, stuck, and alone.

As I was failing out of school, two years ago, I thought to myself, "I might kill myself if I have to go back to living with my dad." When things inevitably fell apart, I lost everything all at once, and I was forced to move home. There was a bottomless grief. It felt like my life was over– my life seemed irredeemable. I was right, though; that feeling of wanting to die has stayed with me to this day. At that time, I was really sick, mentally and physically, had no sense of self worth, and I was terrified of the world. I would spend the next two years digging myself out of that hole.

At the start of the year, I felt this horrible premonition, squarely in my gut, that if things didn't change soon, then I would die here. I would die before I could get out. I would die having not lived authentically. I would die having been unloved and misunderstood. I would die never having experienced healthy romantic love. Plenty of people preach, "Live life authentically, and to the fullest," but under someone else's roof and dollar, I don't get a say. I just have to bide my time.

I know that each day I stay here, a piece of my soul withers away. My therapist told me that there's something that lies beneath that timid, people-pleasing part of me, something buried deep, just waiting to blossom. This was after I told them that I felt I lost my fighting spirit. That teenage fire, that teenage anger, that teenage rebellion. I've been beaten down, and I'm afraid to get back up again. I'm tired.

At the beginning of the year, my grandpa fell ill. My father, being the loving son he is, would visit and aid his father. He told me after that being there felt like the Twilight Zone. The world turned gray. Time slowed, and did not flow like the rest of the world. My dad said, "It's so weird returning to a bed I used to sleep in. I've returned here a much different person than I once was." And for the first time in a long time, I felt connected to my dad.

I live in a house where things regress. I think, when my dad looks at me, he sees a little girl with long, curly hair, who sings in church and plays the piano. It's an outdated perception, and simply that, a perception. I don't think I ever truly was that thing, a good Christian girl, but it's his truth. It's impossible to expect others to fully understand me, they never will know me like I do, but I think it's fair to wish my parents understood me. It deeply pains me how far from reality my dad is, and he is unreachable. I could tell him, "Dad, this is who I am," and he would simply say, "No you're not," and that would be the end of it.

There's a grief and deep anger that must be pushed down, living with the man who bullied and neglected me as a child, powerless and held captive. With no reparation, we pretend like everything is fine. I'm poisoned by my secret rage or, sometimes, I succumb to complete numbness. When you suppress yourself so severely, you start to feel dead.

Finally, I cried out for help. Many cries went unheard, but this one reached its recipient. I had this gut feeling that I needed to talk to my aunt, and that it couldn't wait. From that conversation, she reached out to my other aunt, and, to my surprise, she generously opened up her home to me.

My aunt was the only person to recognize that I was sick. She told me, "I know you won't get better so long as you are in that environment. You're stressed and under pressure. You need time to breathe and heal. You need time to figure out who you are." I cried in relief. This would change my life. I can imagine living in a quiet home. I can imagine not having to destory my diaries for fear of it being read. I can draw whatever I want. I can be openly trans. I can imagine using my voice and actually being heard.

A week prior I had a conversation with my dad, about how I felt like he didn't talk to me as an equal, and that he acted like he knew everything, and he retorted, "Well, it's because I have lived many more years than you, so I do know better." I didn't get through to him. Nothing changed. A week later, I'd have a parallel conversation with my aunt, but with the opposite result. Without provocation, She said to me, "When you come to live with me, I will treat you as an adult. It won't be Aunt living with nephew, it'll be an adult living with an adult."

And some nights, I lay in bed, utterly exhausted, and I think about bailing. I think about all the ways I might fail. I'm not used to be treated as an adult. An adult who speaks up for himself and makes his needs known. My aunt told me to take the lead. My aunt used the word "agency," and I shrank. I don't feel in control. Things don't go my way. So, I'm scared.

Still, the blocked path opens– finally– and it becomes the threshold. I'm moving in May. I'm finally getting out. I'll finally be a proper adult. Living in this house was never going to be permanent, but it sure felt permanent. I couldn't see past these hollow walls. So now I wait in bittersweet anticipation, still suffering every day I am in this house, and hoping things will be different once I leave.