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Subterfuge

Subterfuge is a word I’ve known for a long time. But it was only tonight that I truly understood the meaning. My small world is full of subterfuge. My tribe would collapse without it.

My tribe consists of my housemates. I would say family, but my sister has her own tribe, and someone not part of my family lives here now. Before this year, it was just my mom and me. We made plans, we set schedules and we lived cohesively together as roommates and friends, rather than mother-daughter. The paradigm shifted when my brother moved back home and brought his girlfriend with him. So I went from being a member of a very small tribe with equal say, equal responsibility, basic human rights and a certain amount of safety and happiness, to a the bottom of the 4-person totem pole with no rights, no privileges, no say and a brand new position of “the bitch”. I lost my place in my tribe, and it has been an incredibly difficult struggle. 

Adjusting to fit in means I have to start lying, like the other three. It means I have to be tolerant of drug use. It means I have to let the ones who do not help pay the bills take advantage of me. It means buying groceries for those who don’t pay for their own food. It means stooping to subterfuge in order to survive.

There is no happiness in that. There is also no happiness in fighting it, either. My mother loves my brother more than anything in this world. What mother wouldn’t? But she loves him at the expense of her two daughters. She always has. She was raised to believe women were worthless, and then married a man who perpetuated that false notion. All the plans and schedules we made just suddenly didn’t exist the moment my brother moved in. I expected it, so I’m not bitter about that. It helped me realize that my five-year-plan should not have been created with her in mind, and I simply revised it.

In order to live by my own principles, ethics and values, I can not live in this house, or be a part of this tribe. It is a daily fight to try and be a good person with all the bad being thrown in my face. The way anyone in this house gets things done is by subterfuge. There’s a huge amount of manipulation going on in order to take advantage of the other people in order to get something for nothing. Some examples: someone says he will mow the lawn for $40. He gets the money, but does not do the work. Someone asks to borrow money for some bill or mandatory expense, but when it comes time to pay bills, he considers paying back that loan the same thing as paying the household bills. Someone needs to go somewhere, however there are only two licensed drivers in the house. One of those drivers is at work 7a-7p M-F which means there is only one. That one can only drive an automatic, which happens to be MY car. So I don’t get any say in someone else driving my car to do errands for someone else, who also does not pay for gas or the ride or even offer to help out in someway regarding all of the driving done on her behalf.

I feel like I’m whining, so no more examples. My point is that in order to survive in this house without being taken advantage of, I have to compromise my principles. I will not do that. So I am the enemy, because I look like a bitch, because I’m honest. My mother will not be honest with the other two, but she has no problem complaining to me about how they use her and take all her money and don’t help her at all. When I get mad at them for taking advantage of my mom, I become the asshole.

So my plan is to get out of here. I need to remove myself from this toxic environment so that I can start growing again. Maybe even flourish, which is something I will never be allowed to do while living here.

I bought a car at the beginning of May. My first car since the late 1990’s and it’s 100% paid off with no loan or lien. Every car I ever had with Josh was repo’d, so this is huge for me. My next task is getting my driver’s license back. I lost it due to an unfortunate circumstance that involved my ex-husband royally screwing me over, and then not taking care of it because of the divorce. My experiences at the DMV have not been pleasant, but I am taking my road test on Thursday. 

Once I have my driver’s license and my driving is not limited to my mother’s whims, I will be starting my job search. Once I’ve secured a job, and saved up enough to leave, I will not look back. I know that it is dangerous for me to live alone due to medical complications, but I feel it is more fatal to live in this house any longer.

I know it will be difficult to maintain a full-time job and be a full-time student, but I am fairly certain I can manage. I need to do this for my own health and safety.

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