I sat in shock, the words registering fully and yet still beyond belief.
“I think it’s time for you to move out.”
No questions asked, no attempts to mediate the situation. Simply pain and anger transmitted over hundreds of miles through the phone. My father had just kicked me out.
I cannot write about this without difficulty. The truth is that I am still grieving what happened that day and during the rest of the summer in a deep painful way. I am sharing my heartache with all of you. Please don’t take this lightly.
Only days before my father made this choice, I had no clue that anything of that kind was going to happen. I was enjoying the long-anticipated visit of my best friend, who made her second annual trip to our home in June. I had a wonderful time with her, visiting a local zoo and spending hours just talking.
One night, she was working on her computer as I finished my homework from my summer class. Upon inquiry, she informed me that she was signing up for a Christian online dating site. I was intrigued. That sounded interesting!
A few hours later, I had my trial account set up and was happily considering whether or not to purchase the membership. Of course, I wasn’t sure what my parents would think, but I went ahead with my plans.
A few days later, following my friend’s departure, I began to have a serious guilt-trip about not telling my parents about the dating site. I reasoned, according to the culture in which I grew up, that I was not being honest and that I owed them the information.
I told my mom on the way to a doctor’s appointment. Encouraged by her rather silent but at least not openly negative reaction, I decided to break the news to my father shortly thereafter.
The rest is history.
It wasn’t just that I signed up for the dating site. I told him that I wanted to do casual dating. In other words, I would date without first practically committing to marry my date, and I wouldn’t be asking my father’s permission. He couldn’t handle those ideas.
So he kicked me out. He didn’t even bother to make sure I had a place to go. In his bitterness over this newfound loss of control, he suggested that the friends whom I had consulted in making my decision might be willing to take me in.
I immediately called my sister. The rest of that day was Hell. I lived through my parents’ trying to frame the decision as my own. After all, they merely extended me an ultimatum (I could either agree to allow my father to be involved in my dating process or I could leave). I was the one who made the choice…in their minds.
So I left. My sister came and picked me and a good deal of my belongings up that night, and she whisked me away to her place to cry and worry and feel the sickening hurt and loss of losing the people I love most in all of existence. We picked up the rest of my belongings that weekend, and I left my family’s house, not to enter it again until who knows when.
I am not going to share all the details of the summer that followed, for various reasons. Suffice it to say that I went through agony. I don’t say that dramatically or without serious thought. My pain over the loss of my family has been deep and lasting. My parents forbade my younger siblings’ communication with me for a time (that ban has since been lifted). They also managed to keep in just enough contact with me to cause me additional frustration and alarm, as they pressured me to shut down the bank account which my mother had cosigned for and encouraged me to find an alternate health insurance.
Oddly, my professor was more understanding of my situation than my parents, and, with his help, I was able to finish my summer class with flying colors. I cannot tell you how many days I alternated tears with reading assignments or found myself unable to work at all. Somehow, that class got completed.
In the meantime, a second and happier narrative was building in my life. I will share more about the wonderful circumstances which led to my current situation in the next post. Feel free to share your thoughts on this latest portion of my story. Join in the conversation.