It was back sometime in 1993, when I had a big fight with my grandmother, because I would drive my car to wherever I wanted to go, instead of telling her detail by detail where I was going. I was 24 years old, a grown woman. She had this foolish belief about how she had the right to tell me what to do, boss me around, and to know every minute of everyday what I was doing. Honestly, I couldn’t tolerate her behavior.
One morning, I took my shower, got dressed, applied my makeup, did my hair, and went for a drive to put in job applications and resumes at some local businesses and banks. I was gone most of the morning.
I returned home during the later part of noon. I had just walked through the front door when she started yelling, “Where have you been? Joanne and I had plans to go out. We couldn’t go because we had to wait for you.”
“Why would you need to wait for me? No one was stopping the two of you from going out anywhere. I don’t need your permission to take my car out and go for a drive. And for your information, not that it’s any of your business, but I was putting in job applications and resumes around to businessess in the hopes of landing a job someplace,” I said as I walked around her and put my coat into the hall closet.
“You knew we had plans to go out with friends today,” she stormed in walking over to me, getting in my face.
“I don’t care where you wanted to go. It makes no difference to me. Like I said, no one was stopping you from going. There your friends, not mine. And besides, I’m a grown woman. I don’t need either of you two to take me by the hand and say, we are going to go here today, we are going to go there, or, we are going to do this or that. I’m more than quite capable of making my own decisions. Now, if you will both excuse me, I’m going upstairs to do some writing for a while,” I yelled, as I headed upstairs to my bedroom.
My aunt was upstairs in the bathroom touching up her hair and make up when I approached her. “What grandma’s deal that she’s so pissed with me? You both knew that I had already made plans to go out this morning to put in applications and resumes. I told you both yesterday and the day before. I don’t have to ask permission to do so, just because I living here. It’s not like I’m lazy. At least I’m taking the initiative to find a job. I’ve been looking for a job since last year,” I scuffed.
My aunt looked at me, and said, “Your grandmother’s upset, because you left without saying where your were going, and what time you’d be back.”
“I’m not five and six years old that I should have to report such things to either of you. I go out when I want and where I want. I don’t have to go everyplace with the two of you. I need my freedom. I need to feel independent. It’s bad enough those abusive parents of mine kept the reigns tight on me, because they were overtly strict and cruel to me. I need to be my own person. It’s important for me to be my own navigator in life. I don’t want to feel like a prisoner here. I could have lived anywhere else. But remember one thing. The two of you practically begged me to stay here. Grandma manipulated you into convincing me to stay here. Then, you manipulated me through convincing me to stay here. I stipulated from the beginning if I am to stay here, I don’t want to feel tied down where I would need to ask permission before I went anyplace or did anything,” I shouted, while I smacked my hand against the door.
“There’s no need for you to get upset. Calm down. No one has you like a prisoner here. Your grandmother just wants to know where you are going and how long you’ll be when you go out, because she worries,” my aunt said while applying her eyeliner.
“Bull. She wants to control me and everything I do, just like my parents did. I’m going to tell you the same thing I told them when they were being domineering, controlling and abusive to me. I will not allow anyone to control me. I refuse to be a robot. And I’m not going out anywhere with the two of you today. I’ve already made plans to stay home and do some writing,” I stammered, smacked my hand against the bathroom door again, and stormed off to my bedroom.
I was working on some poetry in my journal, when my aunt knocked on my bedroom door. “You should apologize to your grandmother. After all, she’s a lot older than you are. Don’t you think she deserves to be treated with some respect?”
“Not when she can’t reciprocate it to me. I deserve to be treated with respect too. It works both ways. And if she wants my respect, she’s going to have to earn it. I’m sorry you feel otherwise, but this is the way I feel. For so many years, I’ve been disrespected by my parents, my siblings, and everyone whom I ever trusted. It’s time I stood up for myself and spoke out for respect I’m rightfully owed,” I said sternly while making some notations in my journal.
She went to the banister and called to me grandmother to come upstairs.
At first, she refused.
“Please, ma. You were both at fault,” my aunt pleaded.
Finally, my grandmother reluctantly came upstairs and into my bedroom, hugging, crying, “I’m sorry honey. I just wanted you to come with us today, that’s all. But if you want to do your writing, you do your writing.”
“Okay, grandma. Thank you. I’m just going to go back to working on some poetry,” I said as I embraced her.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015