Mahal: The Story

I’ve discovered something that could potentially give me direction.

So last post, I was concerned about my style, direction etc. on my business and I’ve been thinking about why I want to make this line real, and what pushes me to go further.

So what is my story? And in what way can I get people to notice my passion?

Well, I think my story is my family. Family always seems to be in my life. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, that’s wonderful, family comes first, family’s great…” etc., etc., etc. But in my life, family is actually a burden, and should just be replaced with the word stress. Family = Stress. My relationship with my family is not cheerful, it’s stressful.

The Story:

I had a rough teen-life. My parents separated when I was fifteen and just starting high school. My mom left for another man, and eventually had two more kids with him. Now in my house, it was my dad and my three other, younger siblings. That’s right, I am the oldest out of six kids, a mentally disabled sister (aged 9, currently 18), an athletic brother (aged 6, currently 15), a science bookworm brother (aged 2, currently 11), a lego/car loving brother (currently 7) and a shy insecure sister (currently 6). As a young teenage girl, I felt it was my responsibility to take care of the household. Well, it unwillingly became my job, since my father was so distraught from the situation, all he did was his “job” of buying us food, paying the bills, and taking us to school etc. He never stepped up to fill the new void that popped into our lives, a life we had to start rekindling without a mother. So I stepped in.

I cooked, cleaned the house, did laundry, (my dad was kind enough to take over the job of washing dishes), went grocery shopping, set up clothes for my siblings, went to school, attended after-school events/sports, did my homework, went to church, went to bible studies on Monday and Wednesday evenings for women’s and youth group, went to church events, and of course hung out with friends during non-school hours.

It was really hard, and countless times I really felt like I couldn’t handle it, and just wanted to disappear. Yes, this means I had thought about suicide, and not just once or twice. I couldn’t handle it, my father wasn’t supporting me, and the burden of home life, church life, school life and my life was becoming too much. I recall this one day when I came home from school, it was a Wednesday (and I was looking forward to my youth group bible study later that evening), my father and I got into a real heated argument, I don’t remember the topic, but it caused me so much grief and sadness that I just ran out the door, sobbing, looking for somewhere to go. I couldn’t go to my mom’s (I didn’t really like her then), and my grandma’s house was too far away from mine, so I went to my church, which was only a few blocks away. With my head aching, face swollen, eyes bloodshot and puffy, and barely breathing, I went to look for my youth pastor, Pastor Stevie. I barged in the room in search of him and found him at his computer. He immediately gave me and hug and walked me over to the couch with a box of tissues. I couldn’t talk properly since I had been crying so hard; I said some words, choked, let out a deep breath, cried, and tried to talk again, it was the routine until I eventually calmed down. Pastor Stevie listened to me, he talked to me, and was able to get my mind off of killing myself. His wife, Carmen, soon came to my aid and helped cook meals for my family, she and the other women from church. They didn’t cook for long periods of time but during the times I really needed it, like during test weeks and when I had more extracurriculars.

School and church were my save-havens. I just wanted to be around friends who helped take my mind off of the burdens of home life. I had two best friends and several good friends, and many times when we would go out to grab something to eat after school, I never wanted the day to end. My friends made me feel like life was actually fun, and I did enjoy it when I was with them.

Throughout the years, I became a very reserved, shy, passive aggressive type of person. I kept my thoughts to myself and put my needs/wants/desires after those of my family. Now that I’m older, I still put others before myself, but I have a louder voice than I did in the past. I’ve been to college, graduated, received my degree, working two jobs (related to art -my field), paying for my expenses with my hard-earned money, and living with my boyfriend and some roommates. I feel like I’ve managed to really come full circle and become a strong independent woman. Now I just want the same for my siblings. Why so much attention to my siblings now? Well, being older, some what wiser and being away from my family (living with them), has made me notice how serious their situation has become.

So what’s going on now? Well, my parents are still divorced, my father has custody over the three older siblings (well because their his kids), and my mom has the little ones. They are in the middle of a custody battle over my sister. My dad needs her for the money (since he hasn’t any other job, and my sister brings in a lot of money every month from government assistance) but he is neglecting her and she is not taken care of at all. My mom (whom I’ve bonded with better over the years and now have a good relationship) realizes that my sister is not in the best care and wants custody over her to take care of her.

My father’s reasons to have my sister are: 1) my mom left us 2) my mom is scum 3) he stayed with us while my mom left.

My mother’s reasons to have my sister are: 1) my mom is a caretaker 2) she’s our mom 3) can take care of my sister’s needs.

Neither one of my parent’s has a really strong argument to have my sister, it’s mostly “I’m better,” “They’re terrible,” “They don’t deserve anything,” etc.

Both of my parents have been/ are in some sort of personal struggle. My mom was an alcoholic, and struggles everyday to maintain sobriety. My mom has been to jail because she couldn’t make child support payments (at the time when she didn’t have a job as a caretaker). My mom currently has a job and is doing much better with her drinking issues. My mom was bad in the past, but is good now – to put it simply. My father has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is very paranoid and has become very rude and neglectful towards my sister and my brothers. My father was good and is now bad. Even I can’t stand him anymore, I hate hearing his voice, I hate being around him and he is so selfish and lacks empathy that he has the whole neighborhood despising him. Oh did I mention he doesn’t have any friends? None. And now he’s losing me, who always listened to him. My father obviously believes that nothing is wrong with him, and he truly believes that there is something wrong with me (since I’m not on his side in this situation). He wanted to know why I’m doing what I’m doing, and I told him straight out. He said to me that he’ll wait until I’m on his side to find out the real reason why. Well…it’s little things like that, that make me realize that my brothers (who are not disabled) desperately need a better role model in their lives, and my sister just needs to be saved.

I want to be that role model. My brothers love coming to my apartment for a few days and usually they come during their school breaks. My boyfriend and I try to give them the best stay. We don’t take them out every night, but we live as if they were living with us. My boyfriend takes them to the park, plays soccer and ping pong with them, we go to the grocery store and I ask them to find any snack/treat that they’d like to have, we got out to new eating joints, my boyfriend and I cook, and my brothers wash and put away dishes, we watch movies while eating, we play board games clean the room when it gets messy, my littler brother helps me with laundry and we go to the apartment complex’s pool.

Now reading over this list of what we do, isn’t that what a family is supposed to do? Have fun together, do chores together (so it’s not boring – and the kids don’t feel like they’re being bossed around), shop together (so the kids can get what they want too), play games together, find new places to eat (to try something new), and just…have a good balance of work and play?

I know it’s hard. Having a family is hard. Taking care of a family is hard. But if you put in more than 100%, the others in your family will work just as hard and things will get done. When I was younger I put in over 100% and my father only gave 50%. Now how was I supposed to get things done when someone in my family was only “half-assing” it? It’s just not fair. Even when I was in college, and rooming with other people, it’s not fair to the other housemates when you don’t wash your dishes, or wash the community pan after you’ve used it. It just common courtesy, and families need this too. My father is very “old-school” and believes that the woman is supposed to be a stay-at-home mom who takes cares of ALL the chores, the shopping, the kids, the husband and the food, while the man is supposed to go to work and earn money to pay for the bills (he still believes this). So this is his reasoning for not helping me out, “it’s not his job.”

Well here comes Mahal. The reason why I wanted Mahal to have the theme of love, was because in a world of trouble, love is such a great emotion to share with friends and family to show that the world isn’t all bad. It was hard for me to find inspiration, or ways to show love, but anything that makes me happy, makes me think of my siblings and the good times with my friends is love. I wanted to show my siblings that even though we grew up in a broken family with messed up parents, I’m still here, and I still have love for them. I wanted Mahal to support my siblings in whatever they needed. If they need help getting into college, I want Mahal to back them up, because I don’t know how much my parents will be able to support my siblings, but I want to be the one who can support them anytime. This is why I want Mahal to work out. I want to help my siblings, give them a better life, and show them and the world that whatever you do, do it with love (mahal).