The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Moving continents to break away from a toxic home

The Channels Opinion Pages | EDITOR COLUMN
Nora Abou-Dabous

Abous-Dabous_NoraI had a pretty rough childhood.

My mother was abusive and my father was never really around. Boys at school would flush my brand new winter shoes down the toilet, forcing me to walk home in my socks in the snow with tears in my eyes.

I was mentally and physically bullied at home and school. Boys would push me on the floor and kick me until I bruised and I would come home to my mother’s shouts. The evilness surrounded me, and I had nowhere to escape.

After junior high, things got a little easier in school, but my mom was still the same.

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I graduated high school with the best possible grades and an exceptional scholarship. She didn’t even bother to show up. The attention I seeked from her was never there.

On a cold afternoon about two years ago, I walked in to our apartment and found out that my mother had been lying to me once again. The one person that has brought me so much pain in my life, had been invited in to my home.

“BAM!” I slammed the door in her face. I sat down on my bed—she always found a way to disappoint me. It never seemed to stop. Lies after lies after lies. I put on Spotify and my favorite Queen song started playing. The lyrics that Freddie Mercury sang just pierced through me.

“I want to break free
I want to break free from your lies
You’re so self satisfied I don’t need you
I’ve got to break free
God knows, God knows I want to break free. “

I could feel it throughout my bones. My blood was pumping and my adrenaline was flowing. There was a higher power saying that I needed to leave the misery I was in.

In order to truly let myself become happy, I had to run away from my mother’s control of me.

I had to break free.

So I made up a plan. I sent applications across the Atlantic Ocean, feeling excitement, but mixed with fear.

When I told her that I wanted to spread my wings far away to another continent she said,
”No. You’re not allowed.”

I heard not a single ounce of pride or support for her daughter in her voice.

I left anyways.

I was a scared teenager who landed at LAX airport in Los Angeles that warm afternoon on August 7, 2013—almost 10 months ago.

It was my first time moving away from home and I was terrified. But it was my time now. I deserved every single moment of it.

Two months ago I called her. I told her I was going to work at the pet shop this summer when I got back. The conversation was horrible through the weak Internet connection. The only thing I heard from her angry voice was how unnecessary she thought it was that I went to college here in America. My mother had once again made me feel like a loser.

I remember thinking to myself, ”that’s the last time I’ll let her words hurt me” when I hung up the phone.

Fast forward to today. It has now been an overwhelming and absolutely wonderful year in sunny Santa Barbara. I’ve met friends here that I know I’m going to keep for the rest of my life. The experience and the memories I bring back home with me is something that I’ll cherish forever.

And now I have exactly 20 days left of this crazy roller coaster ride. I’m leaving America 10 pounds heavier (damn those snicker doodles!), a year older, and last but not least—stronger.

I’m never going to let my mother push me down again.

Her harsh words will never affect me the same way they used to. It took me 20 years to realize what I’m worth.

I know now that I can do what ever it is my heart desires and I know for a fact that all of my dreams can be fulfilled. Now I actually have the courage to pursue them. ­

I’m a thousand times stronger.

And God knows I finally broke free.

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