Note: This might be all over the place, so please bear with me.

Right now, I’m sitting in a room of the house owned by my mom. I’m 28 years old and I don’t even have a driver’s license. She blames her ex-boyfriend for his empty promises to teach myself and my sisters when we were in our late teens. My older sister is out of the house was indeed the leader of the three of us. She had to be, due to our mother rarely being home. She was going to school at the time, and when she wasn’t in school she was clubbing. I still remember occasions in which she’d come home from school, and I’d be so excited to spend time with her, only to see go to the bathroom for a shower, grab a dress and leave. There were several times in which I hadn’t seen her all day and happen to wake up late at night to hear her partying with several friends. I would cry as loud as possible just so I could see her. This stopped after a week, when she yelled at me for it. For the first years of my little sister’s life she called my older sister “mama”.

Though she was never really around, she was overprotective. We only really left the house for school, or occasionally to hang out with our cousins or with other kids at a babysitter’s house (which were their own hellish experiences, but that’s a different story…). Whenever me and my older sister would meet any of these kids, the interaction was always the same. The group took to her immediately, and I was constantly bullied. There were occasions in which several of the older kids (8-9 years old)the babysitter was keeping would group together and stare me (5-6 years old) down as if they were going to jump me. I doubt they had real intentions to do so, but it can still prove unnerving at that age.

I cried a lot as a child, and Mom frequently got mad at me for this. One occasion, both of my sisters were beating me up (yes, younger too. What can I say I was a soft kid…) and when she saw me on the floor crying, she simply says, ”Be a man and fight back.” And with that, leaves the room.

I received several beatings from my older sister at this time. She was about 9 or 10 and dealing with the loss of our older brother, whom I’ve never met (more on this later) and our parents divorcing. She had a lot of pain in her and I was the one she often expressed it on.

At the age of 10, Mom divulged that I was conceived specifically to take the place of my older brother. Which in and of itself isn’t that big of a deal, I guess. But in later years, thinking back on our interactions, I feel she didn’t want a son to replace the one she lost, but a product to be corrected with the belt.

As the years progressed, through high school and college, I notice my mom and sisters becoming closer as I distanced myself from my mother as best I could. There were instances in which Mom would get on me about something, then start yelling at me two other unrelated things. I ask my older sister about it, and I find out that on several occasions, the three of them came together just to rant about what a pain in the ass I am. This dynamic would continue over time. When me and my little sister got jobs, if my sister had a bad day at work she could easily go to our mom to vent. I gripe about things at work, I get yelled at for not taking initiative to leave. I’d explain that I’ve turned in several applications; she’d continue to yell at me saying I wasn’t trying hard enough to find another job. In recent years, my mother admitted she was harder on me because I’m a male. Though I still live with her, I haven’t really talked to her since I was 12.

May I also mention that throughout all these years until college, we were STILL not allowed to leave the house for any reason other than school. From practically no interaction with the outside world, to a customer service job…clearly this wouldn’t turn out well..

This brings you guys up to speed on my past and explains my current broken state. I have severe social anxiety. When in public settings, as a reflex, my body tenses up as if ready for a fight to defend myself against the outside world. I don’t have many friends because of this. At work, I scare people away from me with a look. Actions that I mean to be benevolent unintentionally come off as hostile to those around me.

I’m an aspiring comic book artist. Many people say I’m good, but whenever I try to submit work to a company, I’m so riddled with self doubt that nothing ever gets done. Recently, I’ve found myself entertaining the idea of suicide.

– A.J.