I’m not really sure when I came around to the knowledge that my immediate examples of adulthood would not work for me. It might have been the first time that my mom asked for my paycheck when I was 12, which I resented, but didn’t know wasn’t normal.
I gave it up, I was terrified of my mom, I’d seen what she could do. I’d seen her wrestle grown men that I looked up to and put her hands on my precious grandmother…I was in no way inviting that. So I gave, and I gave, and I gave and at some point I realized…my friends didn’t have to do that..maybe this wasn’t normal at all. Maybe when I think my mom is being unreasonable, I’m right?
This is a scary epiphany…and a little empowering. My mom was and always has been a glutton, and not a neat person by any stretch of the imagination. She insisted on having a trash can within arm’s reach wherever she sat. LAZY. So I made some self destructive decisions…I was a teenager, which of us doesn’t? She is a perpetual victim of her circumstance and at this point, the reality that goes in, comes out transformed and a mere shell of the truth. Times and names may not have changed…but everything else did.
I was suicidal for the entire term of my high school years until I discovered I was pregnant. Then, I had something – no someONE to live for, that needed me for more than the paychecks I could bring in. Mind you, by this time I lived with my boyfriend…but he was just a younger male version of her. I often thought..wow..when most girls pick someone like their dad…I go and pick someone like my mom. Way to go!
But back to my point..I knew somewhere along that line that I had to do something about the knowledge I had of adults. In my house, we were the manual labor – all kidding aside, my mother didn’t lift much of a finger. My baby sister cooked, I bought groceries frequently, working in a grocery store made that convenient.
I harbored more and more resentment the longer I worked, the more money I gave and the more I was verbally assaulted. It didn’t matter what I did, I could not do right. I would swear to stay out of the way, she insisted I must be gone for the weekends. I was not allowed to stay home, it was that simple. That’s love….
So when I got pregnant, Senior year in high school..I changed my dance class to early childhood development and health, to parenting…and I learned a great deal.
Once I finished high school I started reading book after book on self improvement, positive thinking, successful child rearing, etc. I’ve always been a voracious reader and this was something intrinsically interesting and worthwhile for me to learn. I knew for a fact that going by the example I had in my face all those years, I would surely fail.
I had my grandmother, but I always felt that I borrowed her from my sister. Didn’t change the fact that I idolized her and envied my mom and her siblings for having her as their mom. She was driven, loving and kind. Not always, but the majority of the time. And I could speak freely. There were no imaginary eggshells on the ground and no grown up temper tantrums, her house was my hideaway.
Since she has been gone I have felt extremely lost, without my compass. She was always “Home” to me and I feel I’ve lost that. I see the street name when I drive home and every day it’s a lump in my throat. Every day I look at her furniture in my house and I miss her. Sure, some days I don’t really “see” it…but it’s always there.
I am a person who knows what self pity can do to you…this I have decided was my mothers’ prevailing issue.. so in this I cannot stay, I stuff it and have been, since that day in August. I have tears welling up now, but they won’t come down.
I have in the past attributed that to strength…but that’s not accurate. It’s fear..of what will they think of me if they see me cry. It matters not who “they” are..I have always considered it a weakness…so doesn’t everyone else?
I ordered a book that was reviewed on my new favorite website Raptitude.com. The book is called This Is How, by Augusten Burroughs. He sounds like me when I talk to myself, because I cuss myself out, call myself names – you name it..I’m pretty mean to me. Don’t get me wrong, his tone isn’t mean spirited, it is just very direct and no bullshit, whatsoever…and he cusses…and it is delicious and poignant all at once. The night I got my hands on the book I read half of it and stayed up until 2 am reading…paid for THAT the next day for sure, but it was worth it.
I realize that I have to take a step back and feel the grief..which means I must lose control a little bit here and there and let the tears come, and feel sorry for my loss. I am not comfortable with this, but I will do it, in the name of moving forward and letting go of things that I cannot change or control…I have to get the monkey off my back. But in reading this book, it also makes me wonder, am I still stuck in that cycle of crazy she fostered? How much time am I spending thinking about it? Not really very much in my opinion, except as a measuring stick for myself if I veer to close to her. Kinda fucked up, I know, but it seems to have been working so far.
I’m going to finish the book in a few days, I’m still digesting what I’ve read I think because I haven’t been ready to pick it up and keep going. For a few years I’ve felt something holding me back and maybe this book can help me to examine the parts of me I long ago put up in the closet with the christmas lights…all dusty and covered in cobwebs now.
I haven’t been writing..I’ve been hiding. When I write I consider it therapy, regardless of the post topic, I feel it’s selfish time and I enjoy it..this self examining part I approach with trepidation and a good amount of fear, I may not like what I find in there, in fact, I’m pretty sure I won’t like it. But I’m too old to be afraid of it now.
What if I find a big ugly monster? What if I called her Mom? What if I never got over my ex husband like I thought? What if I knowingly picked an asshole for the ex boyfriend because I didn’t think I could commit 100%?
BUT, what if I’m able to move on finally?
This is my hope, and if you’re interested, I’ll share this journey with you.