I sent my mom a text in April begging her to love me, to not abandon me or the girls, to know I loved her unconditionally, a message cloaked in unworthiness and fear, a little girl who spent her entire life wanting her mother’s approval.
I now understand that growing up, the poor choices I made perhaps weren’t even poor, that just maybe they were
choices I made in desperation to be free, independent, and were part of the normal development of adolescent children.
I thought all children had massive guilt for wanting to go to school, to sleepovers, to college. I had believed I was innately evil or wrong, my intuition correct that I was loved by the image of me she formed and modeled, and to mirror back anything else would be hurtful, damaging, abusive, wrong, and condemned.
I didn’t believe this was true for a long time.
I thought if I just moved away from my home, the beach and my friends where I loved life, to her, married and proved what a good girl I really was, she would see I wasn’t bad, that I loved her, that my heart was pure.
I had to make up to her all the pain I caused being me.
So, I did. I worked myself to death in my marriage and motherhood for me and for her, codependency became the dark cancer that began to eat at my soul, spreading into the disappearance of Self, rotting the once clearly understood line that now blurred me with her.
I spent hours on the phone, my high came from feeling her acceptance of me, no longer the image of self destruction, I had molded myself into the doting mother and wife I thought she would approve.
She did. These marked my favorite years of being her daughter, friend, confidant, secret keeper. I slowly didn’t know how I would survive without her, and now I see all the failures were unconscious desires for her to save me, to love me, to accept me.
They were never enough.
Of course I am not God, nor do I have permission to know or judge anyone’s experience here, but I do have a theory. I believe my mother was so injured as a child, especially by her mother, she set out determined not to be her, picked the image that would suggest total security and protection against ever feeling that powerless and out of control again. It was the perfect image of the perfect love she would have wanted, the family she would have would bring her the happiness she desperately craved, and when it ended, so did she.
I believed anyone in a 34 year marriage to abruptly end in such a horrific way would lose themselves but I was determined she would become something even more wonderful than she could ever imagine or vision.
I believed I was the only one who could truly ease her pain. I now held the torch of her dream and I had to hold it high above, to always watch it burn or I would lose her, my heart trembled like that of an Olympic competitor, my whole life on the wait of one performance, the flame taunting me that if it fell, it would be all my fault.
And so I ran.
Every defense mechanism and coping skill came out in full force, the trauma just played over and over again, so I came to her aid, certain our love would conquer the world.
Somewhere I lost me in the process.
It wasn’t until I made the decision to go to school that the woman I imagined fled, my leaving her side suddenly became personal, long gone were the loving encounters, the hours of phone calls, the counsel, the suffocating thing I believed was called love.
I had been unable to function for two years of depression, had not developed any close relationships, began to check out while she seemed content to sit every day on my bed and cry, drink coffee, and discuss all the details of her marriage I believed were my responsibility to solve.
It is a painful thing to evolve. It is painful to let relationships die so we can be who we came here to be, but it is unescapable. We all wear the scars of being human and having lost something we can’t replace. I have found grieving a death is far easier than to grieve an illusion, a dream that was never meant to be, especially not for you. You know in your deepest place you are meant to write, create, love again, dream again, but you choose the illusion so that you can hold on tight to the thing that guarantees you not feel worthless, empty, destroyed, or alone.
Her problem was not that I didn’t love her. Her problem was that I wanted nothing to do with the image, and I was too tired to hold up a torch that didn’t even belong to me.
This had to have felt like a slap in the face, her own childhood issues not dealt with along with the shattering of her life with a man she loved for 34 years had to have brought out every fear imaginable, and still my heart cried, “But, what about me?”
I thought I could do both, but I was naive.
In the end, I had to choose.
I was so busy living this life and building my own dream, falling in love, making mistakes and rediscovering my Self when I had become able to objectively see the sickness as it was, an impossibility for her to accept.
I had been the one just like him, my Father, her ex, and I was now her source, so who was she now? I must be blinding to her, so like him I am, in my humor and eccentric love of risk and drive, determined to go up and down the roller coaster of life, emotionally charged, self gratifying, throwing out all the rules that she insisted kept me safe.
In loving me you must embrace the unknown, and even worse, your fears about it.
I had to face that these years were not about love, that I didn’t have a clue what love even was, for certainly when you break up with the man you love, are told what damage is being caused to your children for your dream, much less again and again told the reason you kept another human being alive, you must make a choice.
I watched the dream I supported and cheered for in the sidelines shatter, the pieces of me I didn’t know how to ever begin to rebuild, the shattered splinters of my worth, identity, and memory bank were damaged without any hope of repair.
In my desperation to understand what seems easy today was a nightmare, a rock that turned over every day with even worse dirt and more worms to crawl out. I was either naive or arrogant to believe I could face the run of an Olympian, for I had no idea what was before me, nor had I been given the training to face the lies and betrayals, shame, confusion, the fog of hurt was so heavy I was convinced I would never find my way out.
It was only when at night, thinking and turning, unable to sleep, hamsters in wheel lived in my head constantly, tormenting me with their squeaky annoying sounds. I had no echo to return back to me value, good or bad, a period of time I thought destroyed me actually brought me back to life.
In the fog of my sad lonely mind, I saw her.
She was there with a torch, a dream, but it was her race and only her own that mattered. She was not selfish or abusive, cruel or bad, but brave, her obstacles made the prize that much more beautiful, and so, I am determined to let the past settle with the dust from underneath my shoes, my broken heart softly weeps as I hold desperately to her flame.
Writing without any fear that I am hurting or destroying or selfish is a part of me I acknowledge, but as a separate piece, not me, just a watching critic reminding me of all the lies I have to release. I have never fully committed to writing the way I longed, for the fear of hurting her, the fear of my inner critic rearing his ugly head.
I never get this day back.
I am weary, far behind, unsure if I’m even ready for such a race, but today I honor my flame, the soul, the place dreams are born.
I’ve got promises to keep, miles to go before I sleep, a path to blaze, a future to claim, so for today, my critic, well,
Today he can just eat my dust……..