My mother and I haven’t had a relationship for seven years now, and it’s debatable whether what we had before that could be called a relationship.
This blog entry will be neither short nor skin-deep. Consider yourself warned. It might not even be up here for long.
I cannot decide which is worse, I cannot decide which I want less. Do I want to have a mother who will never love who I really am the way she wanted to love who she wanted me to be? No. No I do not want a love with conditions, no I do not want a love that frequently tastes so strongly like hatred, no I do not want a love in which I must tiptoe around my feelings and desires and true self. Then, do I want a life without a mother? NO! I want a mother who loves me.
It’s greedy, I know. So few people have parents at all, let alone parents who love them, and my father loves me more than enough already. I realize my desire to be a selfish one, but most desires are, and I cannot seem to stop this yearning despite trying for either seven years - or perhaps more like seventeen, since the first real altercation we had, since the first time I felt that she didn’t actually love me.
And then I saw a poem performed at a National Poetry Slam that I didn’t even think I would get to go to. I can’t find a recording of that specific performance, and so without any permission at all, I repost here two copies of two separate performances of the poem "Central Park, Mother’s Day" by Rachel McKibbens.
I heard this poem and I thought to myself... maybe she didn’t mean to fuck me up. Maybe what I’ve become, what our relationship has become, wasn’t her intention at all. But then I say to myself, duh, no one would have intended what we’ve become...
I’m feeling the universe bombard me with a need for a mother. What’s that all about? I want her to want me. I want her to miss me, to love me for who I am, tattoos and sapphic tendencies and all. I want her to wake up in the middle of the night reaching for something she cannot name, something she misses, something she could almost grasp... with my name just on the tip of her tongue... I am a strong independent intelligent successful female. I should be just fine on my own. I am twenty-five goddamned years old - this fall will complete my twenty-sixth year. Why, then, do I feel this need for my mommy?
She was never a good, loving mother, or at least not at any point that I can actually remember. My father tells me she’s wonderful with children and was wonderful with us as children, but I cannot remember back that far. I can remember her painful grip on my arm, I can remember her telling me I could be so pretty if I’d only wear makeup over and over, I can remember her packing my things to give to goodwill after I ran away...
And I can remember fight after fight in that old house that became so cold. I can remember her screaming - I’m sure I screamed back. What I remember most is how those fights were resolved. If I was actually wrong, I would go to her and apologize and she would stroke my hair while I cried and forgive me... in her own way. Even as she forgave me she would continue to criticize what I’d done but I didn’t care, I just wanted her hand on my head, her words in my ear, my tears on her knees, anything to be close to her. If she was wrong, however... that woman would hold a grudge until Christ came back. Days and days would pass in which she would refuse to acknowledge me - any necessary conversation was limited to as few syllables as could be used to get it across. At some point, I’d cave, I’d go and talk to her, and some type of conversation would be had after which I was allowed to be her daughter again, but there was never an apology, never an admission of guilt.
And here I am with this need for a mother, and out there in the world is a woman who is actually and biologically my own mother. I want to reach out to her, I want her to be a positive part of my life, but I don’t know if that’s possible. I don’t know if the integral bits of herself that I would need to change in order for us to have a relationship will ever change. I wanted this fight to end differently than every fight we ever had - I wanted her to be the one who would instigate peace talks.
I have written books she’s never seen. I’ve had jobs she’s never heard of. I’ve been to cities she cannot name. I’m going back to school in the fall with a full scholarship and a stipend and she doesn’t know about it. I would have thought she’d want these accomplishments to be a part of her life, too. But her pride prevents her from saying, "You know what, I failed you as a mother and I’m sorry. Help me to make it right."
I know it’s proud of me to want her to make the first move. But right now I’m dying to send her an email and I don’t want to - I want this fight to end differently than all the others we ever had. I even set it up for her two years ago to be able to come back to me and be able to start things off, and she’s completely ignored that.
I want someone to tell me what to do. I want someone to tell her what to do. I wonder if anyone has experience with something like this and can lend me some wisdom.
I also hope you will not judge me based upon this particular blog entry.