I woke up Sunday wishing I could remember what my mother's voice sounded like. She used to record stories for the local library, and you could call a number to hear it over the phone. I knew they used her stories for years after she left the job, so I called it up. It was a new voice telling a bilingual story. Guess they finally got with the times.
So I hung up. Checked my email and found a message from her.
It was hit and it was miss. There was a line in particular that gave me deep pause, but I won't go into it here, mostly because when I replied I neglected to edit out my signature with the link to this blog in it, so it's possible she's finally found it and maybe even stalking me right now. Ooooooh, spooky. It's a bummer because this has been a place where I felt free to talk about it and write it out. I may migrate over to my livejournal to do this in the future.
But I do want to catalog the things that helped me get to the place where I am today, and that is a place where her memory can no longer hurt me. I just found myself here recently.
1) Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. The movie works better than the book for my specific purposes. The book is a little too different from our particular problems, but the movie is general enough to apply. I watched it and wished somehow someone would knock me out and take me out of my life and explain everything about her and what made her the crazy woman she became. Never happened.
2) Big Fish. Another movie about a kid who hates his/her parent for the person s/he perceived the parent to be and how s/he goes about reconciling that issue.
3) Postsecret.com and a few secrets in particular that resonated with my situation. One said "I am sorry I can't be who you want me to be, Mom. It's a shame cause I kinda like myself the way I am." Another said "Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering." It's nice to know that even though other people are having lives completely different from your own, our individual sufferings match up on overall themes from time to time. I made one card about us and sent it in, but I never saw it posted on the blog. Lame.
4) Rachel McKibbens's "Central Park, Mother's Day."
Neither of these are as powerful as the version I heard for the first time at the finals of the National Poetry Slam in Austin in 2007. It was the first time I really thought about our situation from her point of view and thought, gee, maybe she didn't *mean* to fuck up so badly.
5) A documentary my father gave me about forgiveness. I can't remember the title right now, sorry, but it got me thinking about the process and working toward it.
6) Writing lots of poems about her.
7) Writing lots of letters to her. I never sent the poems or the letters, of course. Because at the end of the day, they were really just for me.
8) This American Life episode 175:
The story that starts at 32:49 wasn't about us at all at first. It wasn't until it got to 53:36 that the neon signs lit up, and they were all arrows, and they were all pointing right at me.
I'm doing this catalog just in case we do meet up, and it turns out to be a terrible idea and nothing but negativity comes from it. These things (and a few more, but these have been the real beacons) can help bring me back to this place where I realize that she quite probably did the best she honestly could, and I can't hate her any more if her best was really that awful. I don't know what happened to her to make her who she was, and it may happen that she's someone else entirely today. Here's hoping.
The saddest part is that I've found two amazing substitute moms and I've loved them so much and valued having them in my lives more than I can ever tell them. One lives on a mountaintop outside Hot Springs and always gives the best hugs and the hugest heapings of unconditional love and delicious tea and is so giving and so loving. The other is actually a transgendered woman (gets her pussy this week, god bless her!) who is the ass-kicking I-got-your-back kind of mom who doles out brilliant amazing advice and delicious dinners at the same time.
I worry that they may suffer in this. Either my bio-mom will turn out to have changed into someone I can have a relationship with and I'll neglect these amazing women (unlikely, but I'll surely have guilt anyway) or she'll turn out to be the same person she always was and these women will have to help me rebuild myself all over again.
Dear God: Thanks for the amazing mothers you've sent me. Do please keep an eye on me for a bit while I deal with this. Love, Ginna.