I've been debating whether to post this or not. I feel so immensely guilty thinking about it, let alone putting it out there in the world. And I don't know if this is proof that therapy is working (they are very big on writing things down, especially when learning you are a writer), but I've decided that I want to get this out. I'm hardly a popular blogger in the the big, mad world of the internet, but maybe someone will relate and come to realize what I'm still trying to work out.
My mother's issues were not about me, not really, and I don't need to let her unhappiness ruin the remainder of my life.
My mother passed away last year in January of 2009 and it was so bizarre to me when people would share stories. They described this happy, full-of-love woman that I only caught glimpses of in my lifetime. They talked about how caring and funny she was, how proud she was of me.
It truly baffled me because that was not the woman I knew. Most of what I knew of her was angry, mean, and a woman who wouldn't take care of herself. She drank and got vicious when she did. She would fight with my sister and I would be thrown into the middle trying to keep the peace, but I don't know why I bothered...because she always found fault with me. Over a year after she has died and I still hear things like "you're fat and ugly" and "you have a worthless life" in my head.
I've grown up thinking of myself this way. I can't take a compliment. I push people away. If I don't let someone in, they can't leave me behind. My dad left me with this woman that he chose and no one else seemed to notice or care what she was like. And as an adult, I can see that she faced a hard situation. Suddenly widowed and left with two little kids to raise herself and I'm pretty sure, from things she said (often when drunk), that she was never particulary happy. And I wish I knew why. I wish I could've been the daughter she wanted and needed, the one who could get her to take care of herself, the one who made her proud because she was "normal" by her standards, one who she didn't constantly find flaws with no matter what.
The thing is, I know I need to forgive her, but as my therapist would say, I need to go through all this stuff I've repressed (because I couldn't let people think she wasn't a good mommy, and she was a good mommy some ways) and internalized before I can reach that point. It's so hard to do. And I feel incredibly guilty that I can't just forgive those things and move on like a grown up, but I'm not there. I still love her, but I hate her just as much.
It's like I'm stuck on this ferris wheel between the bottom and top. I don't want to go back down, but I can't quite see the top and the beauty out there in the view.
That's the main reason for this post. Because over the last few months I've been feeling lost. I've lost seventy-five pounds since last May and I can't let myself celebrate it. Because of that voice in my head that says "You're fat and ugly." Because when my life spiraled out of control at a young age and my mother was putting me on diets all the time, I realized I could control food. She couldn't make me eat right. And I would use my allowance or babysitting money to buy junk.
And now, after so many years of that, it's so hard to change that mindset of control. It's not on my mother anymore, it's on me. I control whether I let the fear of the unknown and possible failure continue to deter me, or whether I pick myself back up and remind myself that I can do it. I lost seventy-five pounds. I'm definitely capable. And the demon voice in my head, whispering that I'm too much of a dreamer, is wrong. It's time to squish the demon voice into the ground. To forgive myself and my mother and everyone else I perceived to have wronged me. I need to learn that letting someone in doesn't necessarily mean they will abandon you or reject you for being yourself.
To those out there like me: other people's issues are just that...other people's issues. It's easier to say than to truly believe, but just keep saying it. Know you're not alone because every morning I'm starting a new day with endless possiblities.
And maybe one day I'll finally be able to say honestly that I've accepted the good and bad of my mother, forgiven her for the bad, and have moved on.