The only pain I always attended was the pain and sorrow that came from a break-up. I’d wonder why my hopelessly romantic love wasn’t good enough for someone, or questioned myself for not being able to love another who was fond of me. On the other hand, I always ignored the pains that came before the break-ups. Did I forget that kind of pain? No, I haven’t forgotten, how could I. My childhood was filled with moments of fear, despair, isolation. It’s lamentable to have ignored them for so long, because now they’re floating up occasionally, like a hallow rubber ball that refuses to stay at the bottom of a tub full of water.
Lately I’ve been having tons of confrontations with my mother. The resentment from the past shows up every time. Why am I resentful towards her?
The past comes back to me today, and bugs me. It tugs at me, it begs me to listen. I’ve become good at listening to me, so I feel fortunate enough to say that I am able to stand still for a few minutes a day, and really hear me tell myself, “Hold on, stop tugging, I’m listening to you now just gimme a minute!” It might sound like a small thing, but it’s a real life-changing small thing. Ever since I started listening, I make better, more intuitive decisions that usually take me a little longer than before to answer, which is a great thing for me because I used to not give choices a lot of thought. I’d just do it, and although it’s often fun to be spontaneous, there are moments in life where you just cannot go with your first impression of things. Choices need to be thawed out a bit. I felt that was a big lesson for me.
So, pain from the past. In the last few weeks, I’ve tried really hard to know what it is that’s bothering me whenever the confrontations with my mom begin. Because something hurts beyond explanation when we start to slash come-backs at each other (makes me wonder why are we even going back and forth?). This hurt, usually, is a pain that goes beyond the argument at hand. Why does it hurt so much when my mom loudly doubts my motherly judgment. Why do I get so infinitely offended when she questions me? Or when she tries to tell me something indirectly with a provoking tone of voice, making her message slither sarcastically — that shit gets under my skin. Why is it so hard for her to just tell me something directly? Isn’t that easier? To be direct? And, why does it hurt me so much that she does this? There is gotta be something deeper than my ego. It’s not my ego.
I listened really hard, and this is what I got:
The pain comes from disconnection. We don’t know how to open up to each other. She has never opened up to me. She doesn’t mean to, but she often ends up hurting me more each time, distancing herself from me in a way that I have no control over. My list of things she has said to make me feel bad are endless. I’d never finish this post. I wanted to dug out the reason why I hurt when she acts like a child and argues and questions me. She has never allowed herself to be mindful.
In that moment, when her thoughtless and offensive words come out of her mouth, I cry inside. That moment lingers thereafter in me. It penetrates my chest. Those are the times when I wish I had a wiser, more verbally articulate mother to communicate with. Someone who would see the good I do, someone that would intuit what I feel. To acknowledge me for once. I have to be fair, she has her traumas, too. She’s been through a lot. But I find myself discontent with her conformity, her apathy.
I’m a mother, and I don’t go a day without knowing what my son is feeling, not even a second. Being a mother physiologically means that once you conceive, your uterus creates a placenta with an umbilical cord that connects you to the baby. I believe from that, from my experience with being a mother, even after the cord is cut and the baby can breath oxygen for the first time outside the uterus, the connection of mother to child continues. But as a child, I have never experienced that deeper connection with her enough to feel comfortable being my real self around her. I live with the persistent desire to feel safe at home, around my mother who accepts me. My reality is far from that, and that hurts.
My resentment with her also comes from her disconnection of the role she should have had as a mother while I was transforming into a womyn. I feel like an ungrateful child when I acknowledge it, but it’s my truth, how could I change that? I can’t.
It’s sad for me to remember my preteen experience. We didn’t have conversations about boys. She never talked to me about that thing that happens when a womyn becomes fertile, or how it happens. The one friend I loved the most at the time, she would hate on. Then we came to California, and things were a little different. My dad wasn’t around anymore, she had more freedom to let us do what she thought was the right thing. Being the oldest child, my parents got the most experimental time with practicing discipline on me. Because of that, I tended to be particularly independent; I already knew what my responsibilities were. I liked to do my homework on my own, I liked to do my own laundry, I liked to choose what I was going to spend my time doing after school. There’s one freedom I got used to that I didn’t like so much. I begin to make my own life plans without advice. It sucked because I began being a teenager without that parental guidance, my mom never gave me any real advice. She often saw me act mature, and probably thought I knew better all the time. But I didn’t. She would always let me do what I wanted because she relied on my maturity. She let me choose freely without warning. I was left to figure out a lot of things on my own; such as men, and my relationships with them. That freedom ruined me because I allowed men to define my self-worth, I didn’t realize that until now that I had the need to heal. Never did my mother intervene, and if she did it was not to help me out of the situation. She didn’t see me suffering either, I was seemingly in love. In reality, I was allowing other people to come before me at a time when I should have been on a self-identity journey. But I didn’t know that. It has been such a slowly and painful discovery. Over the years, I’ve buried each sorrow on top of the other, and I often resent my mother for not guiding me through it all.
I’m turning 25 this year, and I wish I wasn’t dealing with these feelings of resentment. And I wish I didn’t have my throat narrow when we argue, instilling in me a desperate need to cry every time the reel of pain unwinds.