I’m for the most part anti-holiday and the content of this post will make it seem like I’m anti-Mother’s Day, but that’s not the case. I just wanted to talk about my relationship with my mother or lack thereof. If you’ve read some of previous posts, you would know that I live with my parents, but the sad part about it is that we kind of just coexist. They’re more like my 50 and 60 something year old roommates, who pay the bills. I want to start off by saying that I love my mother dearly, but sometimes it saddens me that she doesn’t really know me and she’s never made effort to get to know me.
A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones. – Kristin Hannah
Every year around my birthday my mother tells me the story of how she went into labor and gave birth to me, and how 2 weeks after she had me she went back to work and my grandmother kept me while she and my father worked. I stayed with my grandma every day from 2 weeks old until I hit the age to go to preschool. My mama told me that I formed a bond with my grandma and I would run to her before I would run to my mother. I think that’s where we got off on the wrong foot.
By the time I was four years old I knew I was different, I was very quiet, introverted, and I was an overweight child. This was something my mother could never understand, she’d always been loud and outgoing, she was thin, never had a weight issue. She wanted me to be like her and my sister, thin and attractive in society’s eyes. She criticized me, made me feel bad about myself, made me aware of everything I put in my mouth, and everything I put on my body. I remember being on a diet at the age of 6 and being prescribed Prozac, because a side effect they’d seen in children taking the drug was weight loss. As an adult, I don’t hold it against her, because I understand that she never understood me. I realize that because she never had to worry about her weight, she didn’t know how to handle mine.
For always there is the memory of mother, whose judgments are so completely absorbed into the daughter’s identity that she may wonder where Mom leaves off and she begins. – Victoria Secunda
Through all the pain and hurtful words that cut like sharp knives, I continued to long for a relationship with my mother. I couldn’t understand how you could birth someone, raise them, see them every day and not really know them? After I turned 14 my mother got sick and had to have a tumor removed from her back, she became so wrapped up in her issues, it was almost as if nothing else mattered. As my older sister started getting in trouble, I withdrew, I became invisible and although I struggled greatly with it at first, I grew to love it. I formed a relationship with myself. Right before I went off to my freshman year at college, my mother said she didn’t want me to go off to school at such a heavy weight. In between getting my immunization shots, she made an appointment for me to see the doctor about getting weight loss pills. I took them to please her, hoping that I would finally lose weight and gain her approval. My parents packed me up and dropped me off at my dorm, and of course she made sure to ask me if I had the pills. After a few weeks of taking the weight loss pills, I began to feel the most unlike myself. Depression set in and so did dark thoughts. I decided (the first adult decision I ever made) to stop taking those pills. I never told her why I stopped taking them, the woman who told me it would probably help me lose weight if I skipped a few meals, probably wouldn’t understand.
A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem. – Naomi Wolf
That was 10 years ago, but our relationship hasn’t improved. She doesn’t talk to me about my weight anymore, she knows that I won’t stand for it now, after I stopped speaking to her for weeks after she threw some criticism my way a few years ago. But the relationship still isn’t there and I’ve been living in the same house with her for almost four years. Even though it is still a bit hurtful, I’ve learned a few things from the lack of a relationship with my mother: live your life without worrying about the opinions of others – friends or family, know who you are and what you stand for and do not waver, and if you should ever have children, let them know that they are beautiful human beings and that ugliness has nothing to do with appearance, but everything to do with attitude. I still hold out hope for having more of a relationship with my mother, she is very close with her own mother, and I thought she would want the same with her own daughters, maybe one day she will. Writing this post has been therapeutic, there are many other stories I could tell, but my purpose in writing this is not to demonize my mother (she’s a good mother and I think she did her best), and I don’t want to play the victim. It is a way for me to let go off the negative things that have held me back mentally. Releasing them to further diminish their power.