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Mother Is a Verb

The Complexities of Being Your Daughter


This is not a letter to my mother. It is NOT some grandiose trip to make others dig real deep for some sympathy for the little girl that was abandoned by her mother. Truth is there are a lot of kids out there with situations just like mine, if not so much worse. Kids feeling that longing for a connection, to feel loved. However, this is not for them either. Not yet, anyway. This is a for MY mother. This is for me and how I learned to become a woman that socially carries the "daughter" title without a true understanding of what that means. This is for all the fears I carry with me because of her. 

I do not understand what it means to be her daughter.

I love her in a way that should not come with reservations or an apology. I love her as certain people are to be loved, with forgiveness. Though, my sentences should not begin or end with "but I know she loved me" to defend her, I cannot create a different past. As if my acceptance of her transgressions somehow lets her off the hook. I have forgiven her. My forgiveness comes with fear that if any tiny little humans get close to me, I'll fuck them up the way she did me. Hence, my fear of having children. 

Now, I know what you're thinking. We learn from our parents. We learn the good, the bad, and the beautiful ugly. We learn that our parents are people, too. They exist in a parallel world with pain from their pasts, with broken hearts, with things they never healed from. I learned from my mother that she hurt in the same way she made me hurt. She felt abused, abandoned, let down by the adults responsible for shaping her, and became an adult at a very early age to care for her sisters. Like my mother, I too, was abused, abandoned at 15, let down by every father figure, and became an adult to care for my brother and sister. 

But why? Why should a child pay for their parent's mistakes? As I was so many times lead to believe that I was one, I have spent my whole life wondering why I have to protect my mother when she never protected me. Why did she resent me in such a way that allowed for her to pick up her life and move on without me; leaving me in a house that I would later describe as a prison? A prison with little food, cold nights, lonely holidays, and two kids. Two children that I needed to protect. There wasn't time to worry about the normal questions that would later leave me feeling empty as well. Such as, how do I put on makeup? How do I know when I am in love? When a boy tells me he loves me is it true? If so, how does a girl know? When is it appropriate to have sex? How do I heal from a broken heart? Why am I feeling everything so intensely? These are, to name a few, of the questions I had to stumble through with no parents. 

What's worse was the not being prepared for the depression. The depression that left me battling inside my head how I could exist in a world where I felt completely forgotten, unwanted, and unloved. Little did I know that the trauma of these burdens would never outweigh my feelings of being a burden.  

 So, again I ask why? 

My mother got to her 30s and had no idea who she was because she stumbled too. I am going on 30 now and for once in my life I feel more in control of how I handle this pain than ever before. As I sit here, I am discovering the message as I write this all down. My mother hurt, plain and simple. She felt the hurt of the world and never healed. If I had one message for my mom it would be this:

This is not to make you feel guilty, ashamed, or even sorry. It's my story for empowerment. I feel as if I am convincing myself right now in the present, as I reread this in hopes that I can slowly make peace of how I am both your daughter and not your daughter at the same time. I am stronger for what you didn't give me. Mother is a verb, an active experience where you chose to remain stagnant. It's time to move mom. 

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