Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Price of Mother's Day

Trigger warning for self-harm, estranged mother-daughter relationships

I want to carve my pain into my arms, to watch the blood drip down onto this pristine white floor, mixing anger and grief, loss and love as if somehow it will cleanse my heart of the secrets it carries.

I played good daughter today. I called my mother, told her the truth, told her that I love her. I buried everything else inside through that stilted, brief phone call, voices of my siblings in the background. Siblings who were there, with her today.

I hid out in my apartment all day. Actually I hid in my bed, curled up with the man who loves me watching movies on a laptop. Periodically I checked Facebook, comforted and stifled by the words of others. Words of acceptance for grief like mine. Words I wanted to like, to share to shout from the virtual rooftops.

Instead, I sat silent, withdrawn, pulled away. Immobilized by fear. Fear  of it getting back to my mother, of causing more pain for her than I’ve already caused. Fear of further estrangement from those who believe my family to be supportive and loving. Fear of fucking it all one more time.

Today I choked on my own truth. The truth that my Mother is a complicated woman who I have a complicated relationship with. The truth that I am not a mother, may very well never be a mother because I don’t want a child who will bear the scars of my mistakes. A child who may very well thirty years from now fight tooth and nail to call me, to reach a hand across a divide that cannot be bridged. A phone call that costs her everything, that leaves her wrung out. Too many emotions, not enough words.

I don’t want to pass down this legacy to my daughter. Each year I’m reminded on Mother’s Day of the cost my heart pays for that choice. Each year I question if the cost is too high. Each year I work to remember that even though she never protected me, never bonded with me, my Mother loved me as best as she could. Each year I hide my truth from myself and everyone else in the name of love that tastes of guilt and obligation.

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