Tuesday, 29 January 2013

I think it's safe to state that most mother's know their children's likes, wants, and needs, and often times, better then their own. I have personally encountered this dynamic through the various friendships I've held over the years, and through extended family. I do not have this relationship with my mother, and neither do any of my siblings. In fact, my mother knows so very little about us, that we are no longer shocked by her absurd generalizations of our personalities, though I can't say that I have always been indifferent to my mothers strange perceptions.

My mother is the type of person who gets very distressed if you do not absolutely love something she has given you. On my tenth birthday my mother bought me a pair of tapered jeans with charms on the pocket. The charms were neat, but tapered(which went on to evolve into "stretch skinnies", for the younger crowd who may be reading) jeans were not in fashion. If I went to school wearing tapered pants I would be guaranteed to be made fun of, and I had enough things to deal with already(or so I believed). I told her the jeans were nice but I didn't like the cut and asked if I could exchange them. My mother went on for half an hour about how nice the jeans really were and how silly I was for worrying about other's opinions. She made me feel stupid and selfish for wanting something different, especially after she put so much thought and love into this gift of all gifts. Even my mother's jerk boyfriend explained that they just weren't the "style", but it didn't stop her from ranting. The next visit I was presented with the exact same pair of jeans one size up, because apparently one size up made the jeans completely different and lovable.

My mother thought I loved tapered jeans just as much as my tom-boy sister loved elegant jewelry. For some reason my mother generally bought things my brother actually liked, though as he got older she started buying him more "sensitive" or "new age" items including a dream-catcher with purple glass accents(I love it, it's in my porch), and the odd "collect-able" knock off like the "one ring" from lord of the rings. My mother's gifts to us are a pretty good representation of what she believes our personalities to be. I'm not kidding when I say that she gave my tom-boy sister(who's actually transgendered) dainty jewels . My mother viewed my sister as a delicate flower, just waiting to "blossom" one day. In my mother's mind, my sister would stop wearing mostly men's clothing and accessories and finally accept that little woman inside her. Actually, I always loved the jewelry my sister was given and often ended up wearing it. My sister would get mad at me, not because she liked the jewelry, but because I was wearing something she received from my mother(she always equated my mother's gifts as my mother's love).

My mother had a habit of buying me things she thought were trendy, which, like the tapered jeans, usually came 3 years too late. She always thought of me as a bit of an airhead, and told me last year that Jackie from "That 70's show" always reminded her of me. I was none to thrilled to hear that comparison. For one, I was never a cheer leader. I had boyfriends in highschool, but I wasn't boy "crazy", I often was broken up with because I wasn't a slut. That comparison brought back the memory of an equally inaccurate and anger inducing statement made by my mother during a visit I stayed home from. My sister told me that one night my mother, brother and her were watching tv. A commercial for "Girls gone wild" came on and there was a girl who flashed the camera, laughing and drunk. My mother laughed and exclaimed "There's Leslie in ten years". My sister was mortified and promptly defended me saying I was nothing like that girl, to the apparent surprise of my mother.

These are just a few examples of how little my mother knows about any of us, or maybe they're examples of the lives she's mentally manufactured each of us to live. I wish the life she envisioned me to have involved more then some bimbo persona, it's disheartening knowing that someone you love thinks you're literally "too pretty" to think reasonably. I shouldn't let it get to me, but sometimes I get so exhausted trying to rationalize my mother's thoughts that I just let go and allow them to infiltrate my mind. At least I have the ability to shake my head out and remember I'm not the one with the problem, thank god(or whomever you choose) for that!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Forever Questions

Sitting down and feeding my baby is an amazing feeling; when I breastfeed I think about how incredible it is that this now 6 month old child grew from a few gamates, into a zygote and blastula which turned into this amazing little human being. I look at him and think "you're so perfect". I look at him and stroke his cheek and kiss him on the forehead, and I wonder, did my mother ever feel the way about me that I feel about him?

I'm the only child my mother communicates with on a regular basis. Whether by text message, email, phone call, or skype, my mother speaks to me. I feel guilty about this as my siblings who crave my mothers attention and love never seem to get what they want, and it's always been this way. I have spent out of all my siblings, the most time with my mother. Between growing up, the random outings, and now the communication, I know far more about my mother and her reasoning then my other 3 siblings combined. Sometimes, I wish I didn't.

My mother confides in me. She has told me things that both help and hinder our relationship, but she withholds the same information from my siblings, and I really don't know why. I often wonder if she places value on me because I have a solid grasp on reality where she doesn't. I'm strong, I really am, and  as I've said, I can empathize with almost anyone. When my mother is having problems, she talks to me about them, and I help the best I can. Normally I think this would be fine, but this is not a reciprocal relationship, at this stage it never will be.

I sit, and I look at my son, and I pledge that I will never ever rely on him for my emotional well being. I'm never going to call him looking for answers to problems I've created for myself. In life, things happen that are beyond our control, but at some point we have to re-assess the things that seem to recur  and decide whether or not we are perpetuating them.

When I was born I'm sure that my mother loved me, but I'm also sure that she didn't believe that she'd be looking to me for advice. Sometimes I think that she resents my knowledge, especially when she gets an answer she was hoping to avoid. When I was born my mother loved me, but I was just a child to her, not a person with an opinion. Even now, when I give her my input, she finds a way to belittle my thoughts, the difference being that now I realize she's just trying to cope with the reality that she hasn't grown up yet. Still, she ask's what I think about this idea, or that circumstance, and I feel obliged, but also feel an innate duty, to answer her honestly.

I feed my baby and wonder, what did my mother think her life would be like?

Monday, 7 January 2013

I can try and understand

When I was growing up people would always comment on how it must be hard without my mother around. When I was 19, I met an old family friend who admitted when she heard what my mom did to us she wanted to "knock her out". I have never met a person who said "she must have had her reasons for leaving" and I find myself mostly blaming her selfishness and co-dependency problems on her clouded decisions. I would be lying if I said I didn't understand to an extent about why my mother is who she is, I've been gifted with the ability to empathize(not sympathize) with almost anyone, so here are some thoughts.

My mother lived a very traumatic life as a child. Her father beat her mother to death in in a drunken rage while both my mother and her brother were home. She lived in foster care, where my own dad suspects there was abuse based on things my mother has said, and when she was 11 her father was released from prison. My grandfather married a woman with 5 children so he was granted custody of his children after release, a very big mistake. My mother and her brother were physically and sexually abused, their father would beat them, and one of their step siblings molested them. My grandfather died of a cardiac arrest as he was strangling and beating my mother when she was 13 or 14. I'm not sure if she continued to live with her fathers second wife, or went awol, but all I know is that by 18 she was pregnant.

Not everyone who's victimized ends up like my mother, but unfortunately with no stable household, my mother was never able to learn how to deal with trauma. My mother is a runner, she runs from anything that is stable and thrives off of chaos. It is frustrating to deal with, but I do understand it to an extent. My mother is unable to empathize with anyone else's shortcoming's, and is socially inept, she has no friends, and she has had to move jobs due to conflicts with women she works with. My mother is incapable of accepting the blame when she does something wrong, she always blames others for her actions. Oddly, if her spouse is angry at her, she "knows" she did the "provoking", spoken like a true victim.

When I was 11 my mother told me that no matter what, your spouse will always be there for you, your family grows up and moves on, that simple idea reveals some of her fears. My mother has a fear of abandonment, she is always the first to move on in a relationship, and she only moves on once there's a sure thing lined up. She left us for "greener" pastures, but has only been in abusive controlling relationships since. I sometimes wonder if my mother's choice in men helps her numb the pain of leaving her children. I wonder if she left us because she worried we would become victims. I also wonder if she was able to make false memories of us because of all the drama she has had to endure with her partners. Maybe those inaccurate memories helped her cope with the reality of an abusive boyfriend. Only she knows, but I have a feeling there is truth to my speculations.