In the month and five days since I was last here, I had a birthday, lost a little more weight and, unfortunately, started smoking again.
Here's how it went down.
So things at home with my mother have been fine but I started noticing things that have made me wary. My mother is not a bad person but she's consumed with negative thinking about herself, her past and her current situation. She spends a lot of time dwelling on things that have gone wrong and particularly about growing up poor. I understand this. I lived in that world for a long time. I spent many years picking myself apart, trying to attach labels to myself so I could understand why I do what I do and somehow, some way, make myself feel okay with who I am. I see these same actions in her but I also see a person who doesn't take responsibility for how she affects others.
If she isn't bashing my stepfather (they are not together but never divorced), she's lamenting about growing up poor and being broke. I have a very hard time conversing with her because she doesn't listen to a word I say. She's so wrapped up in her thoughts that I barely get a word in. When I do, she continues talking about herself as if I haven't said a thing. In this whole bonding process, I thought there would be more give and take. I assumed we could share stories and interests and we would each listen to the other. Alas, no. She's so stuck in her own head that she hears virtually nothing I say. It's disapponting and frustrating.
But I didn't really get upset. At least not until the Saturday before my birthday. Somehow the conversation became about me and my brother having children. With the exception of her brother who has no children and another brother with small children, she is the only one of her siblings without grandkids. I told her that I have doubts about having children because everyone I know (with the exception of 2 people) makes motherhood sound god awful. Then, without any hesitation, my mother says, "I still wish I'd never had ya'll." I wasn't stunned because I'd heard it before but I was sad to hear that she still felt that way. Then to top it off, I asked her if there was anything about motherhood that she enjoyed and she plainly said, "No."
Bear in mind that this is a woman who never attended a school play, an awards ceremony and probably came to one or two open houses. She had absolutely no interest in building any type of relationship. I told her that it was terrible that she felt that way. After 32 years, you're still wishing you never had me? I could see if I had been a bad kid and had put her through hell, but I wasn't. She may include my brother in that but I don't think so. She and my stepfather planned to have my brother, whereas I was an unwanted surprise. I always keep in mind that she was very young and it was difficult, but STILL after all this time?
It ruined my birthday. I spent most of the week crying and miserable that my mother wishes I'd never been born and that I ruined her life. I don't even know why I'm so hurt; it's not as if she hasn't said it before. As soon as I saw my boyfriend after she said that to me, I burst into tears. That's when I bought cigarettes. I haven't really wanted to talk to her much since then. I don't like feeling responsible for ruining someone's life. Try as I might to put it behind me and keep moving, I can't help but feel funny about trying to build a relationship with someone who would erase my very presence, if she could.
It makes me feel not good enough and while I know I'm not responsible for ruining her life, the fact that she feels that way sucks because of how she acts toward me. Here I thought there was genuine love there and maybe there is. But what looms larger for her is knowing that she just didn't want me. I've always seen it in her face. I thought I was wrong all these years but she confirmed that I was right.
My friend and I were talking yesterday about the whole thing. She is one of the people who loves being a mother and always tells me its great and that I should do it. We started talking about self-esteem and body image and she told me how her mother and family members were always telling her she was fat as a kid and she believed it. My friend is thin but shapely and was always hiding under big blothes. I told her that it was the same for me. Everybody was always telling me I was too fat, I needed to lose weight and looking at me with such disgust. Recently, my cousin showed me a picture of all of us when we were young and when I looked at it, I had to blink a few times. I couldn't believe that it was me because I was so thin. I thought back on every single time I told someone that I had always been big, that I was fat as a child and I was fat as an adult. But when I look back, the pictures tell a different story. Everyone was always telling me I was too big, I was fat and I needed to stop eating. I remember my mother locked the refrigerator. They were putting me on diets when I was 8 and 9 years old and I just believed them. I believed I was the biggest thing in the world and, eventually, I became very big.
Those photos don't lie though. True, I was always thicker and taller than the other kids but fat I was not. Not by a long shot. I was just as active as the other kids too. I digested this false image of myself put on me by other people and it damaged me. It just amazes me how people can be so critical and not seem to care how it affects you. This is my main issue with my mother. She says things--mean and thoughtless things--and doesn't seem to care at all how it affects me. All she seems to care about is how she feels and, if it's on her mind, she'll say it. Whether it's right or wrong.
I have been slowing slimming down with the help of my Metformin but I have to admit that I haven't been eating nearly as well I as I should. I've been losing weight mostly because I don't eat as much as I used to. If I were eating better and exercising more consistently then I'd be much further along. But I'm getting there. I will continue to get there.
In spite of these things with my mother, I'm still grateful that she has given me a place to stay and an opportunity to get my finances straight. I guess somewhere in there, love exists. I see now that I don't need to live for someone else's love, as long as I have my own. I'm completely okay with who I really am because I know I'm a good, kind person and that the people who know me really, really love me. That's what I focus on. If my mother can't see how lucky she is to have me for a daughter, it's her loss. I own none of the blame for her so-called ruined life.
I hope all of you are doing well.