OR Why to Chase a Farfetched Dream......
To say my mother and I had a tumultuous relationship is being generous. It was difficult, downright horrible at times. My mother was mentally ill. She suffered from a long time misdiagnosed illness that got progressively worse as she got older. There were days that I wished she wasn’t my mother. There were days that I avoided going home as long as possible. There were stretches of time when I would not tell her a single thing about my life because I got so fed up with continuous miscomprehension and her inability not to live in the past.
But there were also days that I marveled at my mother’s creativity. Days I felt great pride in the compassion she showed so many. And the days when my mother was the only one who encouraged me to chase my dreams no matter what anyone else thought or told me to do. She also always told me I was beautiful. Sometimes not in the greatest ways. She would say things about not wanting me to gain weight or the way I dressed but it always came back to, “It’s because you are already beautiful.” Something that I took for granted growing up but now realize how much it has shaped how I think of myself as I get older.
If I am going to be completely honest I have to admit that my mother let some pretty terrible things happen to me growing up. Things that it took me a long time recover from and to forgive her for. The strange thing about that is though she let them happen when I had the chance to escape some of them she did help me escape them. I feel now that it is very likely my mother did not know how to stop these things from happening but only how to try help me survive them. Because I’ve realized more and more when I sort out her life in my head, my mother was a survivor. Sometimes she was the maker of the mess but often she was the victim of it. And I’m not entirely sure she knew that. The worst part of any of this, when bad things happened to her, I’m sure she believed she deserved them. I hate that. I really do because no one deserves bad things to happen to them especially not at the hands of other people. I wish I could change that and I wish I could say my mother had a happy life in her short 49 years but she didn’t. The relationship was hard, complex and sometimes filled with tears. But honestly, it’s the best we could do.
I don’t find a lot of comfort in generalized platitudes that many people use to simplify what they feel and to comfort themselves. I’m just not that kind of person. Sometimes I hate hearing the truth. Sometimes it hurts and makes me angry, but eventually I always appreciate it more. The truth is our relationship generally sucked. But I miss it. And I wish I still had all the stupid fights and discussions as well as the lucid days that she seemed with me and understanding. It’s nice to think she might be somewhere else living another life, a happier one but I’m not sure that I am that esoteric. What I do know, is even though the ways I went about my life made no sense to her and often downright worried her or pissed her off, (and truth be told it hasn’t always made sense to me either)-she always told me to be happy. Sometimes begrudgingly. But she said it nonetheless. It’s the one thing I knew she really meant. And I try to say it to as many people as possible, don’t be stupid, be happy.