Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Dear Mom and Dad,

You’re not my parents, but I still love you.

I don’t know when we disconnected, but it happened. I started taking care of myself and my sister without a second thought towards you. You may not have realized, but us kids saw that you were no longer there for us. Caring for ourselves became the natural, because nobody else would do it. Even when we asked, you wouldn’t DO anything.

You didn’t help physically or emotionally. In fact you emotionally abused us. Well Mom did the abusing, but, Dad… you let it happen and helped place the blame on us when in situations out of our control. Neither of you parented. I don’t think you even remembered how to do it or noticed whether we were even there. All you knew was the Illness. All you saw was the Illness.

I’m not sad about your absence. My world without you shone with curiosity and exploration and love for my siblings and friends. I knew I could handle things on my own. Only when you decided to show up and wreck my carefully constructed life with misconstrued ideas of what parenting means did I have a problem. Just seriously, fuck off on the parenting shit. All you managed to accomplish was a serious mind-fucking. It’s a full time job, not a fair-weather hobby. It’s not something to do to look socially acceptable or to give yourself confidence in your life status.

These are futures.

So, no. I never considered you my parents. I played along to make our lives easier, because honestly what parent enjoys hearing that they are not parents?

None. And nobody wants to deal with the drama following it either.

But I remember the good times. I close my eyes and look back on the smiles, the laughs. I love seeing you on occasion. Really, I just love you. I want a relationship with you, but I want it to be real. I’m tired of playing into these roles that don’t really exist. I’m old enough now that you can wrap you head around the idea of an OTHER category of relationship.

Mom and Dad,

You’re not my parents, but can we be friends?

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Health. I’ve always been in tip top physical shape, but my life is beyond unhealthy.

Growing up, I lived for my mother. She lived for herself. I never earned her approval, and even worse, she convinced me that I was such a horrible person that she wanted to kill herself. So she did.

Although her suicide attempts weren’t successful, I fell into a never-ending trap of trying to become the daughter she dreamed of. I changed everything about myself, but it was never good enough. My looks were “atrocious”. My personality was “awkward” and “nerdy” and “selfish”. I was a “damn dyke” in her eyes before I even knew what the word meant. This was a nice day with mommy dearest, and I’ll not bore you with the nastier bits.

I learned how to hate myself and I did a damn good job of it.  I lived life as a teenage insomniac who squirmed in her bed at night with unbearable self hatred. My body literally couldn’t hold all of the disgusting feelings I kept. I eventually realized that all the parts I originally liked about myself were the “unacceptable” bits in my mothers eyes. As a freshman in high school, I couldn’t even recognize myself.

By the time I realized I wanted to be me, I was lost in a world of pleasing others. It was like using a shovel to dig yourself into a hole, then figuring out that a shovel wont help you climb out.

One of my main purposes in life had been to protect my little sister from feeling the way I did. As I transitioned away from living for my mother, I only tripped and fell into another hole, stuck living for another person again.

I threw myself into work and school and lived a full life. Essentially I avoided having time to think about who I was, to put aside the disgusting feelings. I was ugly and I knew it but I planned on doing the best I could with what I had. A pessimistic sort of optimism, huh?

I’m about to be a sophomore in college. This summer I am working as a lifeguard at the local Y. Every day my bikini line shaving job and uneven breasts are displayed to the world. My tan lines are horrific and my hair gets pool-frizzy.

At some point this summer, it just clicked. There was a ding in my mind that said “I’m pretty”. I felt confident and ready, without anything in particular to be ready for. I just felt pretty.

I know that looks aren’t what matters and so on. I know that many people think of words like “pretty” as objectifying. But to someone who has never felt that way in their life, it was more of an enlightening wake up call. I’m more confident with guys and people, not because they might like my looks, but because I like my looks. It’s easier to socialize when you don’t feel inferior to everyone around you.

I started to do more things for myself. I started to let my sister take care of herself more, since I spoil her too much anyways. I started reaching out for the things that made me happy, because I craved that pretty feeling. Living for myself, I think I’m on the verge of a healthier lifestyle.

Feeling pretty is the key to breaking out of my cage, because a good appearance proves that my mom is wrong about me and who I am.

 

People naturally want to protect others. So if, for instance, there really were a velociraptor on the loose, most people would simultaneously hide and call up all their loved ones to warn them.

However, short of a natural disaster or prehistoric beast wrecking havoc, the lines of when to help or allow others to help you is a bit blurrier.

Personally, I lean towards the independent side. I would love to be able to claim it is from this huge confidence that I can handle anything that comes my way. Really, I would. But a lot of the time it’s not the truth. Nobody is that perfect.

In reality, I am just too stubborn, too afraid, and just don’t know how to ask for help.

Maybe it stems from the fact that people are always coming to me for help, even people I don’t know. I need to look like I know what I am doing for their sake and I honestly want to help.

Maybe it stems from the fact that I was always told to keep everything a secret. Problems were not to be shared (especially outside the family)and whining was never tolerated. Not to mention it is unfair to place burdens on people you love. Up until last spring, I never told even my closest friends the most pressing problems in my life.

Maybe it stems from the fact that there was never anybody there for me to rely on, so I told myself I would just do everything myself. Fake it till you make it. Always act like you know what you’re doing and you will find a way to accomplish it. If you don’t do things for yourself, they won’t get done. My first car crash was just a fender bender, but four police officers and five firemen were involved. I was terrified. My dad was over an hour away and I couldn’t call my mom who was five minutes away. She had been unstable the day before, and to be honest I was afraid she would attack a police officer and create a whole host of other problems I had to take care of. In the end, you have to take care of yourself because you never know if someone will be there.

Maybe it stems from the fact that I wanted my sister to believe there was at least one capable person in her life who she could come to. God knows our parents were fair-weather. She looked up to me. Asked me how to do things. I had to explore the world and learn how to do things so I could take her hand and guide her through. Eventually that ended when she got older. Though she still does ask me things, it is as a best friend that I answer her.

No matter why I am the way I am, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m handicapped. In this social world, I don’t know how to accept help from others. Some friends push me away thinking I don’t trust them. I do. I just don’t know how to confide in them or ask for help.

Some friends think I’m arrogant. I’m not. I just pretend I know what I’m doing. I just pretend I’m not scared.

Some friends think they can dump every single little problem on me because I either have no problems or I am mature enough to handle everything. I have problems. I handle them with a good attitude but that doesn’t mean I never get stressed or upset.

Some friends try to be there for me, but I can’t. I just can’t.

Mostly it’s because the less you rely on people, the less you confide in them, then the less they know about you. And if people don’t know what’s important to you, they can’t use it to hurt you.

I learned that one from mommy dearest.

Sometimes I like to sit in the park while children are playing, not for the kids, but to see the loving looks of moms as they see their babies happy. Sometimes I can’t help but grin from ear to ear when I see a mom comforting a crying elementary student, because I know once their mom “kisses it better” it will do a lot more than neosporin and a bandaid ever could. When I picked up my sister from track practice every day, I loved parking near the other cars because more often than not I could see a mom that came early just to try and get a peek of their kid running. Maternal feelings hold more beauty for me than anything I can think of.

I want to be a mom more than anything. In a way, I already am, having raised myself, my sister, and my bipolar mother, but it’s just not the same. I loved babysitting and playing with kids and they loved me too. I know that what I want more than anything is to shower love on several children of my own, but I don’t think that will ever happen. I’m simply too afraid. I will never give birth to a child because bipolar disorder is genetic and I refuse to risk passing that on to a child. It feels selfish. I could never forgive myself if my child turned out to have bipolar disorder. Adoption could be my miracle, if I weren’t convinced that I will develop bipolar disorder when I’m older. I’m not saying that bipolar parents are bad parents, I’m merely saying that the way bipolar disorder manifested itself in my mother made it so that her own children don’t consider her a parent. I don’t want to continue the cycle and give an innocent kid the childhood I had.

To me a mom is a warm hug, someone you can always rely on and someone you know will always love you. People ask me why I don’t consider my mother to be a parent and that is because her hugs are full of desperation and selfish feelings – she only wants to make herself feel loved or useful as a parent. My mother has never been someone I could rely on – her problems come first, her emotions are too unstable to handle any problems I might come to her with, she makes things worse by overreacting, and anything I tell her will eventually be thrown back in my face or twisted around. And I can never count on my mother to love me. Some days, she tries to kill herself because she is too ashamed of me and wishes I were never born. Other days, she disowns me and tells me I’m not her child. I wake up every morning knowing full well that I might not be considered her daughter by the end of the night. I’m not talking about the typical mother actions that she didn’t perform like taking us to sport practices or cooking dinner. That’s an entirely different story. The feelings were what mattered to me and my mother is incapable of maternal feelings.

Anytime her kids come to her for help, she quickly turns the situation into “poor mom” whose life is oh so bad. She cannot think of her child’s welfare over her own even when her children are desperate. The most current example of this is my brother. If y’all read my previous post. Then you understand the emotional damage and need for counseling that my brother suffers from and how he came home to humbly seek the help he needed. However, my mom doesn’t view things the same way. I spent  my weekend listening to her rant about how my brother “needs to be locked up” in a mental hospital to “see what the real world is like”. And hearing how she “never destroyed the house like that”, when, in fact, my mother destroying the house is, at the very least, a monthly occurrence. She then burst into tears, crying out that she was a victim and then angrily shouting “how dare he say that I abused him, he doesn’t know what abuse is”. From there, she would launch into stories of how awful her childhood was. Not once did she stop to think: My son has an emotional problem and needs help to make it through this tough time. Not once did she worry for her son’s sake. Instead, she renounced him as a child, viewing him instead as a rabid animal. All she could think of was how she could earn pity for herself.

I know what a real mother should feel because I have these feelings on a daily basis whenever I think of my little sister. I beam with pride at the mention of her and can’t help but go into information overload when she comes up in conversation. I remember my pride as she took on her first babysitting gig and the gentle nudges I’d give her to overcome her shyness. I remember my elation when she finally felt comfortable going up to a counter and purchasing things on her own. I remember joining the ranks of those mothers I so admire, showing up early to practice to try and catch a glimpse of her hard at work, running on the track. I anticipate those important moments in her life, such as graduation and prom. I want her to be proud of herself and happy in life. And most importantly of all, I always want to protect her. I just want what’s best for her.

I visit my friends’ moms often. I never quite figured out whether that is because I subconsciously seek a real parent or because I just enjoy their company. It’s probably a little of both. I know I’m at an age when most people are still relying heavily on their parents for advice and guidance, but I have found that the number of people coming to me for help in those areas has only increased since I started college. People even call me the ‘dorm mom’ on occasion, because I will always take care of those in need. I have the habit of carrying home drunk girls and I always step up to the plate whenever anyone needs a comforting hug and sit by their side all night when they are sick. Some have misconstrued my excessive caring as signs that I am lesbian, which is hilarious, but wrong. Taking care of my sister and these young women who are just learning to live on their own is probably the closest I will ever come to being a mom.

So I just want to say thank you, to all you moms out there for bringing so much beauty and love to the world. And to showing me what true dedication is, because in no way is it easy to devote your entire being to another person. The ideals of  “Republican Motherhood“, though maybe not the best for political usage, ring true in that the mothers of our children shape our world. They way they raise our youth determines our future as a society. Stay strong and carry on, because each and every one of y’all are making our world a better place.