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Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

Posted Jun 13 2012 7:51am



I guess most of you must have been surprised when you read the post title.  Me?  Afraid to tell the whole world something? No!

I was invited to participate in this link-up by Robin Farr of Farewell Stranger .  She's a Survivor Mama, too, and an awesome one at that!  She was invited by Lisa of  joy creation ...and well the bloggy love just spreads fast, huh?

So I took on this project without having any idea what I would write about.  I sit here typing at my desk, still not really sure which words might come next.  On my drive to the office this morning I considered confessing my significant insecurity with my personal appearance.  But, that didn't seem very interesting once I thought about it for more than like 5 seconds.  I mean what woman, especially someone who has given birth to two kids, is not fairly concerned about her body image, her wrinkles, the crooked nose or big ears she's always tried to ignore?

And therefore here I rest.  Not, rest, really.  But, here I am, trying to be mindful of what I'm afraid to tell you.  If only the title of the post was "Things I'm Afraid Of"...there are so many of those.  Kids growing up, getting lost, getting sick, drugs, peer pressure, bullying, rodents, and being alone.

Ah, there we go.  Stream of consciousness seems to always manage to unravel the tangled mess of my thoughts and reveal something there.  Something underlying, something subtle.  But, something there, nevertheless.

Talking about something means acknowledging that it is, or at least was, real.  That it is not a nuisance type of worry, a temporary anxiety, but a definite reality.
When I was a child, my mom never left me alone.  Or, at least that's what I've heard.  My Dad often makes jokes, "I'm surprised you learned to walk, since your mom didn't put you down for the first year of your life.".  While hard to tease out, I'm certain my mom had PPD on top of all the other mental health issues that either caused or exacerbated what it sounds like happened after my birth.  In the blogging world, I would describe it as the "cling to your baby kind of PPD".  Certainly the opposite of what I had with L1- the even more horrific, "want to put your baby up for adoption PPD".  Still, I'm sure that the situation wasn't healthy for anyone and while my Dad was happy as a lark to finally be free of marriage to my mother, the fact that my mom supposedly completely ignored him from the moment I came into this world couldn't have been easy to deal with.
Later on, my mom still clung to me, obsessed with not being alone herself.  Her moods and behaviors had shifted so much across time.  From an initial couple of years of heading to the bar directly from her 7am-3pm shift and sometimes making it to my grandparents to pick me up around dinner time, but usually more like at 9, 10 or 11pm and sometimes not at all (enter me wearing my grandmother's clothes to school the next day) to an almost agoraphobic hoarding, we went.  My middle and high school years were wrought with weirdness like spending the night in a hotel with strangers (once when my mom got so smashed at a concert that she lost me and kind partiers took me home with them from the stadium), as well as weekends locked in our dirty townhouse with my mom who had made up an excuse to ground me so she didn't have to be alone.
Interestingly, I have never felt more alone than I did in those moments.  The years of holding onto the secret life that I lived.  Having siblings who lived with another parent felt almost worse than being truly an only child, because the thought that if I had a sister or brother to endure the life with my mother with me, at least someone would truly get it.  I was never jealous of my sister and brother, or really very much even of other kids and their seemingly perfect childhoods.  Nah, jealousy is not my thing.  Yet, the yearning for some sort of escape from the reality that I lived was almost unbearable at times.
When I occasionally share about those experiences now, some 20-25 years later, I am so often asked, "Why didn't you just tell someone?  If only I had known...", by those that love me.  It seems so much less complicated than it was back then.  It was a choice, for sure.  An option.  But, not really.  You see, Mom had made it quite clear that if I ever left her, chose to live elsewhere else, that she would commit suicide.  She was open and direct about it.  Spoke of it without much emotion, except during screaming matches that sometimes arose when I couldn't any longer take the unfair punishments of being ostracized from my friends just because she wanted to control me and keep me home with her.  And so, what was I, a Christian youth who had been accumulating the emotional scars of an unstable childhood for years, to do?  Which would be worse...living with a maniac or living with the fact that I "caused" someone to take their own life?  At least I knew what living with the crazy person looked like.  I knew I could endure it...I had been doing so for what seemed like forever.  But, I had no idea what losing someone to suicide looked or felt like.  Sure, I hated her, but it was a love-hate relationship, because there is something inside of you that makes you love your mother no matter what.
So I escaped.  I couldn't escape the physical reality of the situation, at least I didn't think so, so I mentally escaped.  I suppose I could have created an alternate personality, like women who suffer from DID , do.  Or I could have become obsessed with movies or video games.  But, that's not me.  Instead, I fantasized.  Hmmm, that word sounds much more sensual than it should.  Daydreamed.  Better?  In any case, I considered what it would be like to kill my mother.  And that, is the first time I have ever shared that.  And, I'm afraid.  Afraid of what someone might think of me for having thought about murder (not that I ever even considered for a second carrying out "my plans").  And, even that term, I wondered way back then...and still do now.  Would that be accurate?  I mean my entire existence for 5 years was about self-preservation at best and self-protection during the worst of the drunken episodes in which the threat made to my life was real.  Self-defense.  Certainly it would have been.  
And, there you have it.  This is the post in which I admit that I found solace and catharsis in imagining killing my own mother.  In dreaming up plots that involved frying pans and police and funerals and being free from the demons- the alcohol, the dirt, the bugs, and my own mother. 
~My mother is alive and well.  She's been sober for more than a decade and she texts me everyday.



p.s. We'd like to acknowledge  Jess Constable  who came up with the idea, as well as  Ez of Creature Comforts , who turned it into a movement. We'd also suggest this link to the  Huffington Post Article Laura Rossi wrote on this topic  (it's an interview with Jess).
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