Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear Mama...

  I keep waiting, praying even, that you’ll call me; message me on Facebook and scream at me.  In my head I see this scene play out just like in The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood when Siddalee realized what a journalist wrote after interviewing her and KNOWING Viviane is about to lose her shit, and lo and behold, Vivi calls Siddalee just to scream and holler and bang the phone on the table.  The “Big and All Telling” article hasn’t been printed yet, but there’s this blog.  And yet you still haven’t acknowledged me.  I don’t do this for your attention; it’s never been my purpose.  Besides, what I actually desire from you isn’t more drama and hate and anger and yelling…all I desire, all I could ever want from you is a sincere apology, and your recognition for all the awesome things I’ve finally accomplished.  I know I’ll never get either.  So instead of continuing to wait, I’ll just tell you here.  If you read this, awesome.  If you don’t, *sigh*…oh well.  At least it’ll be out, and I’ll be able to breathe again.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve held my breath waiting and longing.  I won’t wait anymore, because I don’t need your response, I just need to say it all.
  My readers just have to know me, or read the posts I’ve made, and they’re not just aware of how I feel about you, they’re angry FOR me.  They don’t need to be, I’m angry enough for the whole world.  But I’m tired Mama, I don’t want to be angry anymore.  I always say “Love is the opposite of hate, and you can’t hate someone, truly hate someone, unless you’ve loved them.  The opposite of Love, is indifference.”  The more time goes by, the less I miss you, and the less angry I am.  I always thought I couldn’t be indifferent if I couldn’t forgive you.  But I don’t hate you Mama, I love you.  I always have, and I always will.  I can’t forgive you, because I want you to love me, and you don’t.  I want to have you in my life, in my family’s lives!  But I can’t.  I can’t do it because I NEED an apology.  I need you to confront, and recognize and acknowledge the pain.  And stupidly I still desire all of that.  I know I shouldn’t, because the sad truth is, I don’t believe you could EVER do what I need you to do.  I tell myself I won’t try to confront you unless you apologize, and I won’t apologize because I KNOW you won’t.  In your mind, you’ve somehow justified your actions and inactions, and you don’t think you did anything wrong.  And somewhere along the way, you twisted it all around so that other people believed you, and believed “you did the best you could.”  You didn’t Mama, you fucked up bad.  And after all that hurt, all the heartbreak I feel…your biggest reason for hating me back, disowning me, and taking back you “unconditional” love, is because you feel I betrayed you by making sure my little brothers were safe, and fed, and warm.  And maybe I did Mama, maybe I hurt you beyond repair, but I wouldn’t have had to have done it if you’d been doing what you were supposed to.  You couldn’t put down the bottle long enough to feed us.  You couldn’t stop smoking for a week to make sure the electricity was paid.  Boiling water for hot baths in the dark in November, no child should EVER have to do that.  No baby should ever have to go somewhere beyond their own front door for food and comfort.  I don’t know how you’ve justified the neglect we’ve all experienced, but you have, and the action I took to stop it caused YOU to hate ME…even when I was willing to let you continue to be in my life, and poison me with your hate.   

 Mama, I know this will all anger you even further, and right now, I’m OK with that, because to be quite honest, this isn’t about you.  It’s been about you, about what you wanted, about what you didn’t want, about how I was hurting YOU.  I can’t keep living my life like that; I can’t keep caring about your wants and desires.    I would care a lot more if mine were taken into consideration, but given your track record, I’m not holding my breath. 

 I realize as I look back through my blog posts that there’s a lot of me blaming you, or calling you out for specific events that occurred.  Sometimes I feel some guilt for that, and other times I think it’s perfectly justifiable.  The part of me that feels guilt is your voice in my head.  That voice that told me to take care of myself from a very early age, that voice that had me caring for my siblings by 10, that voice that justified your actions as you left us at home consistently while you went out and cheated on our sick and mentally unstable father out of spite.  That same voice that made it perfectly clear after he died that you were relieved because you could live YOUR life without his being a ball and chain around your ankle.  The same voice who fell heavily into a selfish and single lifestyle while her children suffered from grief.  That same voice that decided becoming an alcoholic and jumping from unstable relationship to unstable relationship was more important than being a MOTHER to her children.  That same voice that blatantly ignored her teenage daughter as she spiraled down into a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol and dangerous sexual activities.  The same voice who told her daughter that getting raped at a party the night before was a self-inflicted injury, and that her daughter should have “been smarter than that.”  The same voice that allowed her daughter to run away to TWO different pimps in the span of NINE months, and only showed any interest in the well-being of her daughter when she was threatened with prison and losing the custody she didn’t deserve of her other 3 children.  How, how could I ever NOT feel guilt, when all my life I’ve been told it’s my own problem, it’s my fault, it’s all self-inflicted.  Fun fact time! Did you know that MOST parents pay attention to what their children are doing, who they’re with, where they are??? I had NO IDEA! None.  I thought…I thought all mothers ignored their children’s behavior and let their kids go any damn place they pleased!  And guess what???  I thought CPS was a way of life.  WRONG!  You know, when they show up once, even twice in the span of a child’s lifetime, I could understand that.  But you find HUMOR in the very fact that you could “wallpaper your apartment with unfounded CPS reports!” Who the FUCK finds pride in that?!?!  Certainly not most people.   So here’s my issue: I shouldn’t have to feel guilt for something YOU should have prevented by being a mother instead of fixture.  No child is ever worth giving up on, but I look back and that’s all I can see.  You gave up on me, and you gave up on my siblings too.  I was a child Mama…I wasn’t a tiny adult capable of making life altering decisions with the capacity to understand the consequences.  But it’s been entirely too easy for you think that I was, and hold true to that, and make the blame all my own. 

  Another realization I’ve stumbled upon: you can’t take the blame because you live in a world inside your mind that tells you everything is everyone else’s fault, and that everyone is out to get you.  You’d never even admit those words because then you’d have to justify your reasons.  But you live your life that way.  Whenever you step in shit, it’s because someone else placed it in your way.  And from what I can gather, that’s always been your defense.  I see that as your defense when you were younger and I see that as your defense when you were married to my father.  When he claimed you were cheating?  You did.  You did it spite him, and blamed him for your actions.  There were soooo many other options, but you chose to make a decision that would alter everyone’s life, and still you only gave a fuck about how it altered yours.  When you lose a friend?  It’s their fault, they did something wrong and you aren’t at fault for shit.  When you get evicted from the 300th apartment?  It’s the landlord’s fault, they’re assholes.  It could never be the living conditions you created with your trash and clutter and lack of cleaning.  When you lost your last kid?  It was my fault.  It wasn’t in any way your own, because you never neglected him, right??  Wrong Mama.  And you can say I’m just the same, laying all the blame at your feet for the things I’ve experienced in this life.  Here’s the difference.  You’re 50 god damn years old, and I’m 24.  I stopped laying blame at your feet the moment I packed my bags and walked out your door for the last time.  I became an adult loooong before I had to, and as it turns out, I’ve been a hell of a lot better at this grown up gig than you have. 

 I blame you for what happened to me when I was still a vulnerable and hurting child.  I blame you for stealing my childhood when you laid your responsibility as a mother at MY feet.  And that was when I was 10, not when I was 21 and asking for custody of your 14 year old.  I gladly took that on, and there’s not a day that goes by that I regret the opportunity to see this amazing boy grow into the amazing man he’s becoming.  He’s graduating this year Mama, and he’s doing PHENOMENAL at school.  He’s happy, and he’s beautiful.  He’s sensitive and loving.  He loves with his whole heart and soul.  And he has soooo much potential in this world, he’s going places Mama.  He’s my pride and joy.  And you know what??? I absolutely damn fucking straight take responsibility for who he’s become.  He was angry and hurting with you.  He doesn’t hurt anymore Mama, at least not for love.  He hurts for the mother that didn’t want him.  The mother who handed him over like last week’s dirty laundry.  You can take responsibility for his birth, but don’t you EVER take responsibility for the amazing man he is.  It’s not yours.  It’s mine, and my husband’s, and all the amazing people who stepped up to the plate when you sat back and ignored him.

 By the way Mama, your grand kids are great, thanks for asking.  Genevieve is going to be 4 in just a few weeks, and she’s amazing.  She’s beautiful and so so smart.  She makes my heart hurt with how intelligent and quick witted she is.  She’s a sweet ray of sunshine, while also being a massive pain in the ass.  She gets into EVERYTHING and she’s too damn curious for her own good.  She wants to see and touch and know everything, and she’s pretty slick about it.  And she loves.  She loves with her whole self.  She loves to make people smile and laugh, and she also loves to be independent and smart.  She loves the attention she receives for knowing what she knows.  And she looks like Drew with every facial expression she has down to the gap in her teeth (which she swears is a space left by a lost baby tooth that we gipped her on).  She’s going to be amazing.  She’ll grow up strong willed and she won’t take shit from anyone.  I want only to teach her to love herself, to love others, and to be compassionate and caring.  Nic is such a big boy.  He’s 2.5 and he’s all over the place!  He talks none stop, he runs and jumps and barrels into everything.  He lays on the floor on his side, with a car in one hand, and his thumb in his mouth and just pushes the car back and forth for hours.  He carries a little monkey security blankey around that he named Binky, and it’s his true love.  He’s so sweet and loving, but he’s also got an attitude and can be quite the butt when he doesn’t want anyone penetrating his bubble.  And he’s bribed with food.  Although he’s tiny in size, he can eat his weight in waffles and granola bars.  He loves to cuddle with me when it’s convenient for him, and he loves to laugh and make me laugh.  He’s most definitely a mama’s boy, and I’m in absolutely no hurry to change that! He's going to be a sweet boy, and I pray I teach him to respect women and himself, to always treat a woman the way he'd want someone to treat his mama and sister and future daughters.  And I’ve already told you how your son is.  Drew is working on his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology and he’s pretty excited about post-military life.  We just celebrated 6 years last month!  Crazy to imagine we've made it this far, but we have! We have some scary speed bumps coming up in our lives, some major changes, but we have each other, and we'll be ok. 

 I am doing great.  I got my GED!  Worked my ass for it, spent a year working just on math, and I took my test last year, and I PASSED that bitch!  And before the month was through, I enrolled in college!  I studied Medical Billing and Coding, and just this month, I graduated!  Two graduations in a year was VERY exciting!    And somehow, in a crazy whirlwind chain of events, I found myself being interviewed for several magazine articles, asking to be seen on national television, the external FBI website, and invited to conferences for Survivors of sex trafficking!!  I started this blog just to be able to get all of the hurt and truth out of me.  I’m volunteering for an organization I’d give my left arm to work for!  I am slowly finding myself walking down this beautiful and amazing path towards my dream career!  My life is falling together and it is BEAUTIFUL!  I am blessed beyond measure. And you know?  Some might say “Without what happened to you, you couldn’t be where you are today.” And they’re right, but I would take back every moment of it in a heartbeat to not have to live with the memories day in and day out.  But that’s where my passion comes from Mama, it’s my scars.

  I’ve even begun a group therapy to work through all of my past…including you.  And the further I get, the more shit I realize you stole from me or didn’t do for me.  You know what I’m taking away from my life with you??  How to NOT be as a mother.  How to love my children UNCONDITIONALLY.  How to not fuck them up and EVER let them feel this hurt.  Traumatize them?? Maybe.  Embarrass them?? Oh absolutely.  But I’ll LOVE them forever and ever. 
 As the time goes on, I often find myself wanting to cave.  Just give in and give you what you want.  To tell you I was wrong and I should have never facilitated your son being taken from you, or you being evicted, ending up in the shelter.  I often find myself beginning this letter in an entirely different tone.  And I always delete it.  Ever fucking time. 

 I love you Mama, I always have, and I always will.  But I love myself too, and I love my family.  And I love not feeling hateful and bitter.  I only truly feel that way when I think about you.  I want a mother, I want to be loved forever and ever, unconditionally.  I just have to learn to remember that that’s not the mother I got handed in this lifetime. 

I will never forgive you until you admit the wrong you did, genuinely remorseful.  And I know I may never hear it…  I know time is limited for us.  But I’m too strong Mama.  I can’t let you hurt me anymore.  
I love you.

                                                                                                                     Your Daughter.