My mother has always been a source of pain and disappointment in my life. Sometimes it is from the affect she has on my world and sometimes it’s because I let her thoughts go through to me and I ruin everything myself- she haunts me. Years of abuse from her, being property of child protective services and then coming back home to a changed woman-- one who was no longer decayed – killed me. I will always be left without that sparkling youth that made me cry in joy and smile over pain because she left me thinking I deserved it all. She has made me want to be better. I need to be better, and from that she may not have given me a lifeline but an anchor that I may just spend my whole life groveling to, trying to climb. She makes me try.
Tammara is a woman of strength; It is a strength I can never touch because she has been on her own her entire life. She clings to people to make things easier for her but it is only out of selfishness. I see her trying to change that sometimes; With my return in her life followed by a move away from the only town (and the only state) she has been in long enough to call it home and my stepfather’s cancer I have watched her grow. It has helped me too. She is stubborn and empty, barren from her six children, none of whom have been enough for her because she has never been enough for herself. She is full of extraordinary talent. The woman is beautiful and not in appearance or even in actions but in ideas. She has always been capable but does not have the faith or confidence or care to push herself… everyone else though, she thrusts. Tammy is a hypocrite and a liar. Most my life she was been a morbidly obese, pasty red-head with long stiff nails that dig in your skin and plain eyes with nothing in them- light would not touch them to reflect hope or happiness. Now she has had surgery and all the fat that hid her is melting. I have turned just as cold skinned as her, I hate the outdoors. She is fifty since December and her hair has faded in color to a more flattering solid brown while her nails have gone brittle and she wears them trimmed. Sometimes I look into her eyes and I see my best friend. My only friend.
My mom had me learn through my mistakes and never my accomplishments. There is always a failure and I had a fiasco on my hands since birth. She believed firmly, when I was young, in punishment over positive reinforcement. I do not think she knew at the time that you can lead by example, and if she did she certainly did not use the technique. When you did something bad you deserved bad done to you, and if you did nothing wrong the reward was to go on without paying the price. There was no way to know what that price was going to be. I always paid in some way.
As hard as life with her was I learned to take a deep breath and live. It is something that recently I have been forgetting. Until things escalate it’s hard for me to remember now, to pick myself up, push everything down bellow me with the ground and then start to walk again. When things with her were at their worse I use to run. Once, she had a fit. My mom kept leaving the house screaming and crying hysterically at me about how I should die, I ruined everything, she didn’t need me, I was over-reacting and she wanted to go. I was about five, it was pitch dark out and my brother, Alex, sat on the edge of my bed and held me as she continually left the house from the front door out into the cold and then coming back in because I had the weakness and indecency to cry. My room at the time, in that small apartment I spent the beginning of my life in, was claustrophobic sized and had me look into the kitchen when the door was open. I had to watch her and I hated that room. I hated the house. I hated her. But I am proud of myself that I don’t anymore, because she trained me to be strong. Whenever I can look at myself in pride it is because of what she did not give to me. I earned the things I got and I am not sure I ever earned her love, which came out of guilt much later from abandonment, but I earned the right to cry. I worked for my strength.
Today, I talk to her like we are cronies and it s not hard to throw out a fake grin- overtime those things become real. Most days she is pleasant and she apologized about how I felt about what happened when I was younger. She does not take responsibility but I am not punished. I’m never bruised or hurt and that means everything. To be honest, without the scars and bruises I do not feel tough. She does not either. Still, we have both moved on. She has never been a parent and I was never a daughter or child. Tammara is her own woman and I stand for my own faults. I will never forget any of the vile things she said or the grief I have felt by her hand. There were times where I can truly say I did not love her. She had made me bleed too many times to feel. Now we beam at one another and I do love her. How could I not? She is my mother, my best teacher.