Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Are You My Mother?
Was it when I became more like a little person and less like a cuddly baby that my mother couldn't love me anymore? Was it because I started to like different things than she did, or wanted to venture from her side? Was it because she reached her capacity for unconditional love and then found it too hard to love me back? Was it because it was just easier to retreat, to hold back the love owed to a child than to risk the hurt of throwing her heart open wide?
My mom, to this day, gets a little upset if I don't like the things she likes. We have reached a peace about it. Ish. She wants me to be so much like her to make her feel OK in the world- validating her. She would never admit to this. My mom hates other people. She does not want to make a new friend, or have any human connection. She sees no comfort in God, or faith. She doesn't like leaving the house, and watches a lot of TV. I still feel uncomfortable going places after four- we never ever left the house after school.
My mom can talk to anyone. She blossoms in a crowd. She has a smart sense of humor, and is unconsciously tender at times. She has the uncanny ability to scout out the coolest things- objects and otherwise. I rant and rail at her in my head, "Just give yourself a chance to be happy!" but she doesn't hear and so I don't try. That's not my job anyway.
We are working on mother stuff in my group. Yesterday we talked to an empty chair and pretended that mom was sitting there. Holy shit. Holy shit.
I didn't realize how much of my own unloving came from how I felt as a child. I didn't know out loud that I felt most like a nuisance and a bother. That I craved tenderness. Arms folded around me. Safety. Mothering.
Drinking gave me that. No fucking wonder I loved to drink. No wonder I always wanted more more more. Booze never pushed me away, it only pulled me in closer closer closer. Welcome to the cocoon.
You never know, as a mother, what you can do to and for your children. You don't realize in the day-to-day while you're busy feeling rushed or frustrated or finished that you are showing your children how to be people. You are showing them what they are worth to themselves and to you. I am certain my mother never set out to make me feel like a second thought. She never wanted me to realize that I was lost as a child because she was too busy with her own shit to show me how to be a person, a girl, a woman. She loves me deeply and in her way today. Just as I love myself.
You never know, as a grown up, that there are mothers everywhere. That once you wean yourself from the bottle they appear to care for and comfort you. They are pen pals, and other Amy's. They are fellow bloggers, and long distance heart friends. They are people you will soon meet along the way.
I lost a lot of years searching for my comfort. Because that's what drinking is, really, isn't it? A soft place to fall. I looked for my mother in the bottom of a bottle only to come up empty every single time.
I'm learning to be a comfort to myself. To be the mother I wish I'd had, the one I long to be. To care for myself not by hurting myself, but by seeing and healing my wounds. By opening my arms and my heart to myself when I ask "are you my mother?" instead of opening another bottle of wine.
Being sober brings many gifts- too many to count some days. For me this may be the best gift of all: the gift of me and mother.