Saturday, July 10, 2004

Dear Mom

For so long, I have longed to tell you many things. Mainly, that part of me understands you and feels your pain in life. I feel your depression and your anxiety. I don't always understand why you do things... or why you did things, to hurt me. That, I will never understand. No matter the explanation, I will not understand why you did not do something for yourself and why you continue not to. Perhaps my memory is too long and sharp. Too technicolor. Perhaps it is the pain you inflicted, both mentally and physically, that has driven it so deeply into me that I am now forced through my own intelligence and longing for truth, to extract it from me like a festering thorn. You Mother, are the first layer of the onion. I remember you slept a lot, were cranky a lot and cried a lot. All signs of depression. They didn't know that much about depression then... but they do now. And yet, you still refuse help. So, am I to forgive the things you did because you were sick? No, because I know your sickness was not the only reason. It was only part of it, the other part remains hidden from me. I remember sitting in the floor of my bedroom as you tossed socks and underwear from my suitcase.. I was very little, maybe 6 or 7.. and you were very angry and you yelled very loud and slapped my legs and arms and pulled the little hairs at the nape of my neck. It was because I hadn't unpacked my suitcase when I got home from Ma-Ma's house.. but I had. I just couldn't tell you I had packed it again to run away. I remember you spanking me and Bubby with a paddle, hard and endlessly for making noise. We weren't fighting, we were playing. I was always slow and nothing I did was right. Nothing any of us did was right.. except Bubby. You told me he was your favorite. You told me more than once. You told me you didn't like me. "There is a difference between like and love Inanna, and I may love you because you're my daughter, but I DON'T LIKE YOU!" Me? You don't like ME? Perhaps I should have asked you to explain what it was exactly you didn't like. Fuck you bitch. Jealous mother? You've always been jealous. What was it? My uber-intelligence? My beauty, my friends...or was it I showed up your son, YOUR FAVORITE in everything. He was a wimp who succumbed to the demands of his friends while I still walked to the beat of a different drummer? Is that why at awards ceremonies as people would congratulate and talk to you, you always turned the conversation around to my brother? I remember the looks on their faces. Is that why you wrote me that nasty letter my second week in Germany that was so horrid I had a panic attack and had to be taken to the hospital? Is that why you tried to destroy my relationship with my father? Is that why you embarrassed me in front of my friends by being bitter and nasty? Is that why you monopolized the conversation and excluded me when I brought a boyfriend home to meet you? Or was it my talents? My literary efforts, which won me awards? Is it the fact that I can sing, dance and act and people like it? Or was it everytime you knocked me down I got right back up again? I never let you break me. Is it because of my preserverence? Is it my strength? What is it about this soul that you find so disagreeable? What? Oh, I know, I got pregnant out of wedlock to a married man. And yes, honey, I have paid through blood, sweat, tears and pain, unimaginable sorrow, but he didn't break me either. He was a piece of cake compared to you. I didn't come crawling did I? Why give you another reason to twist the knife any deeper? How many times did you need to tell me what a disappointment I was? Everytime you saw me obviously wasn't enough since you would call and tell me too. And why was it you cried Mother, when I pointed out that I could have had an abortion and you would have been none the wiser? Because you knew I had that power and chose not to exercise it? You refused to come to my baby shower because I had been so immoral and to show up meant that you condoned my behavior. Okay. You refused to take pictures of me during the holidays. I don't know why. That must have been immoral too. You showed such disregard when I told you I had gone into labor two months early but luckily they had stopped it. You didn't ask how I was or how the baby was. I was left to enjoy my pregnancy alone. You did not leech all of my happiness because I was alone everyday with my son. I saw his face on the ultrasound. I loved him regardless of how he came to be or what would happen. I LOVED HIM!! I loved him as he pitched and rolled in my stomach and kicked and hiccuped. I loved the show you put on for my future sister-in-law as he lay hiccuping in the womb and you rubbed my stomach and called him a girl. I thought, "kick her for that." HA! That's what you get for taking what T-Bird said incorrectly, and throwing your little fit and once again, telling me how disappointed you were that she told the sex of the baby. I almost didn't call you when I was at the hospital. Where I get my compassion I'll never know because it certainly wasn't from you. I know how desparately you wanted to stay and watch the birth. I saw the disappointment when the nurse asked you to leave. Hint: I asked her to do that. Number One: I didn't want you standing around yakking your mouth. Number Two: If its so immoral to come to my baby shower and so immoral to take photographs of me, then its obviously too immoral for you to be able to take part in something that you have degraded and besmirched for 6 months. Had you shown me a little compassion Mother, I may have let you stay. You didn't earn it. You thought only of yourself and how your friends and family felt or how they talked. But not me, flesh of your flesh, your own daugther, when I needed you most. When I was scared and afraid, you turned your back on me and kept it turned until it suited you to turn back around. As far as your compassion extended, so did mine. I don't take any pleasure in kicking you out because I know it hurt you. I may even feel a bit guilty. Just like the guilt I saw in your eyes when you asked me to stand beside my sister-in-law for a picture at HER baby shower. Something dawned on you then, didn't it? I'd like to say you've changed since the birth of your grandchildren and you have. I think you're a much better grandmother than you ever were a mother. Perhaps I'm not the only one who has learned lessons over the years. I'm glad I gave you the opportunity. It was a toss-up for a while as to whether I allowed my son to be with you. Its worked out. But, you're still my Mother. And in doing so, you've tried over the years to twist the knife. Like, when you told me you hoped I didn't resent my son due to the circumstances of his birth. I didn't respond until the second time you brought it up. I told you that since you kept talking about it that obviously you were the one who resented it. Case closed. How about when you asked if the b/f asked me to give my son up if I would? WTF? How can you ask your own daughter, who would give her LIFE for her child, and almost did, if she would give him up? What kind of person does she think I am? She either doesn't know me at all or welcomes any opportunity to throw the things I love and care about in the dark shadow of doubt. NO! YOU DUMB BITCH!! NO MAN IS WORTH MY CHILD! DICK IS NOT WORTH IT! MONEY IS NOT WORTH IT! NOTHING IS WORTH IT!! Case closed. You still take up for that worthless, spineless, emotionless piece of crap masquerading as my brother. You know, the one who only comes to see you when its convenient for him, when he wants something or so his wife can look down her nose at you but lust after your money, or you can watch their two heathen children while they talk about mine? But lets not show favortism okay? Because they would be wrong. Really wrong! Either my meds are working really good or I just don't give a shit anymore. Maybe its the fact that instead of taking your crap now, I stand up to you and tell you to your face that your attitude sucks. I know your actions when I was a child impacted how I saw myself, the types of relationships I gravitated toward as an adult and how I see myself now, which is why I'm writing this and working on myself, because if nothing else, you've taught me what kind of person I don't want to be. If I don't let go of the past, I will be you. I give you credit though. You've stuck up more for me in the past eight years than you ever did in the first 25. I suppose you feel, grudgingly, that I earned it by dusting myself off again and again and moving on. I earned it long ago Mother and I earned it in your shadow. Your blindness or contempt or jealousy or using me as an outlet for your own unhappiness is not my fault and I refuse to accept it as my responsibility. I have made mistakes and I have made my amends. I forgive you for what you did. I hope to forget and drop the baggage behind me as I move along the path to a better me. I love you Mom.
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    Blogger evilsciencechick said...

    wow. i admire you even more now, for what you've gone through, and how you've managed to stay strong. I'll bet you feel cleansed after writing that! will your mother ever see this letter?

    7/11/2004 06:33:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    ESC -- my mother will never see that letter. If I thought it would bring about answers or change, certainly I would do so. Most important, is that I realize that my self-worth is not mirrored in her eyes, its mirrored in mine. I cannot change the people around me, I can only change myself and my reactions to them. As for cleansing, in a way yes, but it has been a very long process and much deeper than a letter. This layer is peeled.

    7/11/2004 09:27:00 PM  
    Blogger Vadergrrrl said...

    Wow - your letter made me cry, made me proud, reminds me of my own mother, and a little of myself. I think my son can identify with some of that, especially the sleeping.....

    Your incredible, your amazing, your talented and a survivor. Thank you for sharing that...
    You are Valued and LOVED.

    7/11/2004 09:38:00 PM  
    Blogger Seeker said...

    Holy Shit, Vader is getting all touchy feely!

    This has to be a fuckin' kodak moment if there ever was one....

    7/12/2004 05:39:00 AM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Vader -- Thank you. I can see you have been doing a bit of soul-searching yourself.

    Seeker -- Play nice dear.

    7/12/2004 06:59:00 AM  
    Blogger jp said...

    Damn, that's a lot of feeling to put down on paper. I applaud you for doing it. If you need to talk, you know where I am.

    7/12/2004 12:01:00 PM  
    Blogger Phoesable said...

    I admire your courage so much, Inanna.

    7/12/2004 03:15:00 PM  
    Blogger Leese said...

    so intense, inanna...
    by the way, happy birthday to HB this week?

    7/12/2004 07:31:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    JP -- thank you very much.

    Phoebe -- I don't really feel courageous, just... me.

    Leese -- yes, and thank you. HB turned 8 on the 8th.

    7/12/2004 07:39:00 PM  
    Blogger Phoesable said...

    Courage is curious that way, don't you think? I guess it's less a sensation, more of a quality of being. Appreciated your comments over at my house.
    - Sister Moon (I like that.)

    7/12/2004 08:11:00 PM  
    Blogger Jack said...

    I don't really have anything to say, except I hope it felt good to get it all out. Have a good day.

    7/12/2004 08:15:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Sister Moon -- I'm beginnng to see your point.

    Jack -- Thanks for stopping by and I wish I could say that writing that letter was as cathartic as it looks. More like, I've already unpacked the suitcases, now its time to drop the baggage.

    7/12/2004 08:23:00 PM  
    Blogger MercuryRed said...

    Inanna - I know you needed to say that and I'm so glad you did. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. Remember, "Fear is the mind killer," but you knew this already or you wouldn't be so strong. Blessed Be.

    7/13/2004 12:00:00 AM  
    Blogger Queenie said...

    I have read this everyday since you have posted it.
    It is strength that allows you to see good and realize there is love. Sometimes it is hard to find. Despite the pain, you can see it.
    And you have the courage to express it.
    Soon, you will be dicing the onion.


    7/13/2004 10:46:00 AM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Thank you Queenie

    7/13/2004 11:14:00 AM  
    Blogger Me said...

    Inanna... wow. I'm not eloquent, but I can recognize it in others. Your blog should be syndicated.

    7/14/2004 12:21:00 AM  

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