Friday, January 06, 2006

In the Air

My mother is in the air, on her way. I'm still nervous, but better. I was feeling a bit guilty that when I think of her, I only think of the negative. I want to share some positive things about her because as much as I still carry this residual anger, I think it's fair to present a balance.

*She is progressive and interesting. Her style is bananas cool. She wears the coolest glasses & clothes, and her best friend is a vintage costume jewelry broker so my mother has the best and most interesting jewelry. Her bakelite collection is enormous and OFF THE CHAIN.

*She is a good painter. She shows her work and is making a name for herself in Seattle where she lives. For as long as I can remember, she has been a painter and her work in genuinely good. Because she is an artist, I have always been exposed to art and artsy, funky people. I am forever grateful for this.

*She has trekked the base camps of the Himylayas in Nepal a few times, ridden a bike across New Zealand and climbed up half of Kilimanjaro.

*When I was three, an intruder broke into our apartment and raped her. She didn't make a sound afraid I would wake and he would harm me.

*She has a strong jaw line and a tiny overbite that I think is really attractive. She has grey-blue eyes, nearly see-through, that have softened and warmed over the years, and I realize they are beautiful.

*She was the first vegan I ever knew. She is more of a vegetarian now, but when I was eight, thirty years ago, is when she started her Road to Veganism. At that time, she was about sixty-five pounds overweight (a lot on her teeny tiny 5'3" frame), she smoked and had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse. And then one day she went to a hypnotist to stop smoking and she was packing this thing called tofu for lunch. She fed me the same ol' crap, but I obviously took notes for when I was older. I saw it transform her health.

*When I was in my early twenties, I lived alone in West LA. A next door neighbor tried to become overly friendly with me and when I ignored him, he started bugging. He would shout at me through my window and slice my phone lines. When he threatened to kill me, my mother offered to let me stay at her place until I got a new place to live.

*She is a different person than when I was young. And because of this, she is loving and sweet to my daughters. I realized that I did not care about our own mending as much as I was concerned about how she'd treat the girls. If I had heard one disparaging word from her directed towards the girls there would not be one visit ever like one we are having this weekend.

I just don't want this to be the trip where she wants To Talk. I can't imagine that happening though. We never talk about the past. At this point I think I would feel a bit mortified because after all that has been done and said, I know if she talks about It, all I'll say -- like all I’ve ever said as a kid -- will be, "No, it's ok." "Don't worry about it. It's ok." And that's what's mortifying to me; that as a strong, confident adult, I will cower back into feeling squashed. I will feel embarrassed by what some else has done to me and pretend it was nothing.


Marigoldie said...

I have always hoped to never have to face The Talk, and for that very reason. I believe in those talks in theory, but they have an odd way of making you feel even more guilty and responsible for something that wasn't your fault. Because you want to protect the one who hurt you. I have no idea how we're supposed to heal.

I am so sorry about the things that happened to your mom, and to you. So very sorry.

Green Whale said...

Simply beautiful.

madness rivera said...

YES! In theory, The Talks works. In movies, The Talk heals.

kiki said...

what's nice is that you can think of positive things about your mom and positive ways she has affected you. that's more than a lot of people are willing to do.

Regina said...

Let me begin by saying I LOVE YOUR WRITING. I was a mother that made so many mistakes that effected the woman I raised. I am now a different mother. She is scarred and we cannot talk about it yet. The guilt I feel for the ugly crap I put her through is almost unbearable. I need THE TALK as much as I feel she does so that we both can move on. I hope that the two of you have a wonderful visit.

madness rivera said...

Regina, your comment made me cry. It would've been buckets had I been alone. The girls are next to me and my mother sleeps in the next room. What you said are not words I see forming in my mother's mind. Your bravery to take such responsibility, your passionate sense of regret and wishing you could right the past makes me want to have The Talk with YOU. haha. God, best of luck with your daughter and all of our healing, in whatever personal way that means for us.

liz elayne said...

I hope your time with your mother is full of some gentle moments so that if The Talk does happen, you will be gentle with yourself. Our mothers can invite feelings no one else can. I tremble at the thought of The Talk but mostly because it wouldn't be a conversation. It would be my mother rehashing all of her stuff yet again while I try not to cry. I have realized that she is not able to hear me when we talk about the big stuff. I hope that your mother can hear you. And if not, know that you are finding your way without her completely knowing all of you and that is okay. It is clear through your writing that you have let other people in who do know you. Let that be enough sometimes.

Michelle Fry said...

I like it that you can come up with positive aspects of your mom's life. I had to do this with my mom as well. She and I will never have the talk but I was able to say to myself that I will treat her with respect and love her for how she is today and that is enough. The child me and the adult me have agreed that the adult me can now take over the parent role of my life and that my mom doesn't have power over my child self anymore.

acumamakiki said...

This really spoke to me because I have a very troubled relationship with my mom and right now, we're not even talking. I've forgiven her though. She was a terrible mother and really f-ed me up but I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for that and I wouldn't change a thing.

bettyboop said...

see-your mom does sound cool, like mine too. but, god, are they weird! i think you're on the right path by appreciating her eccentric ways but still keeping her at a healthy distance. i'm not sure she is capable of the kind of talk you'd want. it seems that it would have to come from her-like she's had some kind of epiphany and has to let loose and get it all out. if you initiated it, you'd most likely be majorly disappointed.
well, good luck girl! i'll be thinking of you this weekend!

andrea said...

thank you for sharing this. because I know it's not easy, because I'm moved by your decision to share with us the good (so often it is painful to share anything at all, good or bad).

someone close to me had The Talk with her mother recently. it was not the greatest (but it certainly wasn't the worst). reading your words, I am understanding a little more just how hard it probably really was for her.

as always, I am overwhelmed by your honesty, your ability to write truthfully and beautifully. I am saying prayers for you this weekend, dear friend.

Server Girl said...

wow...she has done some very cool things though...hope it all turns out :)