I’ve always envied my little brother’s relationship with our Momma. They are so easy with one another and always have been. I’ve envied every single one of my female friends their relationships with their mothers. Because I don’t have that with my Momma. It isn’t her fault – she is absolutely amazing and always has been.
There has never been a time in my life where she didn’t bust her ass to make sure I knew she loved me, that she supported me, even when she couldn’t understand me or the things that drove me. I have never blamed my Momma for the fact that we aren’t besties the way moms and daughters should be.
But this year, I’m not blaming myself any longer. I have, for years, shouldered that blame. My Momma deserves to have that mother-daughter relationship. But I don’t fit in and never have. I’m not girly enough. I’m not normal enough. I’m not good enough. Those were the reasons I carried in my heart for why we didn’t have the kind of relationship I wish I had with my Momma. I simply wasn’t enough.
This year, I’m letting that go. It wasn’t my fault. I was abused and it silenced me. I was taught, day in and day out, that it was my fault my parents fought. How could I tell my mom what was happening, knowing it would cause a fight? I was told she knew what my father did to me, that he was beating me and tearing me down, and that she approved. I was so desperate for love, that I didn’t want to remind her of my daily failing. I was so brainwashed by my abuser, that I didn’t even see that her love really was unconditional, because his was not.
I hid away all the ugly parts in myself, which I thought was pretty much all of them, and I got really good at faking it. It being, of course, everything. I was a painfully shy and lonely child and no one knew because I hid behind this bright facade, hoping what I put forward was acceptable. And you cannot hide yourself and become best friends. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school and my first real best friend that I learned this.
Mandy was the first person who saw the ugly. She was around so much that, even though he’d stopped hitting me by then, she heard the horrible way he talked to me. She heard him tear me down. And for the first time in my life, I told someone how much I hated myself because he’d taught me to hate myself. Mandy was my miracle in a way that I don’t think I have ever told her. She was the first person since I was a young child that I had been 100% authentic with and she loved me. And there was at least once that her acceptance and love saved my life.
Mandy taught me how friendship really worked. But by then, I’d damaged my relationship with my Momma and I didn’t know how to fix it. And I still carried the guilt for our failed relationship. I didn’t know how to cross the divide between us. I still don’t. My Momma still isn’t my best friend.
But that’s okay. Because I love my Momma and I know she loves me. It’s probably too late for us to develop the kind of friendship she and my brother have. I know I’m not her favorite and our interests and lifestyles are completely different. But I know as I’ve always known that if I need her, I only have to call. And maybe as I heal, I’ll learn how to ask for help, I’ll learn how to admit that I am struggling. I’ve worked so hard for so long not to need anyone – in part to prove it to my father but also to make my Momma proud.
This year, I’m going to try to let go of the guilt for the way our relationship has turned out and simply be glad that I have the Momma that I do. And try, for the first time, to maybe see what she sees when she looks at me.