So, today's post is part of the 30 Day Blog Challenge I'm doing. Today's suggested topic comes from the lovely Melysa Schmitt, of Sex, Lies and Bacon fame. This post is long and is a doozy. So be prepared.
I'm an only child. As my mom always put it: “Son, it's just you and me against the world.” And she was right. I was always annoyed by this phrase, but there was so much truth in it. It really was just her and I against an impossible world at so many points.
My mom and I didn't enjoy the easiest times together. My relationship with her was difficult. I can only speak for my side of things. My mom always loved me. I've never doubted that and she always provided. I always had a roof over my head, though, there were more than a few times where we were without electricity and head as well as no phone. It was just my mom doing the best she could. As a kid, you don't really notice that. You tend to notice what you don't have. I guess we do that as adults, too, but we're supposed to eventually learn that it's what you have, not what you don't, that is important.
But, as I said, my mom and I didn't enjoy the closes relationship. To be truthful, I was terrified of my mother for a number of years. Now, before I go on, I should preface this article by saying I'm not trying to bash my mother. I love her dearly. While she still drives me batty, I do love her so much; she's all I have and she's always been my biggest fan. Always. So, mom, if you read this just know that I love you. =)
As I said, I've had my issues with my mom. I spent years scared of her and later I despised her; I wanted little to do with her. I carried these feelings with me in every part of my life, like one carries a backpack full of lead weights (who the fuck does that anyway?). That is, no matter where I went, my unresolved feelings towards my mother followed.
I graduated from high school and two weeks later I left home for California. I up and left. I was determined to leave. Why? Because I told myself I hated the rain. While I do hate copious amounts of rain, that wasn't the reason. I didn't want to be where my mother was and I wanted to run away from her and all these negative memories I'd stored up over the years. Instead of dealing with them, I wanted to run away.
1000+ miles later I ended up in the Inland Empire, the IE, also known as the arm pit of Southern California. Sorry to my IE living friends. =) – I still was a self loathing sort. I was a recluse and I kept to myself. I didn't love who I was, as a person. I found ways to punish myself. I would often refuse car rides from co workers, opting to walk 6 or 7 miles to get home. I would refuse to eat food that was offered to me. Why? I was a weird guy. I didn't value myself. I thought I was a shitty kid and a shitty young adult. You see, I felt that my mother, too, hated me. Why else would she have been cruel and mean to me when I was a kid? These were the thoughts that went through my head. I know that wasn't the case though. I know my mom loved me. But I know that she had her own things to deal with like where rent was coming from, how was she going to feed us both and a whole host of other things; things I didn't see. As you can imagine, though, these feelings build up. Each shitty feeling on top of the previous one. And when you don't resolve any of these feelings, you get buried under a mountain of general shitty-ness.
From 17 until I was 20, relationships with women were… hard. I didn't know what to do with a girl. I hated myself, so that was a big part of the problem. If I didn't like who I was, how would some other girl? I was deeply insecure and that was the tip of an iceberg. My first actual girlfriend was when I was 21. I punched my v-card with her. She was a special gal… but she kinda dumped me and likely cheated on me with an ex of hers; a doctor (not that the doc part matters). I figured I'd deserved to be dumped. I still didn't like who I was, you see. That would lead me to several other relationships where I was generally shat upon (not in a scatological sense, mind you) by these other women that really didn't appreciate who I was. I was a perpetually angry person. One time, at work, I yelled at one of my co-workers and said: “Please, don't fucking touch me ever again!” I made that girl cry. I never said I was sorry and she quit that week. Never spoke to her again. Did she like me? Yeah, a bit. She flirted, but I was so angry about it… And, today, I don't even know why… It was messed up.
One of my co-workers and I were going back and forth, saying shitty things to one another (because that's what I could related to) and what she said (her name was Tania) I'll never forget: “Alex, you know what your problem is? Whatever this is; this thing you do, where you're an asshole to women it comes from, what I feel to be, a bad relationship with your mom. You're never going to find love; you're never going to fall in love with a woman because of your relationship with your mother. And no woman will ever want you while you carry that baggage around.” Ka-fucking-boom… Tania leveled me in a way that only mother previously had. She was right and I hated her for it. I spoke to Tania only in passing from that moment on. I resented how right she was. But in my own reality at that time, I just considered her to be a bitch. =)
I continued on this path of self-loathing and destructive relationships with women until I was 24…I stopped dating completely. I didn't start again until I was 27. Seriously. I needed to evaluate myself and this pattern I was stuck in.
When I did, all of my thoughts kept coming back to my mother. Then, one night, I saw a movie with a buddy of mine. It was a late showing. He dropped me off and then I took a walk. It was midnight. I walked, and thought and walked. I walked for about 2 hours thinking of everything in my life that I despised and, still, it all came back to my mom; like some sort of wall I couldn't climb over or get around. I was at a park. I looked up and I could feel tears welling up. I sat on a bench and I covered my face with my palms. I was crying. I felt like I was that shitty little kid I tried to leave behind in Oregon… I was still him. I was so angry and frustrated with myself. I sat and sobbed until I just didn't have the energy, it was a nearly 3am and I began taking some deep breaths… I stood up and said “Okay. I'm done.”
The next day, I called my mom on the phone and said: “Mom I wanted to tell you that I love you and that I forgive you.” Now, to her, she didn't see that there was anything she needed to be forgiven for. So she was like “okay, thanks, Son. Are you okay?” I wanted her to acknowledge what she'd done and how she had acted as a mother toward me… But I knew that wasn't going to happen. That was fine. The fact was that I was able to forgive and put things in the past. I could finally start to heal and put away the things that tore me apart all those years.
I no longer felt like that shitty kid… There are some days when I wish I could go back in time and look at that kid, that used to be me, and say to him: “Hey. You. You know what, you're not a bad kid. Your mom loves you, things are just tough, but you're going to be okay. You're going to grow up and be someone who people love; you're going to do awesome things in life; just you wait!” No child should ever feel like they are a bad person…
I've forgiven and I've enjoyed some of the best years with my mother and, I've also enjoyed some of the best relationships I've ever had. True, they didn't work out, but I do know what it's like to be with a woman who respects me for who I am and genuinely appreciates me. That's a good feeling. That wouldn't be possible if I was carrying that pit of anger and not resolving those feelings.
Today, I truly appreciate what I have. I always push for more, but I realize now how lucky I am. My mom is a big part of that, too. I guess I should accept that friend request she sent on Facebook now… brb