The Struggle

The picture below is tonight’s entry in a daily journal of sorts I try keep up with on my phone. I keep most of my entries short and simple. Nothing like the dissertations contained within this blog. There are often no epiphanies or anything eye-opening or ground-breaking. Usually just a few words about my day. About how I’m feeling. Maybe a picture I took that day and/or a picture that captures my day or mood. My hurt. My struggle(s). I often have nothing much to say (hence my laziness RE: keeping up with this blog) because my days are usually pretty empty, uneventful, and not filled with much activity or social interaction. Succinctly: I often don’t have much to write home about. A good many of my entries (in an app called Day One; Apple iOS link: https://appsto.re/us/ESRiz.isimply) just say, “SSDD.” 

When my dad was alive and I would ask him how his day was, 95% of the time he would answer with, “SSDD.” – an acronym for Same Shit, Different Day. That’s how I feel most days. And I think I now have a greater understanding that that’s probably how my dad often felt too. My dad was blunt (but never intentionally mean or spiteful about it) and he was not one to sugarcoat the truth. Which I didn’t mind. I probably even loved it though I don’t think I came to truly appreciate and admire that trait in him until after he passed and I became old enough to understand the value of true honesty and realized I am much the same way. He was just being honest. Ditto. I am so much like my father. My mom says that to me a lot: “You’re so much like your father.” I know for sure that she says it out of spite and resentment for all the perceived wrongs done/being done to her (by my dad and myself). I know she means it as an insult. She doesn’t know I always take it as a compliment and I try not to beam and try to stifle a smile in front of her after she says that to me, grateful that I take after my father more than I take after my mother (in more ways than one). Thank god.

 

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Things My Mother Taught Me

m-is-for-mom

I haven’t even really started writing this post and I already don’t know what to say. I usually have a small outline of what I want to write/say in my Notes app on my iPhone but all I had written down for this post was the idea/title. And I only have the title because I have already decided to do a Father’s Day post with the same title…except that one, even though it’s a month away, has practically already written itself. We’ll see how this Mother’s Day post goes…

I’ve made it no secret that my mom and I do not have the best relationship and I don’t want you to think that I just completely hate and despise her because I really don’t…but she does make it difficult for me to like and love her at times. I am grateful for what she’s done for me…letting me live back at home, etc. But while most people view that as “rent free” because I don’t give her any money (because I don’t have any to give), I have pretty much had to sell my soul to live here…not even sell it, I just had to give it up. THAT is the price I pay to live here. “Why don’t you just move out?” Good question and the answer is: I’m working on it. Baby steps, people. I JUST started “working” again for the first time in two years but $30/week isn’t going to get me far…but it’s a start. I deposit that money in an account I affectionately call my “GTFO Fund” (GTFO = Get The Fuck Out). M (my therapist) and I have decided/agreed that no matter how crazy I was/am, I would have done/do a lot a better if I were living on my own. It’s not gonna happen tomorrow…but we’re working on it.

So now, the nitty gritty…things my mother taught me…

1. Communication: My mother has taught me how to not communicate effectively. She is the type of person who says and does things that force people to ask her what’s wrong and nothing gets under my skin faster than a huge sigh or whine coming from the corner of the couch. She has also taught me what happens when you are not honest with your partner or your kids. She constantly expects her boyfriend (and even her children) to read her mind and…NEWS FLASH: we are not mind-readers. If you want something or need us to know how you’re feeling, ask and/or talk to us…don’t make us guess because chances are, we’ll get it wrong and then she just gets mad at us for not picking up on her “subtle” hints. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

2. Finances: My mother has taught me that I don’t want to be an impulse shopper or spend money I don’t have. My mother is the queen of the impulse buy, especially from QVC. She will later feel guilty about it and return it or is too lazy to return it and waits too long to where the store will not accept the return. I understand why people do that but it’s dug my mom a pretty big financial hole that she is now kicking herself for. She takes her anger out on those around her and in doing so, has taught me to think twice before I purchase anything, no matter the price or reason…be it a want or necessity.

3. Love: My mother has taught me about the things I don’t want to do regarding love and relationships. She sees what happened with my dad one way and I see it another so we just agree to disagree and I disagree with what she did and how she handled that situation. So she taught me that I don’t ever want to do that to someone, be they my husband or not. I believe it was wrong. As for her current boyfriend, there’s a lot of things she’s taught me about that relationship too…again, mostly about what not to do.

(I think it’s kind of sad that I had to pull those three things out of my ass and I’m desperately trying to think of more things she has “taught” me. We might be here a while…)

4. Makeup: My mother taught me that less is more. She refuses to leave the house without makeup on or hair done…so she’s also taught me that I don’t want to be that kind of woman. I am proud to be one of those women who can easily waltz out of the house with no makeup and not be mortified. When I do wear makeup, it’s minimal and looks natural.

(Seriously y’all…I am looking around my room grasping for topics. I should have given this post more thought before I sat down to write. Maybe I should have called this “Things My Mother Didn’t Teach Me”…that might have been easier to write…)

5. Parenting: My mother has taught me about the kind of mother I don’t want to be. I am not a mother myself but I do take notes and think about the kind of mother I want to be should that time ever come. This is a pretty big “lesson” but suffice it to say that there are several things I will never do or say to any future children I may have and I want to give any future children I may have all the things I was never given. This is not about material things such as, “I will give my child a pony because I never had one.” No. I want to love on and hug my children often, always tell them I love them and always kiss them goodnight. I want my children to know I support them no matter what path in life they choose and I want them to trust me and feel comfortable talking to me about anything, no matter the subject.

6. Laundry: My mother taught me how to do laundry…how to separate your colors and your whites, how to fold clothes and she taught me how to fold that blasted fitted sheet of death. She also taught me how to iron…always a useful skill. I still can’t sew a button back on to save my life.

7. Manicures and Pedicures: My mother taught me to enjoy being pampered and that little things, such as having your nails and toes painted, can make you feel good.

8. Lotions & Potions: My mother taught me the joys of lotions and perfumes and the importance of smelling good without going overboard. Although I may have taken this one a bit far because I think I’m a lotion hoarder…

9. Cooking: My mother taught me to use a pinch of salt and oil when boiling pasta so the noodles don’t stick together.

10. Logic: My mother taught me how to just accept, “Because I said so, that’s why.”

11. Life: My mother taught me that she brought me into this world and she can take me out. Sometimes I wish she would.

12. Bones: My mother taught me to grow a backbone as well as a funny bone because she lacks both…no bones about that.

Okay, that’s 12 things. Can I be done now? Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s out there…especially the ones who have stepped in and care(d) for me even though “YOU’RE NOT MY REAL MOM!”