This sentence has been reverberating in my head since Sunday – I didn’t call my mother on Mother’s Day. No, it wasn’t a mistake, I didn’t forget, I knew exactly what day it was and I deliberately did not even call her.
I had spoken to her a few days before – well she called me as per usual when she wants something, never for any other reason. Although, we have actually progressed to this state since I spent years not talking to her. We existed in a state of me actively hating her to not thinking of her at all and now – well now I think about not calling her on Mother’s Day.
Yet the dislike for her is always somewhere inside me – simmering – a seemingly dormant volcano. How else am I supposed to feel about the woman who gave birth to me then proceeded to destroy my childhood.
How do you get over physical and emotional abuse when you are irrevocably tied to your abuser?
How do you forgive someone for crippling your entire life – for subjecting you to so much trauma that you developed a personality disorder and cannot function like a normal human being?
I use to be so angry all the time and it took years of therapy to let go of some of it. Still, I have those moments of profound sadness. Just last month I was talking to one of my girlfriends and for some reason we started sharing childhood horror stories. We bawled our eyes out. The one person who was supposed to protect us, hurt us the most – my mother and her mother have so very much in common.
My story is all too much the norm where I come from. So many men and women are walking around as hollow damaged shells with no self-esteem and no self worth, all because we weren’t taught how to love ourselves.
The harsh reality is that the Jamaican landscape and in fact the black community as I know it consists of a majority of mothers who actively tear down their children. In a society of abject poverty, illiteracy and extreme ignorance women unthinkably repeat the words they hear everyday – the words I heard everyday from my own mother.
Yuh cummin like yuh wutlis pupa – translation, you are just like your worthless father.
When your mother tells you things like that – when she is frustrated, hungry and tired, when she looks at you with disgust and yells that you are “black, ugly and good for nothing” – you believe her. Somewhere deep down in your subconscious, you believe her and you are scarred – a piece of my spirit lost forever.
Then when the ugly words are followed by lashes that burst open barely healing skin from your last beating – you learn to hate. You learn to hate the monster that is your own mother. But, I couldn’t live with my angry and hate anymore. I had a choice, learn to let go of my hate or die. I think I chose life – at least I chose not to die by my own hand, however I can’t say that I have forgiven and I certainly haven’t forgotten.
So no – I don’t call my mother on mother’s day, doing so would be a lie – I do not love her. I had to fight to not hate her anymore and my struggles continue today – not for her but for me.
I’m happy to say that I finally found it in myself to not begrudge her a happy day as the same abuse she dished out she first received in-kind and I pity her – maybe one day I can say happy Mother’s Day to her.