I am feeling big feelings and I’m going to write them. I have been crying. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I cried. Really cried. Mournful, soul-pulling, crying. This feeling is terrible, but I know it’s important to acknowledge them and see this through to the other side.
We lost power on Tuesday and my husband, son, dog, and I stayed with my parents until it came back today. A series of incidents occurred that made me reflect pretty hard on what it was like living there as a teenager. My feelings were too big for my skin and I felt explosive, misunderstood, and alone – like most kids that age. Experiencing this as an adult, though – this prolonged, high level anxiety of messing something up – gave me more empathy for myself. Without going into detail, my mother did not speak to me, my husband, or my SON for the entire last 24 hours of our stay.
Every day, I take an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, and anti-anxiety medication. I am a recovering alcoholic. Looking back, I have definitely pulled the passive aggressive silent treatment in relationships. I think back to those times and shudder. I forgive that person now because processing emotions was never really modeled for me growing up. My father is even keeled 90% of the time but would sometimes pivot to a complete sudden rage. It was rare, but it was terrifying. My mother, on the other hand was very loving to me when I was a child but as soon as I became a teenager it seemed she wanted less and less to do with me. My hindsight analysis is that this was because I was having more mood shifts. Front that point on, I was mostly met with digging remarks or silence. We often have nice chats, but when we do veer into any kind of depth, it is made clear that she knows best and my opinions are too lofty.
As I entered into my teens, It felt like I became dirty and unlovable. I carried that into adulthood along with a total inability rationally deal with my feelings. I’ve learned a lot since then and am mostly content with my actions and reactions to difficult things. I’ve been through many, many years of therapy and even studied Psychology and Counseling in college. I have found my spirituality and read about it every single day. In my recent life, if disagreement or discomfort arises, I often want to nip a problem in the bud with honest conversation. With my son, I truly try to teach him that it’s ok to have big emotions and that he can talk to me about anything. My dad did that with me but the abandonment I felt from my mother affected me in such a spider web of ways that I am still digging through them.
I am a 42-year-old, grown-ass woman who is not about to blame my parents for problematic things that they, as human beings, may have done in raising me. Right now, at this moment, I often think about what I’ve already done to completely ruin my son’s adult life because I have no idea what I am doing. I extend that compassion to them as well. Parents are not perfect. They are not saints or deities. Parents are people who have no idea what they are doing. I acknowledge that these actions cause issues that are up to me to work through. I have to do my fallible best to do better.
Today, I’ll let myself be sad that no one rubbed my back and said it’s ok. I’ll take this floating-away sensation as the final tethers being cut. I am my own person and nothing will change that. I am totally cool with it. I mostly like myself now. I do, however, want to grab Teenage Me’s bony little shoulders and pull her in for a hug.
I often mourn my relationship with my mother. I’ll never have a relationship with a mother who is unconditionally supportive and emotionally open. It’s sad to think about, but I am not alone. All through life, we find mothers in our friends, partners, teachers, and mentors. I hope to be that mother, not only to my own son, but to other fledgling souls I encounter along the way. That’s life. All I can do is try my best to be the things I wish I had and to find those qualities in folks I choose as family.