Recently, I have been confronted with a startling truth. My mother was fabulous. But, by contrast, I’m more of a quirky, plain-Jane type. I stumbled across a picture of my mother in a red negligee on a distant Valentine’s Day. She wore fine jewelry and manicured nails. Her fiery red hair in perfect curls. My mother was a real head-turner. It was impossible not to turn around and stand a little more at attention when she entered the room. She was statuesque, not just physically (she was at least 5’10) but also in flair. A gracefull, if not dramatic, woman who would not be ignored.
Contrarily, I often find myself in the shadows and am quite surprised whenever someone remembers me. It’s always an odd sensation when someone tells me, Of course I remember you! I often think of myself as a ghost to the woman my mother was. She was a social butterfly. Very engaging, effervescent, the type of person to jump on life like it was a train headed for any place other than here. I’m much more cautious, much less social, certainly more practical.
They say you become more like your parents as you age. In that case, I’m becoming more of my dad than my mom. I’d rather be like my mom, in certain aspects. I’d like to be the kind of woman who never takes a step out of her front door without hair done, makeup done, clothes perfect. I’ve spent an absurd amount of years in a t-shirt and jeans, with hair pulled into a bun, and a massive collection of cosmetics put away under the sink.
Why can’t I be fabulous? Why do I always always take the road to invisibility? And why do I always think I’m being invisible when it’s really quite the opposite? Or so I’m told.
This is my last day in my twenties. I’m now making a somewhat rocky transition into 30. Kicking and screaming, as it were. I don’t like not being able to blame sometimes my impetuous and ill-thought out, spur of the moment, juvenile, idiotic and just plain ridiculous decisions on my youth. When you’re 30, you’re old enough to know better. You really are. That stuff’s not cute any more.
Perhaps I’m not giving myself enough credit. I’m 30 (almost), I do know better. I know what I’m doing, I don’t have to worry about making so many mistakes… but I just loved the ability to revel in my ignorance, like a pig in the mud. Those days are now gone…
Why am I so melodramatic right now?
I need to flip the coin and realize that I have lived 29 whole years and it’s been a remarkable journey up until this point. It will continue to be amazing. Even more so.
My mom always believed in me, my dad always believed I could do better. Are those the same things? If you tilt your head just right and squint your eyes— can you see that they both wanted the best for me?
Oh, I’m not so sure about my dad. I love him, but he haunts me… in the way that classical music lingers with you long after the audience has diminished.
I try not to think about my dad… but every so often he pushes his way into my consciousness and cannot be ignored. Even if he were dead, I’m sure I’d have these same struggles— maybe more so. At least now, there is a chance to prove that life is full of second chances, hopeful smiles, children laughing in the rain, rainbows that never end, butterflies that bid your happiness, squirrels that dance with glee, clouds that never gray, dew that never drops, tears that mean joy.
It’s easier to think of my dad, not as a person who loves me, but as a person I know. That would be far more accurate. Maybe not even “know.” Let’s go for “met a few times.”
Oh, I wish my mother hadn’t believed in everyone. But just the same, her belief and her willingness to see the good in all, has made me. I can’t deny that I’ve struggled against the incongruence of her reality vs. mine. I have lived my life deliberately against both parents’ footsteps. I will not over-indulge. I will not be unaccessible.
Aren’t we all walking a tight rope?
My mother took her first breath in the same room where she drew her last one. Because of that, I developed my understanding of the circular patterns in life. Everything is a circle, even the universe. Filled with circles are we.
I don’t often think of my mother but when I do, it’s filled with an intense amount of sadness. It’s a case of Catch-22: I repress because of sadness and sadness remains because I repress.
Throughout the years, I’ll allowed bits and pieces and unresolved issues to bob to the surface… Recently, I tackled the idea of illness. Part of me was so afraid of her illness that I felt it start to take over me, in unexpected ways. Not only did I think we were doomed to the same destiny, I also felt afraid of everything.
One thing’s for sure— true love will equip you with the stare down any foe, even the most monstrous. With love holding you steady, you can defiantly watch these enemies diminish into nothingness. I am a champion of my love, because he has made me a braver woman in so many ways.
My mind falls back on my mother who was not brave. She was flawed, as we all are, but her flaws were incredibly exploited, because she had no shield of true love.
What a complicated matter.