I bet you didn’t expect this curve ball coming, did you? If you’ve been here for any amount of time, you’ve read about my abusive past with my mother, and if not, you might want to hit up the archives.
I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and evaluating of my life recently. I don’t know, maybe it’s because every day it feels like 40 is getting closer and closer (because it literally is dummy, that’s how days work. Ugh, this guy). One of the major things I’ve landed on, even though I’m still trying to reconcile it in my mind, is that two things that are opposite of each other can still coexist in the world of truth. And this is causing havoc as I try to relate it to my past. Did that make any sense? Ok, here’s an example: you can love someone but not like them. Or in my case, you can not love someone at all, or even like them, but you can admire them?
I don’t want anyone thinking I’m doing a 180 or being a hypocrite about truths I have spoken about my mom, because everything still stays the same; my mother was, and still is, a very abusive person. She will lie, cheat and steal to get whatever she wants. And she is still the most violent emotional terrorist I have ever met, but for a brief moment in time, I truly believe she was doing things and making choices for the right reasons. That’s the person I admire – the person that was never allow to be.
I’m almost 40, and I still have no idea why my mother and father divorced when I was young. I’ve heard bits and pieces from both of them, and to be honest, I don’t believe either one of them. Then again, it’s been almost 40 years for them too, and I don’t know if either really remembers. But what I do know about that time is, the two of them should have never gotten married.
Sure, that mean that yours truly would not exist, and even though I was told at one point that that fact would have made life easier, that doesn’t change the fact that them getting married was an epic mistake. But, shit happens, and so do babies, so here I am.
After my mom and dad got divorced my mother did what many women are applauded today (and rightfully so), but were looked down upon and scoffed at in the early 80’s – she chose to raise me all on her own, because she knew she could, and heard enough from people that she wouldn’t be able to, and I admire that.
My mother is smart; dangerously smart. She graduated high school two years early. Not because she was destined for greatness, or couldn’t wait to get to college, but because she hated school, she hated her parents, and she hated being told what to do, especially from anyone in a position of authority. Geez, I wonder where I get that from?!? So there she was, as she put it many times, “16, white, and free, I can do whatever the fuck I want”, and she did.
Racist undertones aside, my mother lived up to that motto for a very long time. I’ve seen pictures of my mom around that time. It was the early 70s, and she looked like someone out of Saturday Night Fever, or (and I shudder to think) Boogie Nights.
That all chilled out after having a kid, and for someone at 23 to completely shut down that part of their life because they had to raise a kid on their own; that’s admirable. Sure, she went out on occasion with friends, but never like you would think a 20 something would. And…she never dated. A man never came to our home the entire time I was growing up. Well, after the one guy.
My mom did date 1 guy when I was a kid. It was probably when I was around 3 or 4. She told me they were in love, and she thought he was the one she was supposed to be with, and that he loved me too. There are pictures of us being inseparable. One in particular is a picture of when my mom took me to Disneyland for the first time. I guess it was the boyfriend’s first time too. The picture is of him carrying me on his shoulders, both of us wearing Disney apparel from head to toe; Mickey ears and all. She said I never walked an inch that day, he carried me everywhere, and it was like watching two kids discover Disney magic at the same time. She said that’s the day she knew he was her soulmate, but when he proposed, she said “no”.
According to her, he enjoyed his recreational activities too much, and while she didn’t necessarily mind it, she couldn’t risk having it around her child, or in the house, for fear she would lose me. So she broke up with him and broke his heart. That was the last time she ever dated anyone.
My mother invested all her time into taking care of me and trying to have a career, with no college education. Remember how I said she was dangerously smart? Well, in the mid 80s computers started to become a thing. My mom worked for a contractor at the time called Data Graphics, which would eventually become General Dynamics. One morning she walked into her office and found this Apple computer sitting on her desk, along with a user manual and sticky note that read, “Good luck.” She literally trained herself all about DOS (old school operating system, for you young people out there). And the second she had that mastered, she arrived one day and found a new IBM computer. along with the same user manual and note.
This happened so many times in just a few years, that she mastered all of them, and was running circles around the IT department, who knew less than she did. She even taught night school for a while to people trying to learn IT.
If you didn’t know anything about my past, you would think my mom is an amazing person. And, I think she was for a while. I kind of see my childhood and my mom as the coin Two Face has in Batman. One side is clean and shiny, looking brilliant, while the other side is gross, dirty, scared and destroyed. That was my mom, and you never knew which person you would get moment to moment. Some days were filled with fun activities, or her taking me and my friends all over the place, while other days were filled with anger and rage, with sessions of being literally beaten into submission, all while being told everything that went wrong in her life was my fault.
So, if you’re still reading at this point, #1, thank you, #2, you’re probably finding it hard to see what I admire about a person like this. I don’t blame you. My mother had the chance to be a good person…a great person. She chose to raise a son, alone, when society and family were telling her it was a bad idea. She invested everything she had into me…how could you not admire a parent that does that for their kid? She sacrificed her own wants and desires for the sole reason that her child came first.
I know this, because I regularly heard it from…and felt it, in every punch and kick.
So, to bring this full circle, I admire the woman my mother was and could have been, while hating the person she became…and chose to be.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy these: