Your mother sent you an e-card for Christmas. Did you get it?
Who would think that simple sentence would wreak havoc in a woman’s mind, heart, and body? It shouldn’t, right? It should be a mere kindness to all; perhaps even a compromised expectation to most… It’s not dangerous. It’s not a threat. It’s a simple thoughtful gesture! What could possibly be wrong with that? I don’t know. I don’t want anything to be wrong with it! In fact, the moment my father said those words, I actually felt excited for a minute. Really?? My mother thought of me this year? Enough to take the time to create and send an e-card? And no one will ever know(much less understand) how much it would mean to me to this day, to think, believe, even hope, that my mother actually has some genuine feeling in her heart for me…something other than disgust, disappointment, resentment, and negativity. Could it be possible? I just don’t know. The literal moment I allowed that flash of hopeful thoughts to flood through my mind, my instant reaction was “NO! STOP IT! You know better, you hopeless, foolish girl you!” But at the least I wanted to acknowledge the safety of it. No harm can be done by this, right? It’s just a simple, thoughtful positive.
Yet, from that moment on, I’ve been drowning in mental chaos…
My thoughts flash from memory to memory so quickly it’s physically exhausting and mentally straining. It has created this dull throb in my temples and behind my eyes. Thoughts of ugly words being hurled at a little girl, innocent and full of hopes and dreams. Thoughts of bad choices that little girl made as she grew up desperate for love, affection, and positive attention. Desperate little girls with dead dreams and remnants of youthful faith peeling off her heart like the paint off an ancient farmhouse abandoned and forgotten. She once had so much faith, nothing could shake it off her, but by the age of 12, she left crusty old fragments of paint chips all over wherever she went and she frantically and perpetually tried to pick every last piece of evidence up before anyone saw the Hansel & Gretel like trail she inadvertently left all over.
But that was so long ago and her world is entirely different now. She has two daughters of her own and her only desperation is to be the best mother ever – to send out perpetually warming rays of love to every individual, creature, or plant that crosses her path. To love so purely and unconditionally that maybe before she’s gone, she’ll have finally earned the right to be loved herself…for herself, flaws, mistakes, tarnish and all.
Anyway, why this simple act would raise a million other well buried memories back from the depths is confounding.
Her mother didn’t rape her at gunpoint in a baseball field behind her apartment. Her mother didn’t use her for sex for five years, sucking every last tiny fragment of esteem and value she had worked so hard to build up since leaving home at 16. Her mother didn’t force her to have abortions or make her go to parties to be gang raped like the house blow up doll. Her mother didn’t shove beer bottles up her vagina and laugh as she screamed. Her mother did NOT do those things to her…nothing so terrifying as the rest of the world did once she thought she’d “escaped” the abuse and hatred.
So why does the Christmas e-card bring ALL these nostalgic nightmares right back to the surface? After all, her mother was nowhere near as cruel to her as the world was going to be. She should be thankful that her first 16 years were not as rough as the following 16. In fact, in comparison, life with Mother was a safe haven of sorts. She should be grateful and happy that it wasn’t worse always.
Grace is just an ungrateful bitch.