Obey Your Mother

29 09 2009

I spent the weekend in El Paso, my hometown and went to my ten year high school reunion. I can honestly say that no one has changed. I read somewhere that when you go to your ten year reunion no one looks different, just swollen. It was kinda true, although there were too many people that still had cute high-schooler bodies for my liking! But I digress. It was really great to see so many people, lots of pregnant wives and young mothers, I guess we’re at that age.

I of course talked too much about nothing in particular, out of nervousness and tried to summarize my life’s pursuits in two sentences or less. Realtor-married 5 years, No kids, Just Dogs (insert joke). How are you??? No one asked, surprisingly if I graduated college. Which I was kinda glad about. It’s a big sore spot with me. Just because I was one of the “smart kids” in school and it’s embarrassing to see people who were distinctly AVERAGE with advanced degrees because they went the slow n’ steady route and I went the crash and burn route. All or NUTHIN. I’m not jealous, I’m really very happy for alot of them, it just makes you take a good long hard look at your life and what the hell you have been doing for 10 years.

I have concluded that my not finishing school was a big screw you to my parents, especially my mother.

It really is a huge regret of mine, something I wish I hadn’t done, something I wish I could go back and change, something that makes me madder than hell at myself. And also something I will never admit to my mother. I realize that I am constantly trying to get her approval, but not by doing exactly what she wants, which is kinda how my sister operated. But by doing the exact opposite. Challenging her to love me anyway. To prove that she still loves me despite my shortcomings. And she never meets the challenge, but I continue to test her,  just in case.

My mother is someone who withholds affection if you are not doing exactly what she wants you to do. It’s funny, because if one of her children does something wrong, she ignores all of us. EVERYONE is in the doghouse, it’s like just having children disappoints her. My little sister just doesn’t tell my mom if she is doing something that my mom doesn’t agree with. Me, I roll around in her disapproval. I seek it out, it’s masochistic and stupid and I can’t understand why I have this need to put me in a situation where I am just going to be shot down and unloved.

For my fifth wedding anniversary I got my first tattoo ever, a dove (the holy spirit) with a scroll beneath bearing my husband’s name in amharic characters. Mind you, I am twenty eight years old, living on my own and my mother is 700 miles away and it was a tattoo I had been thinking about for YEARS. I think it’s beautiful, it looks great and it really stands for something I believe in and will continue to believe in. Of course, while I am getting stung a hundred million times a second by a humongous needle, all I can think of is how pissed off my mother is going to be. I hear her voice in my head, “Only trashy girls get tattoos. What will your children think of you? This is going to kill your grandparents. Your grandpa might have a heart attack and die when he finds out.”

I do it anyway. This is ok, I believe this is a healthy response. What am I going to do, let my mother control my life from west Texas? Here is the abnormal part, right afterward, while the ink is still wet, I call her up and tell her. My sister told me not to, my husband told me not to, my better judgement told me not to. But I called her up anyway and it went something like this.

Me: “Mom I just wanted to let you know before you found out from anyone else, I got a tattoo.” Silence. “Hello? Are you there?”

Mom: “I’m here I just can’t believe it. Why on earth would you do that to your body?”

Me: “It’s been something I’ve wanted for a really long time.”

Mom: “That’s so stupid. You do these things just to get back at me. You need to stop ruining your life just to get back at me, I told you I was sorry.”

Me: “I don’t know why I tell you these things. I’ve gotta go. Bye. ”

Mom: “I thought you were over that phase in your life. I thought you were more mature than that.”

Me: Ashamed. Beat down. Depressed. Serious case of tattoo remorse. Hating myself. Wondering why the hell I called her in the first place. Worst part is knowing that even if I want to call her in the next week, she’s so mad she won’t take any of my phone calls. The most ironic thing is, she thinks she has changed. She doesn’t see it as withholding love. In her mind if you want love, you won’t do anything that pisses your mother off, if you do do something, then you clearly don’t care what your mother thinks anyway so why do you need love?

I guess that is why it is so hard for me to believe that anyone can love me if I do something they disagree with and I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop when it looks like I’m being loved unconditionally.  Because surely, I cannot keep up this facade, this perfection, eventually they will find something that they don’t like about me, or disagree with me, and everything will be over. So I leave first. I leave jobs and friends, and relationships and family. The minute they start to get too close, I’m gone, so they can’t reject me. It’s a very frustrating and lonely way to live. That is why I really really like going to these meetings. I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend. I can be myself, and they understand, without me even saying a word. And nobody gives a damn if I’m covered head to toe in God-awful tattoos.

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One response

8 11 2009
Mary (MPJ)

I’m in my 40s and my parents don’t know I have a tattoo. I love it, but don’t want to deal with the judgment, so I’ve never told/showed them, which leads my friends to say, “Um, you’re over 40, get over it.” Different kind of judgment, but one I can deal with! 😉

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