Mother’s Day: the most emotionally confusing day of the year. I try to stay off social media because it’s a reminder of what I don’t have anymore, rather, what I never had in the first place. I want so badly to celebrate my mother, on this day, for her being the best one out there. But I realized at the age of 12 that I couldn’t depend on her for emotional or physical support; I was the family’s caretaker. My mother’s chronic, severe depression fueled tumultuous adolescences: I lied, hung out with the wrong crowd, drank way too much and Lord knows other things and ran away. I dated men that I knew would piss my mom off to spite her. From the outside, I had it all: popularity, boyfriends, varsity letters, homecoming queen, & a college scholarship for volleyball. But in reality, I was an emotional wreck, fabricating stories to get attention, to feel some kind of love and validation. I was angry and hurt by my mother's illness, anxious about her moods, and I drowned my emotions in alcohol, drugs, and other things. My mother took my behavior personally and saw my headstrong independence as a profound rejection. She'd lash out harder; I'd drift further away. It was a devastating paradox.
I damned myself for not being a better daughter, for being such a self-absorbed, misbehaved teen. But mostly, I missed my mother and tried to figure out how I would live the rest of my life without her. I was so used to the chaos, how could I live without it. Eventually, I did find some relief, it came by making peace with what I could understand: me. Over many years of therapy, I've realized that I can never really know why my mother did what she did, and I've slowly started to forgive myself for any part I played. Yes, I was an unruly teen, but my behavior wasn't unpardonable nor was it the sole source of conflict in her life. My mother expected something of me that no child could deliver: to never grow up and away from her. To adore her always and unconditionally. Mostly I realized that it wasn't one event that turned her from life to death, but a lifetime of circumstances that culminated in one fateful choice. 🖤