when thoughts don’t stop

Reconnecting with my godmother has given me a lot to think about in the past few weeks. The information she has about my early childhood explains a lot. We spent time drinking beer around a bonfire last night with some really cool folks and those snippets of information that leaked out were incredibly revealing.

At some point, she told me that I spent 50-75% of my first year with her, not my mother. This explains a lot, actually. See, I’ve never thought of my mother as a mother in the traditional sense. She was like this other kid in our family, but the one with all the power – the older sister who’s really good at being a bad influence. I always felt like it was my job to take care of her. The reason it makes so much sense now is that I really didn’t have that opportunity to bond with her the way infants are supposed to.

The other thing that I’ve always known but had confirmed was that I was born of my mother’s selfishness. She needed someone to love her unconditionally, and then she got pregnant. There I was – the source of unconditional love. But even I couldn’t fulfill that for her. No one can. She has to love herself first, and that’s the piece she’s always been missing. She can’t love herself. Part of that is from her relationship with her own mother and part of it is because she doesn’t understand that she has good qualities. At least, I think she does – maybe. These days, I’m not really sure. She’s still the most selfish person I know. Everything that happens is about her and she dramatizes it for television. The retelling, of course, always revolves around her downward spiral of emotional scarring. If I could trace them backward, I’d bet they started too early in her childhood for her to even remember what caused them. She has been hurt, there’s no question about that, but she continues to put herself into situations where she keeps getting hurt. She recreates situations so she gets hurt, much like she creates drama to get attention. I’m not sure she knows how to stop the circle. Mental illness probably doesn’t help much, but she doesn’t want help.

So, the idea that I’ve been toying with for a long time now has come to the forefront of my mind again. I want to cut her off, I think. That means cutting off my entire family, really, and I’m slowly becoming okay with that. I have nothing in common with them, truly. I decided after last year’s holiday drama that I wouldn’t be attending any family functions this year. I’m sticking to that. There are reasons for this, of course. I have nothing in common with anyone in my family, so I go to these “family dinners” and feel like a complete outsider. We make small talk and my cousin looks at me like she’s scared of queers being in the same room with her children, and then we leave. I spent a long time trying to impress these people, and a lot of time trying to distance myself from my mother’s legacy, but no one at these functions will ever see me as anything but my mother’s child. I could be perfect in every way to them and it wouldn’t change things.

I’ll also never fulfill the vision my mother had of me as a child. I say I love my mom because she’s my mom, but that’s just forced crap. Society tells us we’re supposed to love our parents, but we don’t have to, do we? What if we don’t? Does this make us evil? Does it make us satan’s spawn? Probably to anyone looking in on my situation from outside, this is exactly what it looks like. But I don’t have to do anything, right? I guess this is what I”m realizing now. I don’t have to love my mom and I don’t. Strangely, it hurts to write that here, but I needed to say it. It makes me feel bad, but it’s only the guilt of not fulfilling the traditional role of a daughter. That, I can overcome.

Part of the reason I want to cut my mother off is that I want to be a mother. And, having thought long and hard about the consequences of this, I’ve decided that I don’t want my mother to have a relationship with my child. She’s a dangerous influence in so many ways. She’s good at being a bad influence, but she’s also good at being detrimental to someone’s development. The thing I know most about her is that she would never respect the parenting decisions Lin and I make in the future. She would never respect me as a parent in my own right and that is where the problem comes in. If she could be a bad influence on my terms, it would be okay, I suppose. But, there’s no way she can do this. So, now I’m stuck with making this difficult decision and worrying about the fact that I’m not feeling very bad about it. Why don’t I?

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