Not everyone has a mother
Trigger Warning: mental abuse, suicide, family issues.
This isn’t a game related post. So for those of you who are here hoping for something fun, or even slightly funny, related to WoW or other game, you might want to move along. This isn’t one of those posts.
This post is deeply personal. I talk about this stuff pretty flippantly when it comes up, but I don’t delve too far into all the sordid details. What with a friend’s post about her divorce, and Allie Brosh’s (of Hyperbole and a Half) post about depression, I started really thinking a lot about things going on right now.
Not everyone knows this but I have no family nearby. It was super depressing to think about this when I needed to put an emergency contact on my “If found on the side of the road almost dead” bracelet. Who the hell should a random stranger call in case I had to be taken to the hospital?? My nearest family member lives hundreds of miles away. 7-8 hour drive minimum. I don’t have a lot of close friends because I find they only want to be friend’s with me when they need something, so I’ve stopped trying to keep track, or keep up.
But mother’s day is looming around the corner. It’s only days away and this holiday brings out a lot of frustration and emotion for me. It’s even more frustrating when I hear people say things like “everyone has a mother.” It simply isn’t true. I haven’t had a mother since I was 19 years old. I was born from someone, yes. But I haven’t had a mother in my life for so long, I’ve forgotten what it’s even like to say “My mom…” about anything.
My mother is a first generation Korean immigrant. She was a hippy when she came with my dad back to the States. She wore tube tops and had hair down to her butt. She wore big glasses. The person she was in the pictures I have of her don’t reflect the person I remember all of my life.
My mother showed up one day with a golden retriever puppy. Then a couple weeks later, after my sister and I had grown attached, left the front door open. The puppy was gone and never returned.
My mother liked to use her accent or lack of “English” as a reason for why we weren’t communicating very well, but couldn’t understand that I understood her perfectly fine. Her English was perfectly fine. There was nothing wrong with the way she communicated, just the meaning behind her words, is all.
My mother spent the majority of my childhood telling me how fat I was, how I should be ashamed of myself and strive to look like my sister, emaciated thing that she was. I remember being about 16 years old and we were sitting around the table eating dinner watching Cops of all shows. It was my mom, her boyfriend, my sister and I. And there was a larger officer running. And the words that came out of my mother’s mouth floored me. Sickened me even. She said “That fat guy should never have become a cop. Look at him, he can’t even run!” I was taken aback, but these are the comments I had been hearing for years. I just didn’t sit back and take it this time though. This time I said something.
“Y’know, you don’t know anything about that guy! Why would you judge him like that?”
“But look at him, he can’t even run!”
“It’s a tv show. He’s running just fine. So what if he’s fat. That doesn’t mean he can’t do his job.”
This generally turned into a discussion about how I should marry a rich man who would take care of me.
My mother accused me of stealing some packets of M&Ms out of the cupboard. In doing so, she decided to lecture only me in front of my sister and the two daughters of some guy she was living with this time. It was all my fault, because I was the oldest. Which meant that I had to be the one who stole the M&Ms out of the closet. She decided to slap me, across the face, in front of everyone, because I refused to admit that I had stolen the stupid candy. I was 17 and slapped her back. The conversation quickly became something else entirely. It was about respect and how dare I slap her! And “I can’t believe you just slapped me!” It was the last time my mother laid a hand on me.
I lost track of the number of times my mother told me how ugly I looked when I was angry. I lost track of the number of times she told me she would kill me if she could. I lost track of the number of time she told me what a horrible daughter I was because I didn’t listen to her and do what she said.
I distinctly remember getting into an elevator one days and she made this off-handed comment “Oh look, two fatties just got on!” and since we were the only two, I knew she meant the two of us. My mom was never fat, and looking back, I wasn’t either. I am now, but I wasn’t then.
In high school I planned how I would kill myself. Where I would do it. Everything. I had the letters written. The one I would leave at home on my dresser for my dad and the one I would have in my pocket for everyone else. I remember how shitty I felt. How I never felt comfortable being me. I wore clothes big enough for an adult man, to hide myself in them. No one can see how fat you are if you’re drowning in your clothes, right? I wore a jacket all year long so that I could hide my boobs. Because my mom made me feel great shame for having them. Poking them and laughing when telling me how big they were. Calling them everything other than what they were… boobs. Once I turned 18, I went to live with her in Los Angeles. I thought it would be better than the small town I grew up in. I remember telling her about how I was once suicidal. I told her that it was because of how she made me feel about myself. How ugly she made me feel because I wasn’t tiny and skinny.
She told me, “That had nothing to do with me. It just mean you’re weak.”
I came home one day to the front door kicked in and several police officers standing in my living room. My mother apparently had tried to kill herself because her boyfriend had decided to leave her. She swallowed a bunch of Tylenol with codeine, called him and told him what she was doing. He called the cops. They rushed her to the hospital. She managed to convince the social worker assigned to her, that she was safe to go home… but they needed someone to watch her. I was 19 years old and in college. I had a boyfriend and things to do! I didn’t have the mental capacity to keep track of my mother at this point.
Two weeks later I came home to a strange man living in our house. I figured it was just a new boyfriend, but I’d never met him before. I had no idea who he was. But I wanted to light a candle in the house, so I went digging in her room for some matches or a lighter. I knew she sometimes smoked and would have these things. Instead I found a package of wedding photos. She had run off to Las Vegas and married this guy, this stranger. After another couple of weeks the guy was gone. She told me that he wasn’t living up to his end of the deal, and that was for him to help put me though school. I stared at her, drop-jawed, because why would I accept something like that from a guy I didn’t know!
My mother stole my car from me while I was at work, leaving me stranded. At this point I had moved out and was living with a boyfriend. The car was in her name, but I was making the payments on it. She showed up at my office building, went to the parking garage, and took the car, leaving me stranded there. It was a mess. And a nightmare. And the last time I spoke to my mom. She called me, months later, and left a voice mail on my work number saying she wanted me to call her but didn’t leave a number.
That was the last time I heard from my mother. She’s no where to be found now. My dad has tried looking for her. My sister blames me for my mother going off the grid. No one knows what happened to her. But I made a decision to not talk to her again. The fat comments were daily for the majority of my life. The “you look like the devil” comments came any time I tried to stand up to her for the way she treated me or other people.
So forgive me if I don’t want to celebrate Mother’s day in some trite, commercialized way. I don’t have a mother. I have a woman who gave birth to me, but a mother, the mother I would be if I wanted kids, is not the woman she was to me.
So forgive me if I don’t partake in celebrating mom’s on Sunday. I still have a few open wounds my mom left that refuse to heal.