This is the first in a series of posts in which I will explore the relationships I have with members of my family. These posts are written from the point of view of a very flawed individual who does not know the whole story.
Please keep that in mind when reading this.
When I think of my mother, I think of a powerful woman who has been placed into tragic circumstances by life.
It has been told to me in so many words that my coming into the world was not exactly planned. While it has never been EXACTLY said in that way, several years ago I had a candid, open conversation with my mother, she told me "When I saw Alex [the name of the man listed on my birth certificate as my 'father'] and told him I was pregnant, he said "Well, it's not mine."
From my mother I get my resilience. Thinking back, I can recall from an early age, that my mother never had it easy. Growing up, we lived in various places, with various friends and family members - aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. Rarely did we ever have our own place to call our own. When we did, it was just for a short time.
Perhaps my mother had boyfriends. I know of two. I can only remember one - the man who eventually became her husband, then her ex-husband and father to my two siblings. I will explore my relationship with him in a later post.
In childhood and more so as a teenager, I was, if anything, difficult. There were educational issues, psychological issues, sibling issues, legal issues, etc. My mother tried valiantly, for years, with every fiber of her being and then some, to keep together a family that was tearing itself apart at the seams. Top off this shit sandwich of a life with an alcoholic husband and what to you get? I will tell you what you get: a bigger shit sandwich.
During this volatile time, I would frequently reside with my grandparents. I would, in my own weirdness, play my grandparents against my mother, telling them she "emotionally abused" me or was "playing favorites." Much of the time, this was successful. The grandparents would drop everything and drive to our house and "rescue" me from this terrible woman, this awful person, who I thought was favoring my younger siblings over me. When the grandparents would come retrieve me, they would have yelling matches with my mother,a accusing her of being a horrible parent and other various things. After a few days of living at the grandparents house, I would return home and we would repeat the cycle This happened ad infinitum.
At the age of 15, I told my mother and a family counselor of my sexuality. This was at best unwelcome and at worst the catalyst for a severe beating from my father, who was a virulent homophobe and did not want "that shit under MY roof!" The result of me coming out to my parents was that two weeks later I was placed into a group home by father.
For years, I blamed my mother for abandoning me, for banishing me, for sending me into the wilderness. I would accuse her of selling me down river, of favoring my sister and brother over me. I would, as I described above, drag my grandparents into this.
Only recently, thanks to the twin gifts of time and perspective, have I been able to see this from a perspective other than my own, from a vantage point that is not mine. While I have not confirmed any of these thoughts on these events of years ago, simply acknowledging that I was not the only one involved in these torturous events is a quantum leap for me.
Imagine: you have three children and a husband - a family. This family is being torn asunder from forces within and without. You have a choice. You can remove one source, a major source of disruption, one of these children and possibly save your family.
But it's not a sure thing.
Sacrifice one child for the sake of the rest of the family.
What would you do?
For the better part of two decades I blamed my mother for abandoning me, for starting me down the path of sorrow and jail and addiction and homelessness and violence and mental illness that has been my life for the past two decades.
This blame and anger have poisoned my soul, stunted my growth and chained me to the past.
This blame and anger has been the source of delusions, of anxiety and my hate for myself.
It destroyed the relationship with the man who was the love of my life , the man who gave me five years of his life and unconditionally loved me.
It has also protected me and in some ways comforted me. "You are RIGHT to feel this way!" I would tell myself.
All this it has been and now it must be no more. It has served its purpose.
God please guide me and keep me in this time and place.
Be well, do good work and keep in touch.