I woke up this morning ruminating about my mother. My own not-being was deeply intertwined with her not-being for
a number of years and I had struggled mightily to be freed of her curse. Freed and yet perhaps there is a whisper
of bondage that remains. I had paid a steep price for the things she had done. It is my fervent hope that I am now
done with that. I cannot declare a total victory there. Broken things have an odd way of creeping up on me when
I least expect them to.
I had taken a human services management joke of a course at a community college during my tenure at Running Sores.
"What are the things that your mother taught you that will serve you well in management today?" Or some phrasing
like that. The question was one of the questions at the end of a chapter of a book for which I had paid far too
much money. Oh hell. I had to engage in the lie that is reframing. Uh, she taught me how to entertain myself.
Yeah, that's it. How to find my own answers, do research, engage in natural supports. In truth, she had taught me
none of those things. My precocious independence was a reaction to emotional neglect.
My mother worked. So did I. I did the laundry at the laundromat every week. Did the grocery shopping. All of it.
I used to ask the lady shoppers or the fruit man himself to please help me pick out the ripe pears, the veggies that
were not rotting. I learned to do that. I could not tell for myself. She set me to do the shopping but had not
provided the guidance for success at the store. Being screamed at because the damned fruit or the vegetables were
blemished was the other option.
My mother had called me "a screaming Mimi" when I was a toddler. I remember this. In truth, she was the screaming
Mimi. She screamed a lot. And when she got tired of screaming, she yelled. She cursed too-- although not as well
as I can now-- stringing together words that would instill fear in any child. "The world doesn't revolve around
you." "You make me sick." "You're a frig." Her anger was always directed outward at me. I was the unwanted child.
The daily reminder that she had loved my father once.
She never referred to my father as my dad or by his first name or anything humanizing. She called him "Frankenstein"
when she was in a sarcastic mood; He or Him when her anger was threatening to erupt. "It's Him," she would announce
when my dad was outside on a Sunday waiting to take me for the eight hours a week he had been granted. "The phone
rang this morning. He was on the phone yelling, 'What did you do to my daughter?'" She and my step-father had gone
to the penecostal church where I had sought solace, dragged me down the aisle and threw me down the steps, drove
in a drunken rage home, beat the shit out of me. She was pissed off the next morning because He had called. She
also had tried to manipulate me into apologizing to my step-father. Step-dad had been in an alcoholic blackout and
didn't remember the night before. "I will not apologize. I didn't do anything wrong," I told her in a singular
act of defiance as I rolled over in the bed away from her. She left for work then and I went downstairs to sit by
the phone. My dad called and asked me if I was alright. He begged me to come live with him. I said yes. I began
to move my stuff out over the next three days when my mother was at work. That first night [it was a Monday] my
mother had demanded my coin collection so she could "put it in the safe deposit box." I would not see them again
for almost thirty years. She did not return the proof sets my uncle had given me. Just a bag of loose foreign
coins having no value other than sentimental value to me.
Years later, at a Professional Misconduct is Okay hearing, I would be blamed for the sins of my mother. My true voice
would not, could not, be heard in that room by the three member panel of the shrink's peers who professed to care
about the misdoings of medical doctors. They dared not hear my voice. They heard only the remnants of my mother.
My mother, my albatross. No mother would possibly do the things that I was forced to describe in that room. The
shrink who had been one of my rapists got off with a warning for poor paperwork. When he died a few years later, I
was glad of it. In my fury at the non-decision of the three good volunteers for New Yak State, I went on to write
very nasty poetry and began to get published.
But my mother continues living. My step-father died in October of 2003, just before the accident that caused my
traumatic brain injury, and she didn't tell me until ten days after he was buried. I was to be denied any public
acknowledgement of mourning. The obituary denied my existence. I wasn't mentioned. I had learned. I would not
deny my voice. I found the on-line memorial and wrote in it. "I was sorry that I was not able to attend the funeral,"
I typed in brazenly, and then went on to reframe some memories of my step-dad. It is hard to attend a funeral that
I had no knowledge of. I left that part out and I write it here for the masses.
Not all things about my mother were evil or twisted. No one is completely one-sided. I would be amiss if I failed
to include this disclaimer. These things I have written are the thoughts that I had woken up with this morning.
There is much more to my mother besides her chemical addictions and her rage. Those things I will save for another
time and place, perhaps for her on-line memorial. I do not know if I will be invited to her funeral.