I can’t remember any time in my life where I wasn’t struggling. The childhood I walked through felt like a chaotic anxiety realm repeating everyday with different burdens and noises. Full of random fists and chaotic yelling of sorts. I can only recall a handful of memories from my entire childhood up to the age of 15 because of how intense it was, but I do know I was struggling then.
One of my memories is from 2nd grade. I wanted attention so badly. There was a substitute teacher for Ms. Cochrans class. She was a mean teacher, Ms. Cochran. I remember the substitute was nice and I so badly wanted her attention because nice isn’t something I was familiar with and I desperately wanted it.
“Look what I can do!”
I pulled out a huge chunk of my hair in front of her. Instead of recieving the praise or satisfaction to my surprise she was alarmed and told me to not do that to myself. I didn’t understand. Any attention was good attention. I craved it. I never got any from my parents except when they were yelling at me, each other or my siblings. Bad attention is actually bad attention, I found out.
Another one is from Kindergarten. Ms Kinkart. She was the absolute most amazing teacher. She was so sweet and kind to me. She hugged once as well which made me fond of her. One day I was on the playground riding those little short bikes that have one huge wheel in the front and two small wheels in the back. I got upset at someone I was playing with for some reason. They said I couldn’t sing the Power Rangers song and that I wasn’t pretty enough to be the Pink Ranger. So I took this hair clip I found and started to scratch the glass window of the classroom I was in and made a huge mark on it. Ms. Kinkart came out and showed concern which I felt such shame and guilt about. I remember walking into the bathroom that have those tiny short toilets and just feeling so angry. So unheard.
My daughter is turning 5 in November. I can’t picture her being so angry and unheard at such a young age. My daughter has no issue telling me what is on her mind.
That wasn’t the cup I wanted, Mom.
I want you to cuddle me, Mom.
I don’t want to take a bath, Mom.
I’m feeling very frustrated at you, Mom.
I love you so much, Mommy.
It’s amazing to me, that amongst no training what-so-ever. I have somehow developed a wonderful relationship with this little human that blessed me with her presence at random. She communicates to me and I hear her. I have worked my entire life around the fact that I am her mother and she is being trained to be function in the world. My duty is to raise her. Bring stability. Bring love and patience and understanding. Let her wear the clothes she wants. Allow her the fierce female voice she has. Teach her how to use it.
Today we were driving back from school. I had just picked her up. I gave her a snack because I always keep extra snacks in the car cause she is a child that is always hungry.
I don’t want to go to school everyday, Mom.
Why? You don’t like school?
I do, but I miss you too much when I’m there.
Well, I’m sorry babe. You have to go to school everyday for a long time.
Until you’re 18, but after that you have to go to College.
College?! But I don’t want to get married!
You don’t have to get married. You have to go to school right now because school is teaching you everything you need to know about how to live in this world. You will learn how to read and write. You’ll learn math and history and science. And along the way you’ll start seeing what you like to do and what you don’t. And then one day you’ll realize you really like doing one thing the most out of all of them and then you can go to school for that an get paid to do that. And you can buy all the toys you want.
My mom never explained life to me. My dad didn’t do anything. My siblings were struggling to survive just as I was so they just added to the chaos and unstructured lifestyle we were living.The fact that I had the childhood I did, gives me a new angle of appreciation for my childhood that I didn’t understand before. She gets to have the mom I wanted.
I always let Fiona have dessert before dinner if she asks. You know why? It doesn’t ruin her appetite. How do I know this? Because She will eat her dessert and still be hungry. I know literally everything about this human being. I know what makes her upset, happy and confused. I can tell from her facial expressions if something happened and she needs to talk about it. I can tell when she is feeling shy and needs me to be her voice. I love her more fiercely than I can even express in dialog.
So here I am.
29 1/2 years old.
I have multiple jobs, I work frequently, close to 80% custody of my child and I’m fucking tired. I’m struggling, but in a new way. I’m struggling in the ways of liberation. I feel a deep liberation in my struggles. I am fearless when it comes to wanting therapy for my diseased childhood I’ve lived through. I’m doing the fucking work. I was so chained to being a victim of my childhood for such a long time. I felt such anger towards the pack of cards I was dealt and having to deal with them now and un chaining them in their entirety. And I know that’s ok. It’s ok to struggle. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to make mistakes and own up to them. I also know that it’s ok to not know.
Lately my mantra has been
I don’t know
It’s such a freedom for me to not know. Coming from where I have it was such a challenge for me to know. I felt justified to know. I felt owed to know. If I didn’t know, then I was so fucked.
Now, I don’t want to know. I just want to be. Which is here. In my bed. With my daughter asleep next to me.