My Mom’s Daughter

My mom was a person before she met me. She lived in Paris and consumed nothing but Orangina, cigarettes, and Tracy Chapman songs for six months straight. She moved back to New York and befriended the prostitutes on her street corner on her way home from picking up Chinese food. My mom hustled to make a life for herself. My mom used to hate cats but then she fell in love with my dad and his cats fell in love with her and now I spend my days daydreaming about adopting a kitten.

A picture of my mom a few months before she became a mom.

My mom writes poetry. She thinks a lot. She also smiles a lot and she sings off key along to CDs that she blasts in the car. My mom makes cards by hand and always wrote notes in my lunch bag. My mom takes photos of the people she loves.

A picture of my mom showing me how to see the world.

When my mom had the sex talk with me, she taught me about orgasms before she even mentioned the words penis or hymen or blood. She wanted me to know this world is filled with so much more pleasure than pain. My mom taught me about the power of connections between women.

A picture of my mom and me posing outside the gynecologist’s office.

Every day at my mom’s job, other people’s children flock to her because she knows how hold them close. My mom gives the best advice; she gets it. My mom would file and paint my nails the night before each first day of grade school, and in high school I would do my math homework while we watched Oprah together. She’s my first and most critical editor, even when I don’t want to hear it. My mom answers every text, and she loves a good heart emoji.

A picture of my mom moving me out to Chicago.

When I was little, my mom and I would jump and dance and scream to “get our jigglies out.” My mom taught me not to be afraid of my feelings. My mom is a perfectionist, but also my mom has bones that break and blood that bruises. She’s taught me that sensitive and strong are not antonyms. My mom is human.

A picture of my mom being human, a few Mother’s Days back.

I am so grateful I’m my mom’s daughter.

This originally appeared in Pop Warrior, Issue №20 on May 11, 2017.

Pop Warrior is Sarah Halle Corey’s newsletter all about taking an active, mindful, feelings-filled approach to feminism, pop culture and everything in between. Subscribe here.

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