Thank you for stopping in at my blog today. Today’s post is a personal, raw piece. Part of my self love goals has to do with being genuine and authentic. Today’s post is about my story. My last series was a few years ago and that’s how I was going to write this one, but my words got away from me and ended up just being a really long post. But you can check my last series here – A Misunderstood Mom. Thank you for supporting my blog.
*Trigger warning – suicide, self-harm, and toxic relationship. Please take caution reading.
You know who you are,
It’s taken me years to strum up the courage to write this. And not only to write this but to not fear asking the questions. And, to be frank, I’m not even sure it’s courage or, rather, is it stupidity? Stupidity because I’m well aware you won’t ever read it. And, on the off chance, you do read it, I know that it will mean I’m even more dead to you than I already am. I know that it will mean that there isn’t any chance for a future. But I already kind of believe that now. My mind is flooded with questions. Questions that I’ve been craving answers to my whole life. Questions that haunt me in my moments of doubt. Questions that I don’t think you were supposed to put there.
As far back as I remember, I have always thought you were a God. You were a superhero in real life. So many times, you would accuse me of talking trash behind your back, but little did you know, I never would have done that. I remember crying, sobbing even. Begging you to believe me. That I didn’t say that.
It seems you couldn’t love me as I was.
And now that I’m a mother, I’m curious about why. See, I believe that my job as a mother isn’t to make them be what I think they should be but rather to create a safe environment where they can grow, learn and figure out who they are. When I was born, you decided who I should be; sadly, I didn’t live up to your expectations.
There are many things I long to ask. So many things I long to know answers about. Why was so much not allowed to be questioned? Why did you allow a picture to be painted showing that everything was perfect when it was broken and falling apart? How come you don’t remember the things that still bring me to my knees in tears because they hurt so bad? Why wasn’t I ever good enough for unconditional love and support? I think you did the best you knew, but can we take a minute to acknowledge that your mistakes impacted my life?
I remember being in grade 8 and my best friend attempted suicide. Something I knew NOTHING about. To tell you I was confused wouldn’t do justice to my complicated feelings that day. I still remember what her wrists looked like; if I were an artist, I could draw it clear as day. I remember sitting on the stool under the window in the kitchen sobbing. You told me it was a coward’s way out and that it made you weak. Why was I crying? You’d scream. Didn’t I have any morals? Why was I hanging out with people like that? Like that, hey? Then, you handed me a knife and challenged me to kill myself. You’re probably shaking your head, thinking you didn’t do that. You would never. But you did. You took the knife from the knife block on the counter and handed it to me. You don’t know how many times since that moment I wished that I was strong enough to use it that day. To show you that it’s not a joke. I went to my room afterward and started using the blade of scissors to scratch at my wrists. I was too afraid to actually cut because I didn’t know what you would do. You. I wasn’t afraid for my life. I would wipe the blood up with the journals of my middle school journal, only to have it red flagged and be sent to the school counselor because of my suicidal ideation that set in.
I fed the councilor all the correct answers because the worst thing would be for him to call you.
I sat alone at the back of the room in eighth-grade English class. I would stare forward so that the teacher knew I was listening, but I was lost in thinking about death. What did it feel like? Why was it the cowards’ way? I would write about it and then rip it out of my journal, fearing you find it. Now that I’m a mother, I wonder why so much of my childhood was rooted in fear. Why couldn’t you love me the way I was? I remember everything. And what you would always say to me when I’d try to reach out was what… “You need to get over it.”
But, I was a child and didn’t have the tools or understanding to do that. Weren’t you supposed to help me? I remember my first attempt at writing something scary in grade 5. You were so disgusted with my work that you made me read it repeatedly so you could rip it all apart. So that I would know this type of writing wasn’t accepted. But it wasn’t just writing for me. It was going on in my head. I had no outlets where I could understand what the heck was going on in my mind. I did the best I could at school constantly. Maybe you’d say, wow, I’m so proud of you. But, nothing was ever enough. Even being the top in the class, I had to be better.
In my grade 8 grade, you took me shopping for a dress. We went home with one that I adored. And then you told me how much of a self-righteous brat I was for thinking you had to buy me a dress. But, I was told a few weeks earlier that if I kept my grades up, you would buy me a dress. I was leaving school. It was a milestone for me. Why did I have to earn absolutely everything, right down to your love? Nothing about me just existing was ever enough. Nothing. During high school, did you ever think of how I felt? I wasn’t allowed to take part in any extracurriculars because someone else had to be my first priority. Someone else who was enormously younger. I felt invisible. Like my only purpose in the family was to babysit. That’s what I was needed for. That’s why I belonged.
I never got to go to a high school dance, a basketball game or try out for the play. Nothing about my high school experience mattered. And, to top that off, you made a promise to attend my graduation, and then you didn’t. I bought my dress, and make-up, paid for my hair, bought my shoes, and you couldn’t even come and pretend to be proud. I graduated with honors in a tough program. I was a good kid. I was an excellent student and worked hard despite you constantly telling me that I wasn’t doing enough.
Everything about me felt like an inconvenience to you once she was born. I would get such intense anxiety to ask for a ride to school or to be picked up when it was minus 30, and I was carrying a saxophone. I learned just to do what’s expected. I didn’t learn that you would love me no matter what. Maybe that’s what you said, but it’s not what translated into real life. It’s more; I will love you as long as you do exactly what I say.
Did you ever think about how it felt when you would yell at me about my son’s biological dad when I was pregnant? I was so abandoned, lost, and afraid. Why didn’t you ever say to me, I got you? We’re going to get through this. I’m here for you. Why couldn’t I have that? I wasn’t allowed to explore my options, and I don’t understand why you didn’t help me. I had to have the baby. Then, after the baby was born, I had to sue the father or else we couldn’t live at your house. What the heck is that? That’s not, “I love you no matter what.”
I was 21 years old with a brand new baby, no friends, no support, nothing, and now I was being manipulated into filing a lawsuit against a father I didn’t even want in the baby’s life. I didn’t get time to understand, adjust, figure it out, nothing. And as a result of that lawsuit, the father’s name was put on the birth certificate, and I could no longer make all decisions in my son’s life. Why couldn’t you just let me be? I wasn’t a bad mom, and the baby wasn’t going without by no means. I would have done everything for him and continue to do so. Why manipulate me? Why not help me make informed decisions? Why not support me? I was already in a hell of a pickle; why be the one who makes it even sourer?
I’m 32 now. I’m a mama to three. And I look at them and can’t picture myself saying the things you would say to me. I can’t imagine not being there for my daughter. I can’t imagine loving with conditions. I was raised to know that a specific post-secondary school was for fags, that if I were gay, I would be disowned, and that men who drove big trucks probably had small dicks because they must be lacking somewhere. Who says that to their kid? I tell my kids they can be anything. Isn’t that what’s so beautiful about life? You can literally do anything. They’ll always have a home with me, so they go take on the world and then come home any time. Not like you. You put my stuff outside on the front lawn the first time I moved out. I was gone from your home. Now, you could probably wander through your house and not even know I exist. Don’t you find that odd? You could only be a parent to one. Once she arrived, she was all that mattered. Or, that’s how it felt for me anyways.
Yay for her. Imagine how fun it was to watch how proud you were of her when she graduated. You bought everything. Threw a party. You celebrated. You were so proud. That’s amazing. I can’t tell you how weird it was for me to watch that and know I wasn’t worthy of that. Even though I graduated with better marks, better attendance, incredible prospects, and a bright future. It wasn’t hard for me to graduate. But, I never got that moment. Then, my wedding day finally arrives, and you are upset about wearing a suit when it’s hot the entire morning. Are you kidding me? It’s my wedding day! Aren’t you supposed to be making things easier? Rather than being excited to get married, I was apologizing for being an inconvenience. Super weird because when my kids get married, I’ll wear whatever they say, and I’m not bringing more stress and anxiety to anyone. Why didn’t you want to be a part of my life? Do you even know who I am? My guess is no. Let me introduce you.
My name is Natasha, though that one you already know. I am passionate, and now I know that doesn’t make me weak. Emotions are beautiful, real and unique, and not to be hidden behind shuttered windows and locked doors. I am a mother, but I am so much more. I am too much to be defined in a few words. Everything that was a flaw and you fought to change is the thing that is what I’m driven by. My emotions, my extremities, and the way I care about absolutely everyone. I write for a living. Not just for money but for living. I write to empty my mind and free all my anxieties. You say my mind works too fast; maybe yours works too slow. I’ve often wondered why there was a bar set for how I’m supposed to function and how fast my mind is supposed to go. Where did this silhouette of me come from, and how did you create it?
Writing is my career. The one you said wasn’t real. I’ve built myself from the ground up from nothing. I taught myself everything and did it on my own. I don’t come from a family where I could say, “my family always believed in me and knew I could do it.” I can’t say that because that’s not how it was. Writing wasn’t a real job. It wasn’t an acceptable career choice.
I’ve fought to become who I am and am proud to be her. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and the most at peace with life. I’ve worked hard to accept the hand I was dealt and learned plenty along the way to know when to fold and walk away. I’ve learned who I can call. Who is there without conditions. The conditions are what get me. I want my kids to know there aren’t conditions to my love. There aren’t rules. You do you, and I’m going always to be here forever.
I think I’m getting off track here. I’m supposed to be telling you who I am. But do you even deserve to know that? If you wanted to know who I was, wouldn’t you be in my life? Wouldn’t you call? Wouldn’t you show up? Maybe it sounds as if I’m being judgemental, but have you ever considered what it’s been like watching you be the best in the world to your youngest for me? Nothing was ever worthy. Right down to major moments in my life like graduation, getting married, and living.
I’ve learned that I am worthy through my own self-development journey. I’ve learned that I have something to offer the world and that my talents are meaningful. I’ve learned that I am more than my weight, appearance, and what here say says. In fact, I am now at a point where I don’t care about here say. I truly am living genuinely. I am being authentic. I don’t have anything to hide. I am not ashamed. I don’t have to live in shame because I am worthy and wanted and everything else.
I am a writer. I am self-made, fierce, and confident, but also compassionate, empathetic, and emotional. I learned that I can be anything and that being emotional isn’t bad. I am someone who believes in miracles. I believe in kindness and good. And I’ve learned that doesn’t make me stupid or naive. It’s these qualities that make me, me. The qualities that you despised are the ones that have been the rings in the ladder I’ve climbed to greatness.
So here’s to the ones who feel forgotten, abandoned, and frankly, just not good enough. You are so much more than good enough. You are you. You are enough. You are perfect.