The one thing I can say about not being all consumed by work for 80 percent of my life is I have way too much time to be contemplative. My mind is a dangerous place. I tend to get myself all worked up over (mostly) nothing and spend a lot of time picking fights and crying in the bath, super attractive as I am sure you imagine. The thing is though, sometimes, when I am left alone with my thoughts I am left with no other option than to deal with the accumulation of stuff I have been sweeping under some rug in the far recesses of my already over-crowded brain.
The most obvious thing, the thing I spend the most time pretending no to care about, my mother. She received a save the date for our wedding and has told my sister unequivocally she will not attend unless I apologise. I cried, big ugly tears when my sister told me, mostly because she was not even the slightest bit sensitive when delivering the news. I was delusional enough to believe she could actually put the bullshit aside for one day and just be happy for me. Rookie mistake I guess. Right now I am holding my chin up high and pretending it doesn’t bother me. I cant apologise. That would mean apologizing for my children’s existence. I’m not sorry they are here and I never will be. Should I be sorry for the way we left? Maybe. It was all I could do to avoid the next big fight. The only way to not be dragged through another round of being insulted and threatened.
I can’t in all fairness say she was a bad mother, my siblings seem fond of her. Maybe she was a good mother to them. I know my experience is my own. She has seen so much bad in her life, abuse of all sorts and a very toxic relationship with her own mother. I understand the impact that can have on your adult life. What I don’t, and never will, understand is her inability to recognize her perpetuating the cycle. She is doing to me (us) just what her mother did to her to destroy her self esteem. While I was sweating myself into a frenzy at gym this morning, alone with my thoughts, it occurred to me that my mother has never called me pretty. I can remember at the age of ten or so, I was sitting in the car with her, looking at my reflection in the side mirror. I asked her if she thought I was pretty, she gave me a sideways look and casually said I am pretty average, not worth looking at twice, not like Natasha, my sister. In my juvenile mind I accepted it as fact. I still refer to myself as the funny sister. The one who had to develop a sense of humour to get by because my sisters were both so pretty. I am incapable of accepting a compliment relating to my looks. If anyone tells me I am pretty I go to the fail safe answer, ‘You wouldn’t say that if you saw me without make-up on’.
Something I have never openly discussed is the fact that I battle with my weight. Not in a thin girl looking for attention way either. Right now as I type this I am more than 40kg overweight. Just seeing the words makes me nauseous. I have a problem with food, always have had. I was so conditioned to believe I did not deserve anything good that I just keep all the extra layers on for protection. From what I am not entirely sure. Its an easy go to honestly. That boy didn’t like me because I’m fat. I didn’t get the job because I am fat. I can’t do it because I’m fat. My sister once told me having had two babies was no reason to be overweight. I wonder if it ever occurred to her that there was more to it than that?
My mother was not around a whole hell of a lot after my dad died. She only slept at home on Monday nights, every other night she was with her boyfriend. My sister and I pretty much did what we wanted. My mother would go away from Thursday to Sunday, no groceries in the house and leave us with fifty rand to feed ourselves. Today I can still make a meal out of next to nothing. I often felt like we were just too much for her maybe. I asked her once to please buy me tampons, she said she didn’t have money, she was smoking at the time. I was told to make another plan. Then something I have never said in the light of day except to D, when I was fifteen I went out with a friend, we ended up staying at the flat of one of her friends. He raped me that night. It is without doubt the scariest thing that ever happened to me. That is the story of how I lost my virginity and the reason the smell of potency makes me sick. I never told a soul. I knew my mother would blame me and I’d be accused of getting myself into the situation.
I then started dating a guy ten years older than me. She never told me it was inappropriate. She just left me to drink, take drugs, have sex and neglect my own health and safety. She once told me she was done raising kids as she has been doing it for 23 years.
Getting pregnant saved my life. I will NEVER apologise for my beautiful boy and everything he has taught me and brought to my life.
To be fair, I am not trying to make her a monster, I don’t think she realizes the damage she has done because There she is so consumed by the wrong that has been done to her. While I always have, this time, I will not apologise. I chose better for my children and for myself. I am not sorry. I am only sorry that she is so weighed down with hatred and anger that she will miss one of the most important moments of my life.
Leading on from this, the not being pretty or thin or worthy of anything good. I have decided I am going to reclaim my mind. I am worth good things, I deserve love and happiness and health. I am working really hard on my mindset to break the cycle of negative thinking and making better health choices to lose the weight. I am reminding myself to take chances because I am worth it and I am loving those people I push away when I start to feel sorry for myself.
There is so much going on right now. D was retrenched again and this means I may have to find a job, not the end of the world mind you but quite daunting since I haven’t had a job interview in four years. I have no doubt we’ll recover from this, its what we do.
The wedding is still full steam ahead, see that? I am not giving up because we deserve this day. We deserve to have something to look forward to.
There is so much more, maybe I should have said less. This is a process for me, clearing my mind and there may be a few more spewings before I consider it done.
For now I only wish everyone the good sense to love themselves and the strength to fight for your own happiness. It matters. A lot.