Monday, January 17, 2011

For My Mother

I apologize in advance Mother, for the disappointment my existence seems to have caused you.

Most of my friends are at work this morning and I'm on vacation from my Chip Chick duties, so I have no one but my own self to bounce my frustration off of. In the midst of attempting to watch Katherine Heigel and Seth Rogen try their best to pull off a romantic comedy without a lick of on-screen chemistry, I'm resorting to what writer types do best-vomit out their thoughts on paper, or in this case the digital version of it.

I suppose it's somewhat fitting that I opened up one of my social networks this morning to find a rather curt message from my mother. No, she couldn't call or text me to start a real dialogue. Not even an e-mail, but a short message about how once again my actions, words, or lack thereof have (and I quote) "pissed" her off. What was my "offense" this time, you may ask? I called one of her FB comments "holy babble." Yep, that's right. All this drama is over a FB comment that was half joke and half simple request. And she wonders why I don't automatically answer her phone calls and like to move thousands of miles away.

In a perfect world, the 411 behind this should be drama free. I post spiritual, philosophical type statuses from time to time and she feels the need to turn it around into some sort of opportunity to "preach" her Christian perspective. There's nothing wrong with being a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Pagan, or whatever it is that you choose to believe in. But that doesn't mean that you should constantly attempt to turn someone else's beliefs and statements into something that they're not, or in this case try to "re-convert" your daughter back to "the way, the truth, and the light."

No, I haven't de-friended her yet even though some have suggested that I do. It kind of goes beyond my spiritual perspective into all areas of my life. I'm too thin, and then I look like I've gained too much weight. I don't have enough of a life; enough fun. Then I'm acting like a complete fool at the bar, should be shunned, and don't know how to hold my liquor. I don't have a job in sales or one that pays enough. Then I get one and she doesn't approve because I might get raped by one of my male co-workers. I start to experiment with following my heart rather than her set of expectations and it's "what are you going to do about this and that" when I'm not even at the crossroad yet. And the strides that I am taking towards that goal aren't taken seriously and even made fun of.

Out of all people she should understand. She went against my grandfather. He wanted her to go into a profession that made a lot of money. She followed her heart and went into social work. Her sister became a nurse, her brother a doctor. She's now made the switch from running non-profit agencies to the medical side of the industry. Go figure. She's happy. Why can't she just let her own daughter do the same, without judgmental comments? Is it too much to ask?

Why can't her daughter (inability to censor herself at times aside) simply state that she respects her mother's adherence to her faith, but would appreciate it if she would cut back on turning everything into something about God, Jesus, and being "saved?" So what if it's on public stream? I have nothing to hide or a certain "image" of perfection to uphold.

The problem here Mother is that I don't understand why I'm never good enough or that you seem to dislike your own daughter so much. I don't remember asking to be here. I don't remember what I did that was so wrong other than breathing. I'm not going to be or become exactly what you want. I'm going to live my life the way that I want to, believe what I want to, become what I feel is important, speak up when I feel it's necessary, shout out my truth, and follow my heart despite the consequences.

After all, isn't that what you did when I was six years old? You married someone else, picked up and moved us across the country, and followed your dream. Despite the mortgage, the new and old bills in the mail, the family and crazy ex-husband left behind. It turned out ok didn't it? You eventually sold the house in Chicago, put yourself through two degree programs, had someone to raise your kids, reconciled with your family, and got to do the type of work you felt you were meant to do.

I can't apologize for who I am. Nor can I hide it either. It's not disrespect. It's not abandonment, disloyalty, or "losing my way."

I can only breathe if I allow myself to. And a moment or two of existence is not long enough to worry about disappointing anyone outside of your own vision. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to return to writing a profile about Jane Campion-a writer, film director, and woman after my own heart. And yes, it's for one of those "writing gigs" you don't seem to take seriously.


  1. Helen:
    Follow your heart; let your mother be. Perhaps she doesn't like what? Lucky you don't have to live the rest of your life with someone who doesn't like you!

  2. Anonymous: You are right. Thank You. Letting go of years of dysfunction, however, is easier said than done.

  3. "If it's not one thing, it's your mother."-- Author Unknown