Friday, March 19, 2010

"I Resent You"

It was Mother's Day and I had saved up to buy my mom a 1/16th sheet cake with frosting roses on top. I didn't know at the time my mom didn't like cake. Walking up the concrete exterior steps to our apartment, I tripped while coming through the fire door. Splat! The cake was ruined, squashed and malformed, and I started crying and groveling at my mom's feet, freaked out.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," I cried to my mother with wild eyes full of fear. She looked down at me with disgust in her own eyes.

"Get up," she said. "Don't DO that!" I guess "that" must have meant my sobbing. I've always had a great deal of distress when confronted with broken or ruined things, and holidays have always been occasions of huge social pressure and disappointment. My behavior obviously disturbed her. She opened the apartment door and went inside, closing it behind her. I scraped up the blobs of icing from the concrete landing with my hands, and shoved it back into the smashed box.

My emotions have always scared my mom. She simply could not handle me crying, or having PMS, or being anxious. I felt like it was my job to not have any feelings, and from around the age of 12, when I smashed that cake till after she kicked me and my two year old out of her home for the crime of me having PTSD and telling her I had an eating disorder at 25, I failed at it miserably.

When I was 24, my mom finally began to go to counseling, something she had undoubtedly needed since she was a small girl. One day after about six months of this she came home with a new breakthrough.

"I resent you," she told me, sounding surprised by this information. I was flabbergasted. I said something clever along the lines of "D'uh." How had she not known this all along? It had been obvious to me for years.

Contempt is a hard thing to keep under wraps, and she hadn't done nearly as good a job of hiding this from me as she apparently did hiding it from herself.