In honor of my mothers birthday today, I’d like to explore the ups and downs of a mother-daughter relationship. Such a unique bond is special, and whether you weren’t, aren’t, were or are close with your mother, this is a story I think we can all appreciate.
My mother and I have had quite a ride together. I was always searching for attention and affection, and through my teenage years that kind of behavior turned destructive. I was not your typical teenager, with changing hormones and training bras. I was all of that, but I was also a drug addict suffering from depression.
My relationship with my mother at this time tore apart at the seams. And of course it did. I was crying out for help because of psychological disorders, but instead of accepting the help when it was offered, I ran into the arms of a drug dealer and decided to worsen the problem.
From the first sign of trouble, my mother brought me to a psychologist. I was deep into a punk rock phase at the time, rich with music and creating fashion, but I was horribly sad. I walked into the doctors office and immediately hated this woman because she couldn’t possibly understand me. She made me do this exercise where I was supposed to guess what the potted plants behind me looked like and I rolled my eyes so hard that I gave myself a headache. I told my mom I didn’t want to go back. She said OK, and we talked.
My mom always tried to talk to me. She always extended her arms. But I just wasn’t having it. I liked to isolate and I found solace in drugs. Not shortly after that first therapy session, I found cocaine. Which turned to meth. Which turned to complete and utter destruction.
I was extremely young when I found drugs. And I am not blaming my teenage self for how I acted. I was a child from 13-17 who was totally lost.
I sure as hell don’t blame my mother. She tried with all of her compassionate and motherly might to help me. But what do you do with a wild animal who is constantly getting arrested? I sure as hell don’t know.
So through all of this, as soon as she saw some light in my eyes at the beginning of my recovery, she was right there. She was also there to pick me up from jail and to bring me to court appointments, but when I came home from being kicked out with real sincerity in my eyes, I had my mother back.
She let me sleep in her bed when I went through withdrawals. She supported me in every way that she could. But even after being clean, I just kept getting into trouble.
At some point, it was time to take responsibility for myself and get my shit together. Getting older and getting through college gave me some wisdom enough to do that. But even still, as I’m sure you’ve gathered from previous posts, it was not all rosey.
I put a heavy strain on my relationship with my mother. I have accepted full responsibility for that. At the time I was convinced that it was because she didn’t love me enough and that I had terrible parents. But now, knowing about that symptom of codependency that breeds manipulation and projection, it is clear to see that she loved me more than anything. It was me who didn’t love me.
When I first left for New York, I had my shit pretty tight. I saved up 10 grand to move, I graduated college, I set up an apartment in the city. Things were looking up. That was really my new beginning, and boy has it been a journey. But what the real amazing part was how much my relationship with my mother strengthened.
As I started to find myself, little rays of self love started to shine through. Anger turned into forgiveness. Blame turned into accountability. And hate into love and appreciation. I started to call my mother every day. I started to listen to her advice. I started to hear the compassion in her words that was always there, but ignored by self sabotage.
When she came to visit me when I was still with my then-boyfriend, we had more fun together then we ever had. And when I took her to Grand Central, my favorite site in NYC, we sat under that beautiful, sea green astrological mural and had one of the most important conversations of our relationship.
She asked me if I used to hate her.
We both started crying. I mean, how could a mother think her daughter hated her. And to the best of my ability at the time, I tried to explain that I’m sure I thought I did, but who I really hated was myself. We hugged, dried our eyes, and realized that we had crossed a threshold into a real bond. We were in an adult mother-daughter relationship.
I call my mother every day. She is the single most important woman in my life. And while I still stand by the fact that we aren’t the best roommates, I would never trade that I am able to stay so close in contact with her even though I am 3,000 miles away.
Boundaries and respect are important in any relationship. And once we were able (or I was willing) to do that for us, we have become closer than ever. She is the epitome of the Empress in my eyes. Happy birthday mom, stay witchy ( *)