I've never really spoke about the relationship between my mother and I. Mainly because mother daughter relationships are entirely too complicated. Our relationship is thusly, compounded with I (and many others) believe is a chemical imbalance.
When I think of my childhood before the age of 11. I remember so many momments of not smiling. Of not being happy. Of being alone. Of being scared. Of being hungry.
I mean, I had my share of good things...but the majority of my young life was ROUGH.
Not rough in a my-mothers-on-drugs-no-job-living-with-20-family-members-in-one-house-on-food-stamps (well for about 6 months)-type ROUGH. (Vh1 says that because I didn't have these type of issues it wasn't "rough")but ROUGH indeed.
Rough like a stepfather that hit us (my mother and I),
rough like my mother dragging me across the country while she chased after so called love, rough like being left home alone because she had to work,
rough like not having livingroom furniture,
rough like knowing things that I'm not supposed to tell,
rough like living in a woman's shelter for a month,
rough like living with my mother's co-workers for another month,
rough like never going to an elementary school for an entire year,
rough like being sent off to family members for weeks at a time,
rough like wondering when she'll come get me.
rough like wonder why my love wasn't enough to make her stay in one place
rough like having so many step dad's
rough like not having anyone to follow
rough like never feeling safe,
When I turned 11, we moved back to Cali, she met Larry and the "french roll" hair style became a big deal and for me LIFE CHANGED.
She could french roll better than anyone and so...her customer base grew, $1000 a week, we moved into a house, she brought a car. LIFE CHANGED. With Larry her spirit changed. She became someone new. Her light began to shine.
It's like she realized that I was there. She saw me. For so long she treated me like I didn't exist. And suddenly when I turned 11 I did. I became a real person to her. She began to talk to me, not at me. LIFE CHANGED.
What I've learned is that I don't have to be like her.
My daughter will remember a mother that played with her on the beach and read scary stories under her blanket with a flashlight, got her toes done together, ate ice cream and walked the mall, let her "swim" in the tub, let her play in the rain, let her decorate the tree any way she wanted (until company came), watched cartoons with her, talked to her about boys. a mother that look her in the face when she talks to her, a mother who held her hand and hugged her and kissed her everyday.
I've learned to not compare myself to her. I've learned that I am Jane, not Jane's mother's daughter. I have my own destiny and purpose and I do not have to be a product.
"I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me."