For much of my life, I could make friends just not keep them. Something would come up and rather than assert my needs or voice them, I’d feel taken advantage of, and further helped in the process offering myself up to be used over and over again. And why not? I was taught that even my body was not mine. And, to love those attacking it… be quiet, be ‘nice.’
It’s not even what siblings did that stole my voice. My mother’s fear of those outside the family knowing the sordid details of what her sons scourged onto her daughter, swept all voice away permanently; a voice that rises in written word only. Details too horrific for her to ever hear throughout her 91 years.
If a mother really listened, held her child as she relayed details, the horror abates in the sharing. The child, even the adult child, feels held.
How many mothers hold their child as she spews out muck, scrapes her tiny soul, and relieves the pain by sharing? This mother had many chances, because the tiny soul came with me through my 30’, 40’s and 50’s. I needed her to know the truth of what her son’s did.
She never did take my details and hold them for me, to then finally disperse those killing evils into the universe so we could both be safe from them. I protected her from it because that is what she expected me to do— because her life was so tough. Because hearing my horror was too hard for her. My mother, for all how I loved her, was a coward.
At times the birthright to speak out against injustices, insults, or attacks against me travels from gut out of mouth exactly at the moment my spirit rises up like a wildly rearing horse, “No!” But mostly it speaks much later through actions, over the phone or in a letter. Directly relating my own feelings that may differ from yours is too threatening and overwhelming. I will be abandoned.
This was to be about relationships, and how miraculous it is that after making friends and losing them, I have managed to maintain a group of women friends for the past 10-15 years. This is not by chance, but by my determination to have those that I can rely on and who can conversely rely on me. The second part seems most important. How can I be a friend? And in striving to reach that goal, friends come and stay.
But did I veer from topic? My relationship with my mother is so closely entwined with every relationship further in life. She set the tone and is the example. I can change the grooves in the record. I can have and maintain deeper relationships than the one we had, or the ones she had with her own friends. And I have. I lack her charming smile that draws others like a bee to honey, her spark for fun. But I have a quieter charm. If you dig past the seriousness, a sweeter balm blossoms in the safety beyond the garden gates.