My Mother’s Daughter

When do you start becoming yourself?

The tides of fate and time keep pulling me into separate directions, and I’m struggling desperately to be who I want to be, and be who I should be. There are so many things I want to say and do that keep getting swept under the rug, and the truth is that I’ll never get round to it, and time slips by me leaving me with a bitter pool of regret; the temporary fills me with a desperate yearning for permanence: to be permanently nineteen, twenty or twenty-one… Even to just go back to being eighteen and in love with Dennis again.

When do we stop yearning for what is easy and start striving for what is difficult? Studies have shown that intelligent girls are more likely to throw in the towel on things they believe they are innately incapable of doing. Maybe this is the story I’m telling myself: the hypothesis that I should be a certain way. Maybe it really is true that things aren’t set in stone.

People keep telling me all these things that I can do, and I’m filled with a quiet assurance, but pride takes second place, or at least it should, and I want to be more than I am capable of feeling at the moment. I want to be the free-spirited young child I was once, back when, but the bottle keeps filling and I’m stuffed to the neck; incapable of moving, incapable of leaving, incapable of doing anything; sinking further into the ocean. Desperately hoping that one day I’ll hit the ground and have the strength to kick myself back up again.

But life doesn’t happen that way, and I’ve forgotten the passion that I left behind. I’ve been forced into these boxes of who I don’t want to be, unable to be who I really am, and the darkness takes a toll on me. Hiding behind these clothes and this face and this mask, the dark passenger kills me; but I am the dark passenger, and I’m killing myself. How do you stop sinking? How do you stop the numbness from settling? How do you stop yourself from settling?

She tries to talk me into the life I should lead, but this is the life she wants to see and this isn’t me. It’s never been me, yet every time I try to tell her the truth, she shies away and pushes the blame onto me in the form of guilt, but I don’t want this life, and I’ve never wanted this life… Or is this the lie I’ve been telling myself for so long that it’s become my truth?

The insecurity flows out of me in abundance, and I want coherency to form the jagged emotions I feel into words that I can use adequately to describe the guilt, the pain, the emotionless black hole. I want to be able to properly elucidate the terror that grips me, that stops me from plunging into the unknown. I want to be able to tell her that I’m not blaming her, or blaming myself: we are both absolved of guilt. I want to tell her the truth the way I see it, that we are both trapped in a vicious cycle of wanting and giving and loving and hating, but we should and have to stop sweeping things under the rug.

But talking to your mother is the hardest, because we have lived together for so long that our preconceived notions are all there are. There’s so much history and hurt that it becomes an impossibility. Maybe this is why so many women fear to become their mothers? Yet, through the gripping fear, I see who I’ve become: an effigy of her. All the parts I thought I would never become; quick to react, harsh with my words, careless with my love, and above all, guarded with my heart. Afraid to take the next step, to expand my universe and the truth that I hate to admit is that she is just as bound as I am. Just as trapped as I am into the boxes she doesn’t want, but she rolls with the punches the way I wish I could.

How do you stop hurting someone who won’t stop forgiving you?

Are these the things I’m taking for granted? This freedom to choose who I want to be, the freedom to bemoan/begrudge this illusion of “who I am versus who I could be versus who they want to see”? My mother’s daughter has never been reconciled with who I see myself to be ever, but maybe they are the same people. Maybe these two worlds don’t need to collide in a tempestuous storm all the time. Maybe there is some middle ground that I stubbornly refuse to see and stubbornly refuse to admit?

Maybe they are the same people, talking from different sides of the coin, each never seeing the other: constantly warring for the same thing. Maybe the trap is of my own doing?

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