I view whatever happens to me in life as “an assignment” – with a lesson to teach.
And I love to write about all I’m learning in an honest way because I feel honesty is a great enlightening agent.
This is why I write.
For me, there is absolutely nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a computer and bleed.
As I write these words that you are currently reading, I am sitting in my living room with a headache and it’s just gone midnight.
I have so much to say but don’t know where to start. But I guess like any good story, it’s always best to start at the beginning and that is the relationship with our mothers, which is normally birthed simultaneously with our entry into the world.
We take our first breath of life and display initial dependency on her. We are as one in the womb and on the birthing bed.
This woman, our mother…all that she is and is not…has given us life.
Our connection with her in this instant and from this point forward carries with it tremendous psychological weight for our well-being. However, I didn’t fully appreciate this until I grew older.
Although our relationship can change from year to year, from day to day, or even from minute to minute – it doesn’t change the fact that I love my mum.
We are invested so much into one another, which on one hand can be great, but on another hand it can be dangerous. Because there are times when I simply adore my mum, but other times I get so frustrated with her.
These conflicted feelings I have for my mum are not in alignment with the usual feelings of a daughter. Or at least this is how society makes me feel.
Motherhood has always been glorified as a sacred institution in most cultures and therefore is generally not discussed in a negative light. So this gave me a sense of deep loss and fear that I was alone in this suffering. Alone in these conflicted feelings.
Because good daughters aren’t supposed to dislike their mothers now and again.
They aren’t supposed to talk about these bad feelings.
They are supposed to worship the ground that she walks on and want to grow up to be exactly like her.
But I didn’t want that.
Like a good girl, a good daughter, all I ever wanted in life was to make my mum happy.
To make my mum proud.
She sacrificed her entire life for us, and reminds me of this quite often, especially if I ever spoke out of turn.
Growing up, I genuinely thought that putting her happiness above everything else was the least I could do to repay her back. So that’s what I did. I lived to please her. I had this overwhelming sense of guilt, if I didn’t, so I had to. I somehow always felt that although this was an impossible task, I wanted to try! That was my goal in life.
So I did well in school, very well. Made good friends, friends who could benefit me, became the first black head girl in the history of a white dominated private school, and got into a good university. I thought I had ticked all the boxes she had for me, but I always felt like I fell short. Like there were more boxes she had yet to make up but somehow I was supposed to know how to tick them.
Nevertheless, I never gave up. I wanted to please her.
So, I spent my twenties traversing the corporate ladder. By twenty-one I was making more money than I ever saw my parents bring home. I was convinced that if I got a job and made enough money, I could make her proud. I could somehow make her happy. I later came to know that this wasn’t true.
Without her, I often think, I wouldn’t be here, for she had consistently declared to me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to achieve and although some of her actions contradicted this, fortunately I believed her words. No matter how hard life became for her, she always held a view of a much better world for me.
Like a good girl, I tried to make excuses and carry all the responsibility for creating a ‘great’ relationship with her. But, it was not until I began to connect the dots backwards that I understood that we are both responsible for this.
This understanding was the key to me beginning to recover my own sense of identity, apart from my mother.
Writing this post has been a culmination of years of joy, fear, love, tears and a soul journey that took me back to when I was a little girl who knew something was different, but not knowing why. I am writing this in hope that this can help me heal myself and find forgiveness for myself and for my mum, because I know she loves me more than I probably love myself. I do not believe in creating victims.