The phone rings and I wait for it to go to voicemail.
I know it’s her because no one else calls my landline.
I know she’ll try calling again in a few minutes, first my landline, then my cell phone, then my landline again, then my husband’s cell phone.
She doesn’t “get” why her only daughter doesn’t want to speak to her.
It’s been almost 2 years since I moved away from the US. 2 years since I felt free. Free of her, free of my father, free of my brother, free of my dysfuntion.
I grew up in a house of cards.
Always waiting for some shit to fall, and then being blamed for it.
For 20 something years I grew up in a house, a miserable house, a house where the only escape is medication. Xanax, Prozac…
Often times, I say to myself that I’m just being a whiny little bitch. I was never abused, always fed and sheltered, had vacations to Disney world and abroad.. Holidays were celebrated, gifts were in abundance and yet… yet I can only remember the feeling of being an outsider in my own home. Always feeling like something was wrong with me,, because I was different, because I chose to speak up- because I refused to accept the dysfunction. I was always taught that it was my fault. It can’t be that 3 people are wrong, while 1 is right.
I guess I was the dysfunctional one then.
So I kept that locked away for years.
In my psyche it went.. hidden under old books and dreams.
But then my husband joined the picture- and finally I had a witness. A witness to it all. He often stares at me in wonder and says that he doesn’t know how I came out so functional in such a household.
My therapist once told me that she felt bad for the little girl that I was.. always crying out for normalcy. Much smarter than those around her. Not knowing that it’s not her fault.
I can’t be myself with my mother. She doesn’t like the person that I am. A strong willed woman, something she is not. “I don’t like how vocal you are” she said to me this past December while visiting. But mom, this is who I am.. and if after 30 years you can’t accept who I am then it’s now your problem.
The thing is for so many years, I was taught that I shouldn’t be who I was. A girl should be more gentle, less outspoken, less opinionated. Stop acting like a man, you’ll never get married that way…
My mother used to tell me that I should act more like so and so… never just “be yourself, Maya”
My father was hardly ever around. Always working. But it wasnt about the quantity, it was about the quality.
Once I reached a certain age, it’s like he just didn’t give a shit anymore. Threw me into the ocean without a lifeboat. He did his part, I was 18. But no, no he didn’t.
We never shared anything, it was always surface. Not a hug or a kiss. Not a “I’m proud of you”
But I tell myself he just wasnt raised that way.
I was always seeking approval.
approval that I never received.
I still do- To the point where it takes me over. It envelopes me.
And when I do receive some, I don’t believe it.
Here I am, a 30 year old woman and a mother of two, and I am scared to death that my kids will hate me one day.
I look at my beautiful little family, with the most amazing father I could have chosen for my girls and I fear that they wont answer my calls because just the sound of the ringer will send them into panic attacks.
I can’t be the only one who still harbors so much hate for their childhood so many years later.
I just can’t be the only one.