She was a stranger to me. For fourteen years of my life she clothed, fed, and kept me alive, and she was a stranger to me.
I can’t remember her scent, but I’m pretty sure it was just Marlboro Light 100’s and I can’t remember her voice, but I’m sure it was quiet and kind when it needed to be and terrifying when we were bad.
She was a shy woman who I only remember always having her nose in a book, nothing too profound, she loved romances – anything Danielle Steele. According to my father everyone loved her. I loved her, she was my mom – but I didn’t know her at all.
I’ll tell you what I do know now – she struggled with her weight her whole life. I think I knew that then too, but I didn’t understand it. I also now know that she hated to see me struggle with mine. That’s why when I was twelve she sent me to a weight modification camp (Fat Camp as I call it), I felt this was an insult and up until just writing this post I was insulted. But, it just dawned on me that she wasn’t trying to hurt me, she just really didn’t want me to have the same fate as her – which I ended up having anyway – without genetics.
She would try any and all diets there were, any fad, any quick loss, anything – anything that made her chase her demons away, she never did. When she got sick and was near death I remember thinking that this is what it took to make her as thin as she wanted to be. I was fourteen when I thought that, and I hated myself for it.
She saw herself in me and she was as sad and as angry for me as she was for herself.
It’s 24 years ago today since I said goodbye and it’s taken me this long to realize who she was. She was a woman struggling with self acceptance, genetics, the idea of beauty that included the body dysmorphic world around her, and herself.
They say with every year that passes it gets easier – I disagree. It’s actually getting harder because now that I’m older every year that passes is a year that I didn’t get to know her as an adult. It’s another year that passes where I can’t tell her I totally get it. I just didn’t have the time to know her and every year that passes I understand her more as I live my own life in similarity and it pains me that I’ve missed out on this opportunity to know her.
I wish we could have fought these demons together.
I miss you mom. Forever and always I will continue to love you more with every year that passes!