I talk to my kids. I talk to them about everything. They had no fear in telling me they wanted birth control, all three of them came to me to discuss sex, relationships, drugs, politics, and even the most embarrassing body problems. An open dialogue has always been the rule in my home.
They still come to me to discuss problems, hurts I’ve caused them, life, struggles with adulthood, and sometimes I’m just a shoulder to cry on.
I am fully aware of my failings as a mother, there are things I probably will never forgive myself for. Doing drugs when they were little is at the top of that list, my only reprive is the knowledge that I got my shit together before they could recall the monster that was their mother.
I come from a family that doesn’t want to discuss root issues, I come from a family that always pretends everything is ok, personal hurts don’t matter, fixing problems doesn’t matter, the hard stuff is kept at a distance, and being emotional or broken is seen as weakness, if you’re blurting out truths, you’re avoided, and in that way no one can really know each other. People are complex, things aren’t always peachy.
No one says “we don’t want to talk about that”, it’s an unspoken rule, you suddenly find yourself alone in whatever turmoil is going on in your life. If things aren’t good, they simply aren’t there. No one listens.
We talk about nothing things that mean nothing. Intimacy is extinct and buried. The weather, and good news is encouraged. When talking about anything hard it’s kept short and sweet, and has always been a time honored tradition to insert humor into every situation.
I know my family knows about my past struggles with addiction, but no one is interested in how I came out the other side, they know I was raped by one of my peers as teenager, I’ve never been asked about it, I’ve never had a soft place to fall, a shoulder to cry on. I suppose it’s made me strong in some ways, if I’m not kicking ass and taking names the shock is almost humorous.
I admire my mother so much. She is, was, and always has been a bundle of raw, bleeding emotion. She expresses it all, she tosses it into the world like an old french fry box, she is brave and unfiltered. I am in awe of her ability to be weak, to be vulnerable, to look fear of judgement in the eye and tell it to piss off. She is lonely though, she is to be avoided. I sometimes think it’s worth it, baring the times she is shattered in her isolation.
I am starting to think that vulnerability is a person’s greatest strength, it takes a lot of nerve to lay yourself bare in front of people who’s opinions you value. You do however risk, in my world anyway, becoming a pariah, and viewed as someone who’s just to much work to deal with.
News flash: relationships are always work, at least relationships worth their salt.
My goal is to be more open, to give my family a chance to really know who I am, good and bad. I will be judged. I may be shunned. But I’ll be goddamed if I’m going to leave this world without being me to the people whom I love the most. Let the chips fall as they may…..