The source of the rage lying just below the surface this year has been eluding me. For months and months I’ve felt as though I were under water. Not drowning, just far far away from everyone else, from myself. Not like I can’t breathe, just filled with something other than breath. Lately I’ve been waking up from that and realizing just how very far under I was. Moms at my son’s schools know me by name, or at least know me as his mom. It’s odd because I have no idea who they are, or who their children are. One mom says she met me before, I have no memory of this. It feels so weird that I have been so disconnected. I say that it’s because I just had a baby nine months ago and it was super hard to adjust for me, but I think it’s that and more.
I forced myself to attend a ladies night at our new church. I do not enjoy ladies’ nights. I do not enjoy trying to fit in with women most of the time, let alone church women. If you’ve attended a conservative church you know church ladies. Midi dress and culotte wearing, sweet smiling, uniform, nice to your face, but damn that tone, back biting, proper, old fashioned homemaking ladies who buy thirty-one lunch totes and buy patterned bible covers at lifeway. Is that an over characterization? Meh. Anyways, being in my under water isolation bubble for so long and reading all kinds of cool articles in being a good ally, when I got handed a name tag I wrote my name and preferred pronouns. Bad choice for wanting to fade into the background. These ladies are not only church ladies, mind you, they are southern church ladies y’all. Ladies who don’t think twice about laughing in your face about trying to make a minority group feel seen. I’m glad my learned skill of refusal to blush is second nature in these kinds of situations because I want my silence to sit heavy.
After this lovely greeting, I sit in my chair feeling a little put off and a little smug about being a kinder person than they are when we watched a video about anger. Why are we angry all the time? Why does the anger sit so close to the surface that it takes something so tiny and stupid to bring it out that it actually leaves you wondering what the heck you’re really so mad about. They had us do an exercise. Write down a time you remember being really, really angry and is it resolved. I did so. It was at my mom, it is not resolved. The video then went on to say that many times our anger as women comes from unmet expectations. Did I have unmet expectations as it pertains to that anger? Hell yeah.
We then shared, if we wanted, with the group. The ladies who laughed at me really laid it out. One physically beat her husband because he was incredibly wasted, again, and she couldn’t take it anymore. I mean, they were sharing heavy shit. I was amazed by their bravery and willingness to open up. I knew because they shared something so personal with me, they wouldn’t be sharing what I had to say, so I said it. I’m still pissed at my mom for the night she overdosed while I was pregnant. I’m pissed because she wouldn’t leave me alone on the only night I have ever had alone (except for her) in four years. I’m pissed because she pestered me and I screamed at her and even hit the wall. I’m pissed because she followed me to bed even coming in my room after I asked her to leave me alone. I’m pissed that I had to worry about them living with us while I had a newborn because she might wander in and pick her up while she was on her meds and maybe drop her or fall with her. I’m pissed that I am their parent, that they ask me to help them budget, that I had to take her medicine to keep her from overdosing even though she bugged me until I finally gave it back. I’m pissed that she told every doctor and nurse we saw that she took a bunch of pills because her daughter yelled at her. I’m pissed that I can’t trust her to babysit my kids so that I can have some time to myself once in a while. I’m pissed that I can’t trust her. I’m pissed that in a lot of ways I’ve lost my mother.
My sister in law told me that if I went through something serious I’d need to talk about it. That just shows me how lucky she is. I’ve never had that. From the time I turned into a teenager, it was me, myself, and I. I didn’t ask for advice on friends, boyfriends, how to save money, what college is best. None of it. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t. I couldn’t go to my mom either because she was way too harsh or because I knew she couldn’t help. It’s only gotten worse. I’d love to call my mom and ask her for advice, it’s just not in the cards. She calls me. She asks for help and advice.
Maybe this under water feeling has more to do with the constant tension with parents. For gods sake, they think I need their forgiveness for stuff. For not wanting them at the hospital the whole time I gave birth, even though when she showed up for a minute she was high. For not wanting them to stay after we brought my daughter home even though they had an apartment and a throwing up illness. It’s just another childish thing I have to deal with. I didn’t just have one kid at a time, I had three when I was pregnant with my daughter. I was molding three minds, I was shaking three lives, I was holding three lives in my hands when I only brought one into the world before her. It was a lot to put on someone who needed help besides.
There’s peace in knowing that. That my anger has a source that perhaps isn’t hormonal or chemical in nature. It’s nice to know that maybe I’m not broken the very same way my mom is broken. I know now that I have to get passed punishing myself for becoming her whenever I get mad or strict or anything that reminds me of her because when I’m mad at myself it spills over, because I’m not like her, because it fails me and my family, because I’m more than that, I deserve more than that. I don’t know how to get there, but I know there is place I reach I just have to find it. That brings me some peace.