I AM NOT MY MOTHER
I am not my mother! We live in the essence of our parents. Their physical appearance, mannerisms and even their temperaments. These same temperaments have either propelled us or held us back.
I’ve lived in the shadow of both of my parents. I have the physical appearance of my mother and my dad’s spontaneous temperament, while my brother has my mom’s moody temperament and my dad’s physical appearance.
Then both us having sprinkles of each, like salt and pepper to make it taste good.
I have my mother’s sense of humor with my dad’s compassion. He would give hitch hikers rides and stop to help stranded motorists. On the contrary my mother would stop on the side of the road while on a road trip to Bakersfield to steal oranges. My Catholic school girl guilt was killing me. On occasion when my brother and I were unruly while she was driving, she pull over and put us out and drive off. Only to come back and get two wailing children that were scared out of their minds. Yep those were the days, pure horror!
My mother’s family suffers from Bipolar disorder. Not understanding bipolar disorder growing up left me feeling unloved and almost neglected emotionally at times. I clung to my father love and I wanted so much to please my mom. I never felt good enough. I always felt she favored my brother because he was less of a sparkplug. The mood swings were unsettling and unpredictable. My mother also suffered from depression. I remember she would sleep for days.
In spite of her disabilities, she encouraged me to want more. She took my brother and I to plays and outside concerts. We were always exploring new eateries and cultures. She bought us tennis rackets and encouraged us to get involved in sports. Because of her I practiced and became 1st string on my tennis team in high school. She bought a guitar for my 5th birthday party and although she couldn’t play, she strum along to “happy birthday”. The ironic thing is although I had the hardest time learning to play the guitar, two of my daughter are exceptional and are self-taught! Good job mom.
I had to learn to forgive my mom and myself for feeling inadequate for the feelings she or I couldn’t control. Bipolar disorder can rob a family of love and security.
I had to ask myself, are these habits mine? Is this dysfunction me? Am I my family? When I was young I tried the depression sleeping thing. I found out when I woke from my slumber, my situation didn’t only not change it was worst in some instances. No Bueno!
I had a lot of my dad’s personality. I met an old lady when I was fifteen and she said, “There’s only two things you can do in bed and none of them take all day!”
Then I was on the go. Being on the go is almost as bad. Running through red lights in my life, not resting, being spontaneous without realizing consequences. Equally as bad!!!
My mother was always physically active, I’ve taken my physical activity to higher level. I became a personal trainer and enjoy a multitude of extreme sports. I didn’t want my Aunt Sandra booty or my Aunt Carlee’s tummy.
My Southern grandmother being the matriarch of healthy cooking, helped me and my mom stay on task to continue this trend. My mom has always said, “Food doesn’t taste like condiments.” I am a healthier cook. Instead of using salt pork in my most coveted collard greens, I use smoked turkey tails. Less fat and more flavor. Yummy!
Although I don’t have bipolar disorder, two of my children have been diagnosed. It’s not the old adage, “their funny acting or you know he crazy”, like back in the day. Sweeping bad behavior under the rug or not addressing serious behavioral concerns is a thing that is left in the past. I believe in getting medical help, prayer, counseling, medication, support and understanding.
My mother smoked. I didn’t dare do that, I remembered those graphic films on what tobacco does to your lungs? They should have had the same graphic films on sex. (oops! Wrong article)
I chose not to hide behind my families past. I’ve looked at pictures of my mother when were the same age, we are totally different in all aspects. The resemblance is there but the essence of who I am is a surrendered person who acknowledges my past, present and rejoicing in my future.
I am not holding on to superstitions, grudges and things I can’t control.
I am not my mother, my father or my family but I am the daughter of a Southern Belle from Oxford Mississippi that came from to California to escape the Jim Crow laws of the south to have a better life with all its possibilities and opportunities.
God’s internal image I was created in has birthed in me a woman of unlimited possibilities which I chose to live abundantly in not in a genealogies, curses or superstitions.