Back in high school (you know, when we still used oil lamps and walked to school in three feet of snow. Uphill, of course. Both ways...) a teacher once said to me that I needed to stop carrying my mom around in a backpack with me all the time. I had this sort of demented vision of a tiny mom-doll that I was carrying around with me like some overly critical Polly Pocket.
I love my mom. Which doesn't keep me from hating her. Or resenting her. And, unfortunately, the truthful and perceptive comment from a long-ago teacher hasn't kept me from carrying all that baggage.
My mom. Who was so angry with me when I got pregnant. She claims that she was afraid my health wasn't good enough for carrying a child (my asthma had finally gotten mostly under control, but to give her credit, it had barely been 18 months since I was in the ICU and most everyone was convinced I wouldn't be leaving again.) She says she couldn't care less about a grandchild who wasn't born yet, but she didn't want me putting myself at risk. Who has breast cancer and has chosen to NOT do chemotherapy. Excuse me?
My mom. Who never went to college. Who used to mock my desire for new clothes that actually fit me, instead of three year old ratty preppy clothes that I'd resewn the buttons on eight times already with the "if everyone jumped off the brooklyn bridge, would you?" and then turn around at report cards and say "Jenny up the street got straight A's... why can't you?" Jenny, up the street, who was in REGULAR level classes... and I was in College Prep... who hounded me all of my high school career about how I was going to go to community college and probably be a failure in my life because I got a C on one math test... and when I graduated. FOURTH. in my class... with a 3.7 gpa (and a 1590 on my SATS)... didn't bother to go to my high school graduation.
My mom. Who used to snark about my writing or my little craft projects. I always wanted a doll house. You know, one of the nice ones, where the little pieces of furniture might cost $12-30 each. With small wallpapered rooms. And tiny little candlesticks that actually went in candle holders. My mom always decided it was too expensive and I wouldn't take care of it, and she would go out and buy three pairs of new shoes... so I made one. I used saltine boxes and sweet-n-low boxes. And I bought leftover ends of fabric to use as rugs, and glued it painstakingly to the walls for wallpaper. I cut out chair rails and painted them before gluing them into place. I checked out books from the library and learned to make tiny doll furniture and upholster it myself. My mom took one look at my doll house and said "gee, if you spent half the time on your homework as you do on this CRAP, you'd get straight A's." My mom... who spent tens of thousands of dollars on 18th and 19th century clothing, tents, cooking supplies, so she could run around and play camp follower on the weekends.
My mom. Who knows I'm doing Weight Watchers. She called yesterday to ask me the recipe for some high points value casserole that I made for her once. I gave her the recipe at the time, and she was planning to make it for dinner last night, but she'd not bothered to print out the copy I'd emailed her, and she was on her way to the store, and could I just rattle it off for her. Who - after I told her I'd lost nearly 5 pounds - said "Oh, that's all?" and then proceeded to talk about how fat and ugly she was. When she weighs 136 pounds. She thought she'd go ahead and pump me for information about WW points systems and then she wouldn't have to buy anything, and I could encourage her to lose weight instead of going to the meetings, and really, she just looked so awful these days, how anyone could want to be seen with someone who was a whole twenty pounds overweight...
Yeah. Is it any wonder I have self-image problems and eating compulsions?
I don't know how to let it go.