Something that ought to be noted is that I am a generally happy person, like today for example I spent the whole day driving around with two of my good friends and taking photos and buying junk food and walking around this lake we stumbled upon. And it’s days like these where I feel like a normal eighteen year old girl, so carefree – but that’s not who I am.
As soon as I’m behind closed doors, I’m a different person. Or as soon as my mind isn’t engaged in being happy and okay, I lose myself. I don’t think of myself as an overtly dramatic person, I don’t think I’m particularly unreasonable and I also think that all my actions and reactions to my current lifestyle and situation are completely warranted – I’m rambling because I don’t know where to start. Which all sounds very much like the beginning of an averagely written YA novel, I am the token white girl complaining that I’m ‘not like everyone else’.
It took me a really long time to realize this but when I did it really changed my perception of my mother and every mother and parent and sibling and shop clerk that I met. I was driving one day and I said to my friend, Finn, something along the lines of: once you stop thinking of your parents as just parents and think of them as people with complex thoughts and feelings of their own, their actions start to make a lot more sense. This fact never changed what I thought about my mother’s action, but it let me explain them to myself better than what I was originally doing which was ignoring the problem and her completely.
I went to counselling last week for the first in a long time, with a new counsellor and she said ‘just talk to me, tell me what is on your mind that bothers you the most right now’ and the first thing I can come up with every time is my mother is in a rehab facility. And not many people know this either, just a handful of my closest friends, my boyfriend and his family (whom I live with).
I wouldn’t mind if my mum was in rehab because she was depressed or addicted to eating couch cushions and despite my efforts to try and ignore, my mother is an addict & she’s addicted to crystal meth – highly illegal + highly addictive = just how my mother likes it. The thing is I’m not mad and I’m not surprised and that annoys me, it annoys me that I am so used to her childish, addictive and manipulative ways that I was not surprised when I got a call from the hospital saying that she was in the Emergency Room in a different city because she’d had too much. It didn’t surprise me when the clinic called asking for her mother (my grandmother) but the call came directly to my cellphone.
How can a woman as manipulative and stupid as my mother ever warrant the love I have for her? How can I still talk about her like she is as sane and happy and okay as any other woman her age with two daughters when she’s in a different city, trying her best to escape rehab? And why is it my job to care?
I’m not saying that I don’t care or that I shouldn’t. But it’s become fairly evident after everyone I’ve talked to that I am eighteen and it is not my job to spend my young life worrying about where my mother is or what she’s doing and if she’s eating. It shouldn’t be my responsibility.
It’s been almost six months and I’ve talked to my mother once in an awkward phone call about letting her come home, in which ended with me saying no and hanging up. And before you say I’m a cruel person, I can not be the person who has to aide her through home rehabilitation while working to support us both just because she doesn’t want to be in a clinic. She’s been back in our home town at least three times that I know of and hasn’t come to see me. If she even considers me her daughter anymore, I would be sincerely surprised.
When a woman gets pregnant, that woman and the father of that child should be making a conscience decision and agreement to raise that child so that it at least has the basics, but some people don’t see having a child as an agreement to anything. And if giving birth to that child isn’t a signed, sealed and literally delivered contract I don’t know what is.
Despite the big family I thought I was born into, I realised that the people that you were born of: mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, they don’t care. They don’t have a liability to be there for you just because you share blood or a last name. I haven’t heard from any of my blood relatives in months and at least 4 of my aunts live in the same suburbs as me.
My father bolted when I was just a week old. He stayed in contact, but it was for the worst. We stopped talking not long after my sixteenth birthday but that’s a story for a different time. My mother went through men like love was just a conga line and the man behind you that grabbed your ass was the man you had to move in with and probably marry.
Love doesn’t come so easy to children who never felt it. Lucky for me I did find it.
I’ve made a new family, it includes a girl called Hazel who I met just over 3 months ago and fell (platonically) in love with, it includes Finn and all his stupid emotional outbreaks because at least he knows how to show emotion with something other than his hands. I found family in my boyfriend, Toby, and his family who have never shown me anything but compassion. Family does not mean the blood you are connected too, family means the people who would spill their own blood just to lift you a little higher, people who will hug you and hold you and share your bed because they know how broken you are. Even if I tried, I couldn’t find a better family than the people I am surrounded by right now.
– Elsie Porter