Category: Emotions

Masquerading Around

A lot happens behind the scenes and we can grow dangerously comfortable in these areas where masquerades are consistently worn.

My surprising week began on Saturday, 9/23/2017, instead of Sunday this time because it was the morning we picked her up from the train station when she finally visited for the first time in nearly two years. I remember saying to my daughter “I’d be surprise if grandma comes but I don’t believe she will,” when soon after she called and told us about her train reservation. I remember hanging up from the conversation, thinking about how the text I sent her on 9/15/2017 at 06:24 that read “Good morning. You should visit us this weekend” must have touched her the same way I felt when I sent it – sorry, wishing we could make forward steps to heal our hurt. 

It was awkward, I was nervous and my daughter sensed every emotion. I remember Butterfly saying something that insinuated my acting like a little girl who was happy to see her mom. Bingo! That was the exact feeling I had: happy like a little girl who would finally have a chance to ask questions about us and get clarity but also apologize for anything I did or have caused. When we finally had a chance to talk we were like foreigners in unguarded territory, hoping that certain questions weren’t asked because we did not want to hear the answers because dealing with what we heard would require us to do things we don’t normally do, such as show emotions. The feelings we conjured up were so unusual – at least for me – because a part of me wanted to let my guard down, but my cautious side knew that relaxing too much and exercising true candor was too risky too soon in our process of making amends after years of breached trust.

Moreover, most of our conversations resembled interactions you may see between strangers who would use their eyes to communicate because it was the only common, understood language, e.g. body language. However, unlike strangers, we had a common language but were afraid to speak it because it was the voice of pain, hurt, humiliation, turmoil, ugliness, immaturity, suffering, and deep wounds that, if exposed, would not survive the environment without professional intervention, which we did not have. So instead of daring to dive in, sort of speak, we talked using cues and at the surface of our pain insomuch that we each spoke our apologies, but only long enough to not feel the sincere result because we both wanted to keep a cordial atmosphere for my daughter’s sake, who was in listening distance and could sense if things were going sour. Yet, there were a few occasions when I would look a certain way and feel differently when responses were shared because the lag of time between each past incident left us both unsure of certain facts that needed proper addressing.

So, the remaining time spent together included bouncing around my small, intimate apartment, tip-toeing from room to room with hopes of not getting too uptight and in our feelings because we each knew that should things get out of hand, my daughter would be left to witness the very ugliness I have been trying to avoid, i.e. disruptive relations between females in the family. And although my attempts to make a positive difference was slightly successful, the result was expected: elevated voices, speaking over one another and wearing the mask that kept us safe for all these years – the facade that tricks one into believing that the image and scenery given to the public is just the opposite. Nonetheless, not all was lost because efforts were made and attempts were illustrated and the result left us both feeling a little better about what we dared to resolve on our own, which is our differences, misunderstandings and hurt. But at least we scratched the surface of what has changed the way we see, speak and perceive each other and I remain optimistic that our next visit will be sooner rather than later to gradually peel away our masks.

Flowers and chocolate

THE GESTURE

Many years ago, in my spousal years, I once liked the smell of flowers until the liking was suppressed because none were ever bought or delivered. The constant response of ‘it is just a waste of money‘ grew convincing and was immediately replaced with thoughts associated with high-maintenance purchases that lasted a few days to only be discarded and later reflected upon. But today was a different day! My former partner did something he wanted to do that would usually be refused by me yet I did not have a say so about ‘why’ and ‘how much’ – I received flowers and chocolate at my office today and I feel great about myself. I feel loved, thought of and worthy of receiving.

I thought – why is my text chiming, one message after another? I couldn’t wrap my mind around the urgency to get a message to me, especially after what had happened last night. I was tickled, surprised and felt loved all over again. Hence, it is moments like these, i.e. unexpected surprises that changes my perspective on life and makes me feel better about my self and the challenges I have to overcome, day in and day out. So tomorrow I will pick up my flowers and chocolate from my office and enjoy the smell and taste, respectively, of each item where both were bought and sent with love, without thought of money wasted.

Feeling better,

Feeling like an old pair of shoes, tired

Rustic boots

It happened yesterday when I arrived from work and felt so overwhelmed. I thought “where is my support system?” God knows that I am attempting to do the best I know how with what I have – with everything in me – but I still feel like every day I arrive home I am exhausted. When will the day, the moment come when I feel the weight lifted off my shoulders? Single parenting is so hard! Working full time, arriving home in time to prep dinner or warm leftovers, washing dishes so the home remains tidy and finally flopping down in the chair or on the bed is all I seem to have energy for, literally.

And then I see ‘her’ face – who tells me that she loves me (for all the reasons I have explained, unaware of what I am experiencing) – yet, she cares because of it. So, I finally gain the strength to smile and say “yes, you may talk on the phone for a little while, but be sure to not stay up too long.” She ends her conversation because her friend must get off the phone, and although she understands bed time is bed time, she wants the peer companion as well. I think ‘she and I are both deprived’ not from one another, but from the social environment we yearn to connect with, e.g. friends, chats, physical touch from our peers, yet our support system does not allow. Today I wake up to realize the way things are is a direct result of unpreparedness.

Parenting is not a chore, but a blessing. My parents parented the same way I do today – without little to no help from loved ones, aside from persons they friended along the way in our places of travel. I too am parenting similarly, depending and relying on others that are unrelated to me to provide assistance when needed. God knows I am grateful, but I constantly ponder about why my support system is so far away – not so much in distance and proximity – but in mental and emotional space. Nearly 12 hours forward I feel a little better about the way my evening ended yesterday, although I believe I have lost a chance at love with my former partner who wanted to simply talk on the phone (but I could not move beyond the texting option) hence, my inability to sacrifice getting ample rest at the end of an exhausting day.

However, what keeps me moving and pushing forward through all the tiring moments is my gifted role as m-o-m, who must fulfill given responsibilities of being that parent whose personal agenda is always secondary to my daughter’s. Therefore, I thank God Almighty for being my ultimate support system!  To self and others in a similar situation, I say – remember to inhale and exhale because you are not alone.

Author’s Note

It was titled, an ‘Author’s note’ about self, and it reads:

The relentless blame a daughter carries is the closeness she has with her father, while her mother’s heart sears because of the supposed open wounds she still has from a bitter divorce that led to misunderstandings . He is aware there is no favorite ‘parent’ although she believes otherwise. The daughter will forever pay a hefty price because she is caught in the middle.

This is my story and I am finally shutting the door of fear to put a voice to why I consistently experience bouts of sadness. Truth is – what you see at the surface is not my reality. The ‘real’ me is a gullible, naive and inexperienced adult who still cries for her mother’s attention. So although I pretend to be strong in front of the people who know of me, those who know me on an intimate level remain hopeful that I will find my happy place (one day, somehow someway).

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