Thursday, May 28, 2009

Editing the History of Blame

Mom sounded loose with whiskey when she answered the phone tonight. On any ordinary night I would have tried to end the call quickly, but we had to make plans.

Note to self: Call early in the evening to talk to a sober mom.

Now my face is hot and stung with tears, and my lips and tongue are sticky from sobbing.

She told me she loved me and she would be there for me on the big day. She told me she'd take care of me while I convalesced.

"But Laura, you will stick to the letter of the law. You will follow every rule they give you..."

I know Mom; I've been working on this for months now.

"Laura, listen to me. have to do whatever they tell you..."

Mom, I made this decision after a lot of thought. I -

"No - Laura...No. I'm saying you can't quit this -

I know! I didn't enter into this lightly -


I faced down a lot of guilt and apprehension -


To come to this decision. I'm an adult -

"What I'm saying is, you better do everything they tell you to do..."

You could hear the finger-wagging in her voice, the lush wisdom of a woman who's confident her daughter will fuck this all up somehow...because she's so immature and has an attachment to food.

"Laura, what does food mean to you? Is it comfort?"

Uh yeah, it's comfort for everyone. When you give kids snacks and sweets for being "good" then they associate it with reward. I got a lot of rewards.

"I never brought snacks into our house."

You'd come home with a can of potato sticks or a Reese's egg in your hands and hide them behind your back and tell us to pick an arm. Manda and I would each get one. You came in one morning before work and left each of us a bag of pick-a-mix candy.

"Oh it's my fault?"

Not exactly...Gram gave us treats, family gatherings revolve around's all comfort and family.

"SO IT'S MY FAULT! I got news for you little girl, I'm not to blame for what you did to your body."

I had a part in it, yeah, but you were the one who put me on diets.

"You wanted to!"

I didn't ask; you suggested and I went along with it to make you happy and to make me skinny. I believed everything you did.

"Laura you wanted to do those things, you asked!"

I asked for dolls and clothes, and you always told me if I lost weight I could have whatever I wanted.

"You better think about that, little girl. You better take another look."

Mom, it's not all your fault...I don't put all the blame on you. This is what I remember. And now that I've made this decision on my own, you're trying to suggest that I can't cut it. I'm in control of this choice.

"You are something else. You came crying home when kids picked on you. What was I supposed to do? It was your heart, your lungs..."

My heart and lungs are perfectly fine. I don't blame you...I'm just saying what I remember.

"You remembered wrong. You had a horrible childhood? Am I such a bad mother? You couldn't even trust me with Charlie -"

Off limits. This conversation is ending in 5 seconds if you don't cut it out."

"Oh this is off limits?"


I knew going into it that this was a bad idea. I should have just let her speak her condescending wisdom and just nod. I shouldn't give my counterpoint when she's drunk, when she's on a mission. Though if I just say "yeah," and let her make her point, she'll think I'm not serious. She'll keep saying the same things over and over again. Can't I defend myself?

I thought we were reaching the point where we could have honest conversation. I guess we both have to be adults before that can happen. Trouble is, I don't think either of us are.

So there's that,



manda said...

Congrats on the decision; I think you are making the right choice for you. I got your text tonight, but didn't have a chance to respond, but I can't wait to talk to you about it!

BTW, If you say yeah and let her make her point, she won't remember it tomorrow anyway. She'll have a new position on it.

justin said...

i agree with manda. at this point, as you become an adult and transition into 'adulthood,' I think it's just clear to you that there's no rhyme or reason to magz and that's probably why she does the thing she does, because she feels she has no control either. i don't know. she's your mother, yes. but that's no excuse to continue to be subject to her own brand of crazy. 27 years have been enough. maybe that's another cycle ready to break.