Not A Mother

“You can’t say anything It’s not your problem Don’t get involved”

Sometimes I want to knock on your door
and grab you by the shoulders and shake you
and look into your eyes and say:

Listen to me I know it’s hard I know you’re tired but you’re doing it wrong

I’m not allowed to because I am not a mother

I can only watch (silently) and worry (secretly)
and I do every day because although it’s none of my business
although I’m not a parent although I shouldn’t care at all
although the crying always stops eventually
I was a child once

“You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors”
“Well, I do I can hear it Through the walls All day long”

And I wish someone had shaken my mother and told her
warned her of the type of future
that she was forging for her daughter
through her maternal ambivalence:

a future fraught with fear fear fear so much fucking fear
a future of pain and anxiety and confusion and doubt and misery and rejection
a future in which her daughter decides so adamantly so young
that she will never ever become a mother:

a future promising no future at all
promising nothing but fear

“Who are you to question someone’s parenting?”
“You’re right I’ve got no right I’m not a mother and I never will be”

I can only smile and wave and worry and pray that one day
your kid finds the tools from somewhere
learns the skills from someone
to nurture her own future
to forge her own way

“You can’t say anything”
“But—”

“Promise me Promise me that you won’t get involved?”
“Fine”


Originally published at Hijacked Amygdala here.

6 thoughts on “Not A Mother

  1. My mother hated me. Left when I was six. My dad and I moved from France to England. I’d return home to grandparents but never her. I think you did an extraordinary job of this

  2. This is such a painful post HLR. In my case, it was my father. He was an extremely troubled man who never sought help for his condition and that wreaked havoc in my life. I grew up afraid like you did. But over the years, he confessed his failures, mellowed and we finally found closure recently. I can only hope that one day you’ll find the same.

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