Recently, it dawned on me that I don’t know my mother… and probably haven’t known her at all since I was about 10 or 11 years old (possibly before that, even). You see, it was around that time that my already terribly dysfunctional family exploded and I chose to disappear into the background in order to protect my own self as best I could. From that time on, violence became worse than usual, my parental units got divorced (which wasn’t really a bad thing… that was something which I always sort of celebrated as a kid).. my brother was sent away to rehab repeatedly and my mother kept her distance from me and we stopped any authentic form of bonding that took place between us. Period. Meanwhile, my father was getting sober, and in the process developed a very unhealthy attachment to me. And to put the icing on the cake, my Godfather- who was really the only one who spent time with my brother and I as a parent- tragically passed away in a car wreck.
I often tuned everyone out and kept to myself, because if I spoke in my mother’s presence, she became increasingly annoyed and avoidant. If I hung out with my father, his projections became far too heavy to carry and if I spent time with my brother, my heart would shatter into a gazillion little pieces.
As violence, alcoholism (and I believe drug abuse) skyrocketed throughout those years, I was often sent away to stay with my Aunt and die-hard Baptist preacher Uncle (Yes, my life vacillated between those two extremes) and as a result, I think that in order to maintain my sanity I closed off, kept to myself and intuitively followed my own instincts about God, Heaven, Hell, Abuse, and being alive in general.
I never shared my thoughts with anyone about anything. I found it was easiest if I took on the chameleon role if I had to interact. I don’t think anyone would have listened anyway…. I often heard random discussions where my brother and I were referred to as those kids… no one had hope for us. It felt like everyone was just waiting to see how screwed up we would turn out to be. We were both treated as if we were sort of a throw away disease that no one wanted to cure. This was especially evident from some strangers at my Uncles church… We were sort of hopeless heathens born from sinners…. destined to be the dregs of society.
So, since I couldn’t physically leave that life, I chose to distance myself emotionally, mentally and spiritually and lived a rich life inside of my imagination. I’ve been told that was a very good thing to do… Had I not had some inner wisdom guiding me to kind of stay in the shadows and nurture myself, I don’t think I’d be who I am today..
Anyway, thinking about all of that, I realized that both my mother and I really don’t know each other. So, I decided to take the first step in getting to know her. I introduced myself. I realize most of this letter is rather impersonal… but honestly, there was a deep shift which took place when I realized I don’t think my mother and I have ever had a consistent relationship since I became old enough to take care of my basic needs, when there stopped being any real need for us to interact…
Here is the letter. (I don’t have an urge to address her as “mom,” but I would like to call her by her first name as acquaintances and friends do.. but I changed her name for this post).
First, I would like to state that it is my intention to get to know you and hopefully build a relationship with you. Another intention is to
experience forgiveness in whatever form is most healthy for all parties involved.
As you most likely realize, Currie Rose was not my given name. I
changed it about 2.5 years ago and that is what people call me…
though it is not legal yet. Changing ones first AND last name is a
very expensive ordeal. And living the life I have chosen for myself
thus far does not exactly rake in the big bucks.
I decided to change my name for a few reasons. First of all, when I
first met a girl named Curry a few years ago, I immediately fell in
love with the name. Right then and there, I declared to myself that
when I had a daughter someday, I would name her Curry (except I would
spell it Currie) and her middle name would be Rose… and she would be
a spicy flower.
Then I began an intensive process of finding myself and realized that
I most likely do not want children and cannot see myself with them, so
I decided someone had to take that name (since it’s so awesome).
Anyway, if I change my mind someday and decide to have children, I’ve
realized it’s really not cool of me to project the idea of being a
spicy flower onto someone else. Especially since I believe that we all
come into this world being unique individuals and should be given the
dignity of our human experiences and become ourselves without too much
interference, labeling or projections from outside sources.
Another reason behind the name change was another side effect of
finding myself. As I entered an extremely intense period of coming
into my own, and embracing every single aspect of myself and my human
experience with loving arms… I sort of realized I’m a bad ass. I
truly began to see the courageous, brave survivor that I am and how
each and every hardship and good time that has come about in my life
has only turned me into a more loving, compassionate and gracious
version of myself. Ultimately, everything that has happened whether
“good” or “bad” has helped me come home to myself and learn to love
myself unconditionally. Therefore, Currie Rose means a great deal to
me. It was a way of taking ownership and responsibility for my life
and who I’ve become, as well as a sort of rebirth for my inner child.
It was not my future child I wanted to love and name…. it was the
little girl living inside of me that needed love, acknowledgment and
permission to come out and play.
I am generally a very playful person. I am light-hearted and I laugh a lot. I do try to laugh for at least 30 minutes a day and I know I have achieved that when my face starts to hurt from holding the smile
position for so long. I am pretty funny and outgoing… though it’s
weird… this still happens in a shy way. It must be very interesting
to be around me, since I laugh so often… I can be loud… yet I
still hold back and when someone gives me a whole lot of attention, I
tend to reel it in and disappear into the background. I actually do
like that paradox. I am exceedingly friendly and often, in group
settings people tend to say the same thing… I’m like an old friend
and usually when people meet me, they feel like they’ve known me
forever. I am very good at connecting people.
Just as I love being social, I do cherish my alone time just as much,
if not more and can spend a few days alone without talking to one
single person. And that nourishes my soul just as much as people do.
I’ve learned that I function best if I find a balance between my
desire to be alone (for introspection and centering myself in myself)
and going out to meet everyone and everything.
Okay, this is long… I just wanted to introduce myself.
Oh wait! A few quick things:
I still make myself the birthday cake you used to make me when I was
little… it’s still my favorite.
Nobody makes beef stew as good as yours…. seriously.
Even though I know it’s horrible for me, I still eat squiggly noodle
soup when I don’t feel well.
The other day, I was playing with my friends four-year old… we were
making a human burrito… and all of a sudden, I had this desire to
throw a blanket over her and keep fanning it as we counted together
how many times the blanket fell on her. Then in the end, I would let
it fall completely over her and I would start tickling her through the
blanket. She laughed and squealed, “AGAIN, AGAIN!!!!!” Each time we
counted to a different number and I could feel the anticipation
building since she never knew when the blanket would fall and she
would be tickled… The very last time, I looked into her eyes and
remembered being in her position. My soul nearly jumped out of my
body as it was positively bursting at the seams with delight. We then
collapsed together in laughter on top of the blankets.
Anyway, I found a truly happy memory that day and I was so grateful.
Thanks for doing that with me when I was little.
I hope you have a lovely day and I look forward to learning about you.