I often watch people become physically uncomfortable when I express my honest feelings about my Mom. I watch the look on their faces change when I say that I have not seen or talked to my Mom in person, by choice, in over a year and a half. Without knowing the reason, without knowing the trauma, without knowing the peace I have found – I feel people give me the, this bitch is cut throat look when I truthfully answer – How is your Mom?
I don’t think I deserve that look, but their reaction to my decision is not mine to carry. I am not responsible for their confusion, their judgement, their misguided concern. My boundaries are my own, so the opinions or reactions to those boundaries have no place on my shoulders. The very fact that I do not have a relationship with my Mom, for over eighteen months now, says I am ready for this hard boundary. Feeling very little need to explain why – says even more.
Battling the questions is a delicate task. I do not want to give away too much to a person that will not be able to handle my trauma compassionately. I am happy to be honest – honesty actually helps me feel grounded – but explaining enough for the person to be satisfied while being faithful to myself is a very strange dance. Sometimes, the people I believe will be able to handle such a complicated story disappoint me, while others surprise me with a cozy place to land. Realizing, just the other day, that I will have to navigate this dance for the rest of my life is gut wrenching. I will not have my Mom – more so the idea I had of my Mom – forever. You always need your Mom.
What people may not understand is that this experience and the many experiences tied to this decision is one of my hardest trauma’s. It is not cut and dry, it is not black and white, it is long and complicated and tiresome. It is, without a doubt, not the norm. The norm is dealing with it, sucking it up, living with the notion that she is your Mom. She is your family. You never cut out family. So while I continuously swim against the current of this societal standard, I simultaneously relive this trauma. For now, the world feels like it leans hard on my boundary. This world was not built on the idea that toxic people, whether you grew in their body or not, do not deserve space in your life.
I hope that by slowly healing, by letting a little honesty out at a time – the dance becomes smoother. I hope my gut, which is already pretty damn accurate, will know better who to confide in and who to give the karate chop reply. I hope to have a better response to people who say, but I know she is a good Mom or no way Stephanie is like that, as if they know her better than me. I hope as our society evolves we learn that cutting someone out, especially your Mother, brings great loss every single day. Grieving someone who is still alive is not something most people understand. You do not hound a grieving human with cutting questions, you feed them and wrap them in love.