Things my mother taught me

personal, poetry

My mother taught me about unrequited love,

By showing me that even the biggest of my accomplishments was not enough. The gold stars and hard work I achieved, the boundaries that pushed me to the brink of insanity… could not even have her blink… my way.

My mother gave me lessons in sacrifice,

The love of my life, the friends I had, the home I built, the family that was not by blood… I sacrificed it all for her. My life paused like a bad movie on an idle TV set in a living room filled with boxes surrounded by dust bunnies while she reminds me constantly how she sacrificed her life to have me before she turned seventeen.

My mother never made me cry,

more than five minutes. Not because she didn’t want me to show weakness but because a stick of her Marlboro lights take five minutes to burn and with the last ash from that styrofoam filter, my problems should be out of the picture. My tears were a distraction in her filtered life. my problems eventually became white noise she does not want to hear of.

My mother was a model,

living the life of a housewife, unsatisfied, filled with booze and bitterness except for the days she would remember about God. Leaving me to struggle to find the balance between enjoying life and keeping my weight under the pressure she whispers into my dreams.

My mother showed me how to use concealer,

to hide the black circles from the nights I had to pick her up at the club in my pajamas. She taught me how to hold my belly in while I walk because a model’s daughter should never slouch or have a permanent pouch.

My mother took me to the doctors,

who had needles and wires that dug into my fat and pumped me with drugs that stopped my hunger and killed the drive of hormones inside my body so I could fit the dress she bought two sizes smaller. The dentists she had put braces on me not because my teeth were crooked but so I had a hard time eating, not that the corsets I wore under my school uniform was enough but because it  was never enough to stop her socialite friends to comment on how I was “such a big girl now”.

My mother taught me how to cook,

at the age of six because the divorce took a toll and son away from her. It took me a week to finish a box of cereal, a stool to reach the high cupboards where the cans of Campbell soup, and help from the lady next door to make sure I didn’t mix up Clorox to the flower printed dress I needed to wear to school.

My mother taught me how to lie,

about the restless nights, the sleepless weeks, the mother-daughter days at the slimming spa, the puncture wounds from the liposuction surgery, the screaming battles we had, the hunger suppressing pills, the secret boyfriend, and the bullshit that only lets everyone see us as a happy family.

My mother was fantastic,

with making my life toxic. The premature labor she made me absolutely sure was my fault. The vault of lies I keep for her and the death of any hope I had which she drove me to bury deep under ground.

My mother taught me about responsibility,

because that was what she handed over to me. The responsibility of taking care of a baby at seventeen because heaven knows how dark the baby blues took over her, the responsibility of juggling university and a household to upkeep at nineteen because she wanted me to have a taste of a fraction of the struggles she went through the time she had me. The responsibility of watching the words I speak so I never have to put others through the pain of hearing that I was responsible for her losing the love of her life and the youth she never had.

My mother knows how to drive,

me insane. Every membrane in my atom pushes me to not let her win in the mind games that she plays with my brain. Knowing that even if I do, if I do… there’s nothing to gain.



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