I am at a crossroads, and the only thing I can do about is to acknowledge it in the open. It has taken me a long time to get to this point where all the twists and turns of my life are clear, and will take me even longer to reprogram the crap that piles up in my head.
Long story short: I was an abused child. Emotionally, not physically or sexually, but definitely abused. My mother is a horrid, horrid person and I no longer feel obligated to dance around her random screaming rages. I am a grown man, and I don’t have to put up with anyone’s shit if I don’t want to — so her shit goes by the wayside.
Here is just one story out of many: I was 15 years old, and doing what geeky 15 year olds did in the 80s — I was writing an article I had hoped to submit to Dragon magazine. For the record, that would have brought
considerable significant substantial epic cred in my circle.
My mother caught me doing this (yes, the verb I used is caught, which is the same verb I use when I tell the story about getting walked in on with my dad’s Hustler), laughed at me, and said, “You’re not a writer.”
Well, mom, how would you know?
For nearly 30 years, I have heard that voice in the back of my head every time I tried to write something.
Which is unfortunate because I am a writer. I write because I need to write, for the sake of my own sanity, and when I don’t write I go a little insane. It’s a natural consequence of being geeky and creative, and trying to stuff that into the shoebox of others’ expectations.
So with that as the background, I had to do something about the volcanic eruption that is the long repressed anger and seething shame that burns through my skin, because it is eating me alive.
So I visited with a friend yesterday, someone who knows me to an atomic level. I told her where my head is, I told her about my mother’s perpetual nagging, still persistent in my head, I told her that I am over law, that it was a mistake to begin with. And I told that I didn’t know what to do when the despair spikes.
And this dear, dear friend who always knows how to get through to me said, “Ask her, ‘How do you know?’ ‘How do you know I’m not a writer?’ ‘How do you know I’m not an actor?’ ‘How do you know what I am, mother? You’ve never, ever shown any sense that you had the merest clue about me, so how would you know?’”
And it worked. It made sense. She doesn’t know me, she never has. She lives in a shell of fear and resentment, and always has. She has never shown the slightest indication of any awareness of herself. I know now, after years of on-again, off-again therapy, that she turned out the only way she could given her upbringing.
But it’s time for me to evict her harmful bullshit from my head. So whenever I feel like my only option is to fail because my mother always told me I would be, well, How would you know?