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What I Inherited from My Estranged Mother

I’m taking a day off today from writing. I’ve said it was to take care of filing my taxes online. I said it was because Saturday I wrote emotionally challenging scene. Both of those things are true, but there’s something else too.

Mother’s Day is a bitch for me. My mother never really was a mother even when she was around. I mean, in my early years she was there physically, but a combination of mental illness and drug addiction left her anywhere but actually there.

Full disclaimer: At the time my father wasn’t much better. He’s somewhat better now, but we don’t connect. Not really. This coupled with various drama throughout my family leaves me making my own family with my friends. I love them.

It also leaves me feeling lonely. I spent years wondering why I couldn’t connect with my father? We have nothing except blood and a caffeine addiction in common.

So if I’m not like him or any of my aunts or uncles where did I come from? I mean, yeah, I partially raised myself. Sometimes I joke that books raised me and they did in someways.

Where did those books come from? My mother. It’s a mixed bag. I remember her buying me books during her clean periods. I remember her reading them to me sometimes. I think this is why I don’t remember learning to read like a lot of people do. I think it’s wrapped up in my early childhood abuse/neglect memories and my PTSD programed mind protects me from it.

But the books were there. I remember one traumatic reading experience. We were reading Disney’s Aristocats (Spelling?) I loved those stupid cats and watched the movie and read the book a lot. Sometimes she read it to me. By the time of this memory I was probably 5 and preferred not to be read to, but I mean I was 5 any attention was good attention, right?

Well, she was reading it to me and she skipped half of the middle. I wasn’t going to stand for it. So, she went back and read it inserting her own crude language. I wasn’t having that either – this was my book. My story. I often imagined myself an extra kitten in the story. Well, that went over about as well as you expect with an addict. She whacked me across the face, ripped the book apart, and continued to beat me with it. Gone was my favorite book of the time.

After that I hid my books from her. I hid a lot of my things from her. Hell, at some points I hid the baby from her. The literal baby. My brother.

I continued to read, though. At school. At my grandma’s. Anywhere I could find books. Then we didn’t talk about reading again until I was 9. We were snowed in and I ran out of library books. She tossed me a book of mommy porn – basically one of those romances from the civil war era. I can’t remember the name of the book and I’ve tried. I’ve searched and even asked around Reddit, but apparently I don’t remember the right details.

I don’t know that my love of reading came from her. During her short clean periods she did read her romance novels. What I gained from her was the ability to escape into books – I had to. And sometimes in there I wrote my little stories. The first one was writing an episode of Flintstones to add myself in. Yep. Seven year old Maggie wrote fanfiction for The Flintstones. Yep.

So from all the things I inherited from her – trust issues, relationship complications, PTSD, scars, years of therapy, and more. What can I take away from all of this?

I became a writer and a book lover. They were my friends when she and her long line of abusive boyfriends chased off real people from my life. That love of story telling and immersing myself in a good story was the sole thing I snatched and kept for myself.

I’ve been asked why there’s not more moms in my stories. I usually answer with ‘Well, I write Mpreg!” lol And that’s part of the truth. The other part is I’m afraid my own mother would creep in there. I mean there are obviously some mom’s in my stories. (RIP Miriam)

I’ve always wondered what my life would have been like if my parents supported me during my early years. I got good grades until my last year of high school when I just stopped trying for the most. I’d sleep through class because sleeping at home wasn’t an option for me. I wondered what would’ve happened if my mother had read the book and hadn’t torn it to shreds.

I don’t know honestly. Maybe I would’ve still become a writer. Maybe my stories would be LGBT lit mainstream. I dunno. I love what I write now. I don’t think I’d be the person I am today. I loved stories because they were all I had. As an adult my life still circles them and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

 

 

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