The Blog

I Am My Mother's Daughter

I have always believed that the act of writing is, and always will be, an act of courage and defiance - regardless of how long you've been writing for.

But there are some topics which fill me with fear because they are things that I have never spoken about or discussed. The thing with stories is that the ones we don't want to tell, or are too scared to tell, are the ones which need to be heard. Badly.

My story is one which I tend to tell in installments; a part of me is embarrassed, raw and in pain about it all - emotionally speaking. I've spent most of my life silent on this topic, despite it being one which has fundamentally shaped me, because I always felt ashamed of what happened to me.

When I was 14, my mother abandoned the family home and disowned me because I'm a girl. It's always felt like an imaginary soot-coloured smudge on my face that everyone can see; like the way you would mark a faulty product to go back to the warehouse for repairs or to be incinerated.

I've never written about what it felt like living with this and what it's been like to re-build my world, my sense of self and go through aspects of womanhood without a mother by my side.

It's a pain that I feel every single day; you wouldn't guess it by looking at my face, my life, my successes, my ambitions, and outlook. I don't know if it lessens every day or if it's something that I'm getting used to. I think that's the worst type of emotional pain: when you don't know if you're getting stronger or if it's winning against you.

I can only describe it as a crippling sensation whip through my entire body; it's like someone has ripped my spine out of my body and I've crumpled to the floor in a fleshy mound of nothingness. All that's left is a sigh of exasperation at how much it hurts and the extent of where you can feel it in your body. It never ceases to amaze me at how much pain (mental, emotional and physical) the human body can bear.

Once that last gasp leaves your lips, you can't vocalise what's going on inside. Your throat tightens, your chest constricts and all you can hear is an inward shriek of: "No!" which vibrates in every single cell of your body. Inside you thrash about violently, punch, kick and weep inconsolably without a trace of it showing on your face.

You suddenly want to hide away from the world, its inhabitants and yourself. You do almost anything to not fully face yourself - sometimes looking in the mirror is enough to make you wretch in disgust at what you see.

But then there's the off chance, those days where you dare yourself to look closer, where you find yourself looking at yourself and not recognising your own face.

Gaunt skin, red swollen eyes, puffy face, prominent nose and patchy skin. You find yourself dabbing your face in disbelief and saying: "Who is this woman? What have I done to myself?"

You remember the chilling words of: "no one cares" and you build your walls high. You build walls behind walls and stay there in the hope that no one will see you like this.

But another problem arises: because these walls are so damn high you've never fully experienced goodness from people outside of your circle. So you decide to brave it and go looking for comfort - how bad can it be? Perhaps it will lessen the pain? But because you don't know what it is, you look in the wrong places, the wrong people and in the wrong hearts.

Back you retreat! Back behind those walls! Build them higher! Make them stronger! Make them sturdier! But what you don't realise is that you've ended up building a demonic prison with your own tears.

Hell, you'd decorate them with spikes if you could! But they only keep you safe for so long. Behind the fortress walls, you sat in silence, tears rolling down your cheeks and falling onto the backs of your hands as you hugged your knees in desperation staring into the darkness.

A chill forms in your chest, your throat constricts as a golf ball sized lump rises from your stomach and the internal shriek of "No!" begins to wail uncontrollably in your rib cage.

You clench your jaw, tightly ball your fists, shut your eyes and try to drown out the pain and internal screaming. You mutter: "Stop. Please stop. I'll do anything...just...stop."

Suddenly the shriek begins to quieten. Curiously you open your eyes and look up to see a pair of feet standing in front of you. They're a dull shade of crimson, with neatly rounded toenails and delicately shaped ankles.

As your eyes travel up you see a boy with a red face standing in front of you with a pair of defiant eyes burning back into yours. It fills you with fear and anticipation: how did he get behind the walls?

Before you can say anything, he silently extends his arm, pulls you up and hoists you up to your feet - almost as if to save you.

Anger. It has always been there; you just never realised it.

Anger didn't turn around and say: "I don't want you because you're a girl. I never wanted you."

Anger became your best friend, your cheerleader, your guide in the dark, your motivator and your protector.

It wrapped you in its fiery arms when the pain intensified. It comforted you as you cried yourself to sleep every night for years and held your hand as you stepped out of the house feeling frightened, self-conscious and unwanted. It dried your eyes, touched your chin and said: "You can do this, stand up and fight back" when the pain came back in waves of anguish.

It worked. It powered you through dark times. It drove you, focused you and made you strong. You fearlessly strode through the mist of your mind, you shouted down the internal shrieks of pain and braved the world as you both walked hand-in-hand. No one hurt you. No one made you feel helpless, small and worthless.

But then it all went wrong. So horribly wrong. It started when you felt a child-like sense of joy. It blossomed and bloomed in your heart; like a rose. It removed the burns of Anger and said: "You can leave this behind and start to really live. Let me show you."

You took a leap of faith and suddenly you felt like you were flying without the stinging undercurrent that you were so used to. You were soaring in the sky, so high and among the clouds. The air smelled fresher, the internal shrieks began to quieten and the chill in your chest receded.

Anger may have been your best friend and an ally, but it came on its own terms, as you started to fly and leave him behind.

You felt it as Anger realised this and retaliated: "How dare you do this to me? After all I've done for you, you do to me what she did to you? You're just like her - your mother. You are no different. I will make you pay for this."

And it did. Little by little, it began to break you down in the same way it built you up. Suddenly you feel empty; just like before but a thousand times worse. It's like an arm has gone missing; you look around trying to find your best friend but see nothing.

Even the soft, velvety petals of hope dried up, withered, fell and left you as the chill returned. The internal cries came back, but less ferocious and with less anguish - now it just sounds like a child pining for comfort.

You function on auto-pilot just to get through the day: "One more hour. Ok: another hour to go. Just get through to lunchtime" you tell yourself as you wake up, get dressed, shove breakfast down your throat and numbly walk out of the house to start another day.

It gradually lessens; the emptiness subsides, the quiet moans settle down and a small bud of satin begins to appear in your heart.

But Anger realised what was going on and pummelled you with its tiny red fists: "Don't leave me! I'm sorry! I promise I won't hurt you anymore, I'm sorry I hurt you. I didn't want to lose you that's all - please don't leave me!"

You look at your best friend's tear stained face, downcast eyes and swollen cheeks. The once withered rose bud suddenly opens as you take him in your arms and hold him close to your chest.

You gently caress his curly hair and say: "I won't ever leave you. I never will; you are a part of me and we are bound together. But you're not me; you are only a part of me."

Popular in the Community