I was my mother’s first child, the only daughter. She was not always one to praise or to tell me I was pretty. In fact she sucked at building self confidence. There were times she dressed me up like a doll when I was little. Later, I think she would encourage me to be girly merely to counter how much I was like my father. That’s one of the reasons I got less girly as I got older. Another is that it was one of the few ways I felt I could rebel.
I was molested by a stranger in my early teens. I was already an avid ready and I retreated into my books. I wanted to hide from everybody. That’s about the time I gave up. I let my mother turn me into a wallflower. I learned to never let my dreams surface. Every time I brought up something I was interested in she would shoot me down. You’ll never be able to do that; that takes a lot of school we can’t afford to give you; you’re not smart enough to do that. She was good at guilt trips, back handed compliments and saying I told you so. She would praise a success when it happened but never again. And she never let you forget a failure of any kind.
I loved my mother. I still do today. But I don’t like the person she was or the person she tried to turn me into. We all want to think our parents are superheroes. But they are just as human as the rest of us. All the resentment and anger won’t change the past. I have to learn from it so I know how it will or will not affect my future. I can and do forgive my mother for her behavior. In all fairness, she didn’t know any better.
The harder task is to forgive myself for giving up. I let her turn me into a wallflower. I am no shrinking violet. I am a fighter, a flirt and a damn good kisser. I love doing my nails, wearing heels, buying lingerie. I have an almost genius IQ and work crosswords in pen. I sing loud, drive fast and I always, always play to win. I have just enough OCD to want to master any new task and enough of mom’s baggage to sabotage myself before I can succede.
I am not my mother. I don’t have to be afraid of failure or success. The only person I have to please is myself. I know I procrastinate too much and sometimes I still hide. Those are the obstacles I have to stop putting in my own way, my own demons to slay.
I am no shrinking violet. I am a pale, sweet rose, raising its face to the sun and rain alike, armed with many thorns. I am beautiful in every single way. Your words can’t bring me down.