The more I live with my mother, the more I realize that I can’t live with my mother.
I love her – this three-word sentence is now starting to sound like a permissible excuse, isn’t it? – and I have, without exaggeration, practically based an entire life around her …but in this inherently complex and deeply intricate relationship that we have, the longer I stay and orient myself in her presence, the larger my worry grows, for my sanity and sense of self.
“What are you doing today?”
“Following Eldest Sis to register for her program?”
“No, I’m asking what you’re doing today. What are you doing today?”
“Well, I’m following Eldest Sis in the morning. Then I’ll be home in the afternoon… to finish up the last bit of visual aids for the workshop next week [which, she wants me to conduct and present to her students].”
“What are you doing today? [As in, is that all?]”
“Er… Yeah. I’ll be home. Oh yeah, when you get a chance – watch those videos I sent. See if your pick aligns with Eldest Sis’ pick, between the two 5-minute videos I linked.”
Rule #101 in dealing with my mother:
When it’s no longer a good move to keep making it about you – turn the conversation into being all about her.
But my God, doesn’t this sound like the beginning of a job interview?!
No matter how much I think about having to move out of the comfort of my hometown – as in, no matter how enticing and practical, perfectly reasonable really, to stay on this side of the country, this particular area, this family home …I can’t.
I love my mother – this is definitely beginning to sound like an excuse – but her presence and personality are all-consuming. If I have little idea about who I am – thankfully, this isn’t the case anymore – I would most definitely drown in her light.
I just can’t let that happen.
I love my mother, but I am not my mother.
And if she can’t realize that – yet – that’s fine, so long as I know this truth. Which means that I know myself independent from her – I remember and I’m certain of who I am and able to hold steadfast to myself, even in her presence. Despite her good intentions, of which there are plenty, and despite how much I am indebted to her – infinite, period – the truth is most definitely selfish and arguably insensitive, but truth nonetheless: I am my own person.
I shine in my own light.
“Man, you are weird. Why are you so insistent about working out of the city? That small town, too. Really? Really?!”
“I have my reasons.”
Dude, try living with my mother.
(Scared, aren’t ya? So hey – shut up)