I walked out of my appointment, smiling to myself. ‘Yes! I figured it out!’
I’m just scared to make mistakes, to live in regret, as my mom seems to have done for years. All of a sudden, it seemed manageable. ‘I got this’, I thought to myself.
That was a few weeks ago. Shockingly, nothing changed. My realization, though it felt so hopeful in the moment, was still adding up to perusing OKC and not meeting any men.
And then I went back to therapy, like I do every week. And this week, I didn’t feel as hopeful. In fact, I just felt kind of sad. My 41st birthday had just passed and my mom hadn’t called to wish me a happy birthday. This is not a new thing, she has done this before – simply wishing my a happy birthday on facebook, but not calling. I wish it didn’t bother me, and mostly, it doesn’t. But, I was feeling raw that day — looking for answers, looking for the shift that breaks open my heart.
They say that it’s hard for children to move past their parents. To live bigger lives, to be happier, to not follow in their footsteps. Working in schools I have seen this before, the young woman from Mexico who held her dream of being the first to go to college, but ended up staying home. The boy who wanted to be in the play, but instead played basketball like his dad.
For me, I am holding my mother’s sadness. Her sadness for her life not ended up the way she thought it would. Or maybe her sadness for her marriage not working out, her struggles, her frustrations, her anger with others, with us, with life. It’s hard to say, and it probably doesn’t matter anyway. What matters is that I hold it, and I hold it in my heart.
And so, that day after my birthday, not only was I holding my mother’s sadness (which isn’t mine to hold, but yet, still I guard it tight) and my own sadness. Neither I want.
And I talked and I cried. Not wanting to be sad and hurt, wanting to be open and joyful and full of light and love, but not finding it. And why, why not?
And in that moment, of cracking open, just a bit, the reality poured in. That in my fear of being like my mother, I had closed up, guarded my heart in fear of making mistakes, of being hurt.
My fear of being like my mother has made me just like my mother.
But, I’m not my mother. I want to be different.
And so… I am working hard, every day, every moment to find the space to be open, to be vulnerable, and to set fear and sadness to the side.