January 30th is no longer my mother’s birthday. It is now a day for me.
I contemplated how I could turn this date into something different. Part of me wanted it to be the day my mother died; not her actual death, but her death inside of me. I wanted it to be the day I completed severed our relationship. I wanted to become an orphan. But I realized that wasn’t the right thing to do. I know I am not emotionally ready to make that full disconnection. I also know that wouldn’t be fair to my parts, some of whom are still bonded to our mother. Killing her, even though it would have been just emotionally and psychologically, would have traumatized and confused my younger parts even more. They don’t deserve that.
Another part of me wanted to send her shit (literally) in a box. But I’m not even sure she is worth the effort and the $14.95 it would have cost to ship it. I wanted to write her a letter, telling her all of the amazing things I’ve been doing. But that wouldn’t even matter. She wouldn’t care. It wasn’t worth the effort of writing or typing it out.
I didn’t know what I was going to celebrate, but I decided that morning to just roll with it. My therapist sent me a text that morning to remind me that it was MY day. So I decided I would get out of the house and see a movie. As I was walking from the bus stop that morning, I got a notification on Facebook. The PAFPAC Facebook page had reached 100 likes. Now, I am not a person that takes “likes” seriously, I never have been. But I couldn’t help but find the irony in the timing. Of all days, it happened on my mother’s birthday. My mother, the very woman that symbolizes everything I created the organization to fight against. My mother, a child abuser. My mother, a female perpetrator.
I felt a rush of emotions come over me. I actually laughed at first, because I realized the irony right away. And then I started to cry and had to dart into the nearest bathroom. It wasn’t really tears of sadness, but rather tears caused by the realization that I’m doing so much more than she had ever planned for me. I calmed myself down in time to get to the theatre, but even as I was watching the movie, my mind was bouncing back and forth with thoughts and feelings about my mother and about what I’ve done with my life.
When I came home later that afternoon, I made chocolate cupcakes. My roommate made buttercream icing from scratch and frosted them for me. And they were delicious. And I didn’t have to share them with my mother. So it was a double win.
This morning, as I was talking to my coworker about my day yesterday, I realized something that I hadn’t noticed before. I made it through yesterday completely sober. I knew it was going to be a difficult day, and I’ve always responded to difficult days in negative ways. But I didn’t drink. I didn’t turn to drugs. I didn’t hurt myself. I made it through the entire day completely unharmed, for what is likely the first time ever.
That in itself is an amazing accomplishment for me. I thought about that for the rest of the day. I thought about how I made it through that day unscathed. I thought about all of those other times that I ended up in a downward spiral into the dark place and struggled to get out. But this day was different. And that in itself made it a special day.