The Things I Can’t Say

Mom.

Do you know how many years I wasn’t very fond of this word? It brought up all sorts of negative connotations for me. It’s not a positive word. It symbolizes anger, frustration, and irrationality. It symbolizes criticism and madness.

It was everything I didn’t want to be.

I held onto obscure hopes for a while. Maybe having a grandchild would change her, make her more open. Maybe it would make her forgive me for whatever perceived wrong I’d done to her. Maybe it would make her love me for who I am.

I was wrong.

When I was in tears three days post-partum, who did I call? Not my own mother. I called my mother-in-law. She was there. She listened.

You know the saddest part? I didn’t even think to call my mom. Not once.

If I call my mom, my dad picks up and I can hear her in the background telling him to say hello and that she loves me. But she never picks up the phone. Too busy rearranging piles of junk. Can’t be bothered with the sound of her own daughter’s voice.

I brought this up in a conversation with my dad recently. “Why doesn’t mom talk to me on the phone? She doesn’t even care,” I said.

“She cares,” he said. “She cares about you and loves you, but I understand why you think she doesn’t.”

Umm. Yeah. She has a funny way of showing affection. In the off chance I actually see her, she’s all smiles and hugs and wants to give us presents. But when there’s physical distance, she can’t be bothered. If there isn’t a “Thank you mom for being so thoughtful and buying me this stuff,” to be doled out, she’s not listening.

So the day after I gave birth, my mother-in-law came over and helped me learn how to breastfeed. I sat there, in a pretty vulnerable position, and she helped get my baby to latch on. I mean, this isn’t something I would have ever dreamed happening. But motherhood changes things. It forces you to be more open. To let your guard down. Emotions bubble up to the surface and you have to find those you can trust, otherwise you’ll just be lost.

I never once thought to call my mom. Because she couldn’t help me. I couldn’t even talk about the birth with her. Her experience was so horrible, I guess she couldn’t bear the thought mine was positive. Maybe if I’d been torn to pieces, I’d have gained her approval.

I wonder if she’ll ever know these things, the things I can’t say to her. I wonder if it would help if she knew.

But experience tells me the truth is something she likes to hide from. It’s something she doesn’t want to know, and when faced with it, lashes out in anger at me.

Always at me.

Because I was the only one in that house that ever spoke the truth.¬†Maybe that’s why the sound of my voice offends her so.¬†She’s afraid of what she might hear, and worse, that she might actually listen.

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New blog, new perspective

I realize it’s been forever and a day since I last posted here. Since my last post, I had a baby and I’m still struggling to find the right balance between taking care of her, getting work done, and pursuing my own creative endeavors. I’m not even going to pretend like I have it all figured out right now because I don’t. However, I am starting to feel a bit better about things now that the little one is over four months old. Getting past that newborn stage was rough but I think we’re all stronger for it now in the Barron household.

One thing that I am starting to do is pursue more personal writing. Yes, I have written about personal subjects here at The Inkwell, but there is a specific aspect of my life that never felt appropriate to discuss here. So, I’ve started a new blog to deal specifically with that topic. You can find it at There Was a Shopping Cart in My Bedroom. This blog goes into detail about my childhood and growing with hoarders. It will also cover some of the anxiety issues and other problems I face as result of my upbringing. At the moment, I anticipate to be posting more on that blog than here. However, I do have some new and exciting content lined up for The Inkwell as well. This has always been first and foremost a writing blog and I am endeavoring to keep it that way.

So, if you’d like to follow the more personal side of my life, feel free to leave a comment over there. I’d love to hear what you think about this new direction. I’m also considering writing some essays and trying to sell them to publications. I really don’t know why I didn’t feel like I could write openly about this subject before but I think having my daughter made something click in my brain and I’m feeling more confident about being myself. I think I owe that much to her.