Life keeps requiring things of me that I don’t feel qualified to handle. Every celebration has this undertone of responsibility. Guilt clings to my happiness. I fight to feel free. I get tired.
Because how can you feel free when you have a schizophrenic mom who has not contacted you in over a year and who has cut off all means of communication? You don’t know if she’s living, breathing, eating, safe, medicated or suffering. You know nothing. What kind of person goes on living and thriving in spite of this? What kind of daughter doesn’t shut down her life in order to hunt her schizophrenic mother down so she can take care of her?
Me. I’m that kind of daughter.
Every time someone asks me about her – “Have you heard from your mother? Have you heard back from the police? What happens now? What are you doing to find her?” – I feel helpless, exposed, ashamed, and most of all, resentful.
How can she be so selfish as to disappear like this? How can I be so selfish as to not be consumed with the need to find her? Why must I carry this burden? Why must this situation expose my selfishness so blatantly? Why? Why? Why?
But what if I told you that I’m afraid that I would get lost looking for her? I’ve gotten lost looking for her before. Lost in emotional and psychological chaos. Lost in dark places that exist between her world and mine. Lost in the illusion that because of her, I can never feel free. Lost in the story I told myself for so long that her illness and the manifestations of it have somehow damaged me. I don’t want to go back there.
Simply stated, I do not like the person I become when she is in my life.
My mother. The one who nurtured me and raised me. The one who taught me how to pray and be spiritual. The one who gave me an affinity for pretty things, hugs and kisses and baby legs. The one who showed me what happens when psychological disorders are mistaken for idiosyncrasies and are therefore ignored.
I need to find her. But how do I look for her without losing myself?
“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.” | August Wilson
Today, I’m sending you love and encouragement and I hope you’ll send some back to me. Remember that everything makes you more.