January 14th, 2015

corset & bougainvillea

(no subject)

So it's really been a while since I've written in here. Yes, lots of things have happened. I had my son, Pele, on November 3rd. The birth was not at all what I had hoped for or planned, but he's here safe and sound, and so am I. I would like to write about historical trauma, and perhaps how that's related to the true knot in Pele's umbilical cord and the fact that it was wrapped around his neck four times. This is an era in which we have to keep reminding people that black lives matter, after all. But at the moment, its not my beautiful baby boy's life that preoccupies me or has driven me back to this space.

I have not seen my mother in months. We got into it a few weeks before Pele was born, which was not surprising to me seeing as how tension had been building throughout my pregnancy. My mother, while thrilled to learn that I was going to have a baby, behaved in a completely predictable fashion: she made it all about her. I was repeatedly regaled with stories of her pregnancy with me. In these, she was a perfect mother-to-be, eating plenty of fish and taking yoga.

Somehow these stories didn't seem to at all conflict for her with her statement that she didn't know she was pregnant until her fifth month. Since we both know that at this point in time, she and my father were both drinking plenty, smoking cigarettes and weed, and doing coke, the insistence that she was some sort of prenatal angel feels oddly false. And of course, regardless of what things were like before I was born, it's an understatement to say she wasn't exactly a perfect mother, either when I was a child or since I've been an adult.

And so, I spent a lot of time biting my tongue during the first few months of my pregnancy whenever I was with her. I tried to set boundaries. But I could also sense her discomfort around Dahled's family. She felt insecure, and it was palpable. And being pregnant definitely brought up a lot for me about my childhood and my relationship with both my parents; I've got a therapist I see every week for a reason. But my pregnancy also brought up a lot for my mother, I think. A lot of guilt that she had no way to process since she's refused to see a therapist and has been in such heavy denial about how she's treated me and the effect it's had. So unsurprisingly she lashed out a few weeks before Pele was born. What was different this time is that I refused to put up with it. One thing that happened while I carried this child was I made a decision that absolutely nothing and no one would get in the way of my ability to take care of him. It might be sad that it took this long and another person for me to stand up to my mother like this, but that's what happened.

The last time we spoke was 2 weeks or so before Pele was born. That phone call ended with my mother screaming fuck you at me and hanging up. We have not talked since then, and she has not met her grandson. I told her then that their meeting was not my priority. He is now 10 weeks old, and I'm due to go back to work in about a month. I told Dahled last week that it was time to schedule a meeting, though I wasn't planning to be there. But now I guess I will be.

Because I got a call this morning from my great aunt in Illinois letting me know that my mother has bone marrow cancer and that it's terminal.