Accepting The Love I Never Got
I could never understand why my mother never loved me; I have never felt the warmth of her touch or the love in her ever departing gaze from my face.
I can tell you exactly what I looked like as a baby because there are only two pictures of me as a baby and I have studied them profusely to find the horror that I’ve seen in my mother’s eyes when she looked at me. Nine months of secretly expecting changed exponentially when I ripped myself from her body. The secret was out and a life of hiding and attempts to lose me ensued which took me most of my life to comprehend.
I can’t say that she emotionally abused me because there wasn’t much emotion involved when it came to me. It was the quiet of her distaste that very often cracked the light within me.
Abuse isn’t always banging loud, sometimes it is quiet.
Pain has always felt normal to me, it was the absence, silence, neglect and abandonment that cemented the shattering feeling of pain in my young old heart. It is said that there are always good memories too and we must never forget to remember them, I just fail to find them in my memory archives. The tendency towards failure was planted by the man she married when I was two. As I more often than not was removed from her care, the darkness set in when I was with her. The man she loved more than herself, started a love-hate relationship with my body when I was 4 years old. I hated him more often than not. I was taken from her care with force, yet again, at age 11 because I had herpes in my mouth and down my throat. How I contracted that will never be up for debate, or maybe it should. My mother stood there, the biblical version of Lot’s wife. She turned into a pillar of salt, unable to move or say a word. I still taste the aftermath of her sodium statuette as she disperses it to this day, be it the tears of regret, her crying liver or the unquiet truth of winning the award for the worst mother I have ever known.
Her husband stroked darkness into my skin, a darkness I dealt with because I refused to become what he’d done to me, it was a conscious choice to not become the puppet of his desires. As a result I was always an awkward and strange child but somehow I managed to keep my head straight. Every emotion and acquired sense of survival changed when I was 15 years old and I found out that ‘he’ wasn’t my father. My father was unknown, or so my birth certificate stated. My mother, the martyr, emerged a week after I found out to claim yet another prize from me. She told me in a blasé tone: “I don’t know who told you these lies but ‘he’ is your father” to which I replied: “Really, so why was he having sex with me then?” Shortly thereafter her brother in law told me I have to ask his permission to go out, “You have to ask my permission, I’m your father, you can ask your mother!” Within months my awkward and strange world catapulted me into a fucking unbelievably insane reality of whom I’ve been and who I was not. While my mother retracted into her own world, the darkness found another life force within me. It deprived me of sleep and I saw sleep wandering off with my thoughts, night after night. The things I couldn’t tell anyone because I felt even dirtier and uglier than ever before. I soldiered against the secrets of a past that brought me to this earth and the darkness my mother left me in, alone. I was diagnosed with depression at 17 and sent home, diagnosed but untreated. I started riding a wave with a ghost that was unknown to me and that no one but me wanted to face.
Living with maternal rejection is the only thing my mother never taught me, it is like having a dagger in your heart that you cannot remove because you will most likely bleed to death without it. It has burned almost everything I have ever touched and loved because it caused the fire within me to burn too bright and burned the summer and spring of my life to ember. The winter of abandonment walked the corridors of my eyes every day and there was no way for me to hide the coldness I felt.
Recently I have found my unknown and not so willing participating father and I am left at the gate of yet another gate of rejection. A rejection that I have come to understand as 30 years of chasing an eluding ghost has taught me more about myself than the love I could have had from my mother or him. Love for who I really am and what makes me most welcome on this planet. There are no more objections in my chaotic mind when I challenge my self-worth and purpose for being here. It has never been about how I got here, I’ve always known that I was her gift of darkness that she refused. It dawned on me that she focussed for too long on the fact that I was born despite her attempt to abort me and the gift of me was overlooked. My surviving spirit was stronger than her fear of facing me because I looked like my ghost father.
It is only fair to say then that I choose to give myself all the love that my mother will never be able to give me. Not because she doesn’t want to but merely because she’s incapable of loving me, I represent all the wrong decisions she made when she was a dysfunctional 16 year old that grew up in circumstances that were beyond her control. There was no way a 16 year old who was as incapacitated as she was with her own unworthiness could ever love me to worthiness. She suffered from her own parental rejections and abuse and some of those were not as silent as mine. I don’t know much about my mother’s inner world and how her love for herself turned into a constant hate so I will leave her in this void where she will forever have the capacity to grow. Be it within hate or love of self. I have to cross this burning arching bridge to get to my own love, with courage that I have to muster and guts that I have to collect at my door of love every morning as I open the eyes I got from my father.
I’m scared shitless because it means that I no longer need her or him in my life. I have more than enough to pull this cart of life to its destination, it was never easy and it will never be but I’m up and I’m pulling for dear life. It’s hard to predict what I will find when I get to the other side but I’m willing to face it because, fuck it, I deserve this.
It’s quite a challenge but it is possible to give myself all the love I never got and disown all the feelings that were dumped on me and keep only what I feel will better my state of living.
I’m no longer running away from summer, the winter has become unbearable and I need to love myself for the next eternity, to heal. I have to step out of this never ending cycle of curses, my soul aches for peace. I will always love you in absence because that is what I was taught and I hope the void of me brings you to an understanding to love yourself, self-forgiveness and heals you. I now understand that I brought winter to your life too and that my eyes forever reminded you of what you would rather forget. I will always be your best secret and I release you to a life worthy of all the things you’ve always desired and that I was never able to give you while I was in it.
Things my parents taught me in their absence:
I’m allowed to feel everything that I’ve lived.
Life was given to me with their consent, I showed up despite their efforts from keeping me hidden.
On my road to recovery I will be angry at life for being traumatic.
My existence is a miracle and I am allowed to celebrate who I am, whether it disturbs their lives or not.
I deserve these words expressed in pain and to send it into this world.
I deserve to love myself although they will never be able to.
I don’t have to keep this blowing volcano of feelings inside because it hurts their ideal of what my life should be.
I am allowed to unveil the truth of my existence.
I no longer have to whitewash anything; I can just be all that I am.
I am allowed to cry for what could have been and what I have lost in this pursuit of myself.
I am allowed to have compassion for two people that have hurt me tremendously in their absence.
I am allowed to honour my pain as well as their pain.
I am allowed to be proud of myself for surviving depression, PTSD, paranoia and self-destruction.
I am allowed to forgive what I will never fully understand.
I am allowed to be angry with ancestors that let me down.
I am allowed to forgive myself for what I didn’t know.
Most of all I am grateful for two people that created me and I’m thankful for the good and bad that both their genetics brought into my life for, in essence, that made me who I am.
It takes a lot to settle down with your own broken bones, make it your home and paint a masterpiece with the ashes of the ghosts that have haunted you
Rebel at heart. Pusher of truth. Survivor of life, child abuse, rape, depression, OCD, anxiety disorder, and paranoia. Cypriot mountain spirit girl at heart. Calla lives in South Africa and has raised two beautiful children despite all odds. Children are extremely important to her and she dedicates most of her soul to their survival as adults. Follow Calla’s beautiful journey at In Pursuit of Calla and on Instagram.