Belonging To Myself

True belonging is not something that you negotiate externally, it’s what you carry in your heart. It’s finding the sacredness in being a part of something and in braving the wilderness alone.-Brené Brown (Braving the Wilderness)

This is the first year since becoming a mom, sixteen years ago, that I feel peace in the days leading up to Mother's Day and finally look forward to celebrating it. Every year around this time I get anxious because I haven’t had a relationship with my mother for almost fourteen years. I’ve felt guilty celebrating a holiday that was meant for her too. Late last year, my mother reached out to me. Every word she said during our conversation was a shackle that kept releasing until I was completely freed from her grip at the end of our conversation. I understood her more. I saw her as a woman who wishes to be loved but hasn’t learned to accept love. Every time I tried to get close, she traumatically cut me down to an unworthy state of being. It’s her life pattern. I now understand as a mother how easy it is to miss the mark, but I don’t understand how she kept missing the mark with every word and action, all of my life, and then punished me for it.

In retrospect, I understand that an apathetic mother can never understand or see the world like her empathetic daughter sees the world. We’re different people without a bond to hold the relationship together. She’s done the best she could, and as terrible as her best was, I now see how it left room for role models to enter my life, to help guide me to the worthy platform I stand on now.

I pride myself on the love and commitment I put into re-mother myself--going to weekly therapy (for decades), reading inspirational books that urged me to self-care, learning to practice kindness at all times, and learning to have empathy for her and me. It’s been a painful journey without a good mother but I held on to myself, gathered as many tools as I could, welcomed as many women who embraced me and helped me along, and here I am--a worthy and happy woman that’s a work in progress--without a longing to belong to a mom because I belong to myself. The price for re-mothering myself was the highest price I’ve paid yet and worth it. I stood in front of my mom and quietly mourned for the young kid in her formative years that needed her. I deserved to have a loving mother that should have taught me to be a young adult, but it was beyond her capability.

I have friends that feel sorry for me when I tell them that I don’t have a relationship with my mom. At which point, I look at them with a look of, “it’s really for my best interest.” These friends have great relationships with their moms and I see why they would miss them terribly if they stop speaking, but I’ve never had that. There’s no point in my life that my mom made me feel safe and supported. It’s taken six months after our meeting last year to be at peace with the closure of our non-relationship. It’s great to feel alive and vulnerable and free from ever needing her approval or attention. I’m grateful to her for giving birth to me and for forcing me to re-mother myself. Happy Mother’s Day to the brave women who had the courage to re-mother yourselves, so that you could freely breathe life into the broken parts of yourselves that your mother's left behind. You’re not alone

In hope, I am fearless.


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