For whatever reason, my Mom won't read my blog. I understand she has her own reasons, and maybe very good ones, but I don't understand it and at times it is upsetting to me.
1) My blog is my passion, my feelings, my life's work on paper. It's something I love doing and feel like I am good at. It's very personal to me and I think it's an ultimate expression of who I am at my core, where I come from, and what shapes my beliefs. Yet she won't read it. It makes me feel like there is a whole part of me that she doesn't want to know and doesn't love.
2) She says that people whose opinions she respects tell her not to read it because it would be painful for her. That may be absolutely true. My initial hospitalization was very difficult for the whole family and I think it really traumatized Mom. But I think as long as she ignores that whole chapter it will still traumatize her. I have dealt with those memories and processed them through writing and as a result the pain from that time has subsided for me. It's a memory she and I could work through together, a wound that has healed in me and that could heal in her too.
3) There are times in the blog, not many but some, where I find fault with what she believes or what she has taught me about religion. I think Mom and I could only grow in our respect for each other if we could talk about that dissension. I'm sure there are times David Sedaris' parents don't love what he writes about them, but I bet they read it nonetheless. There are things we all don't like about our parents, but through communication comes understanding and compassion, on both sides.
4) I think, okay, what if I am the worst person in the whole world. What if I am Hitler or Charles Manson. What if what I write about is heretical, criminal, hateful (I really don't think it is, right?). But for argument's sake let's just say I rate up there with those devils. Didn't their moms still want to know what was going on in their brains? Didn't Hitler's mom want to see his artwork? I wonder, did Martin Luther's mom ignore his thesis because it was revolutionary and scary and went against everything she believed? On the other hand, what if I am some kind of soothsayer or sage, what if I am Albert Einstein....an eccentric but smart iconoclast, someone who thinks way outside the traditional box. Wouldn't his mom want to learn about his creations? I think I am actually somewhere in between Hitler and Einstein, so in that case, what's the harm in her reading the blog?
5) Mom always says she wishes she knew more about my bipolar illness. She wishes she knew how my fractured brain worked, what the warning signs of mania are, and how to react. Read the blog, Mom, and you will learn about my brain. You will see my post about fear and anguish or sleeplessness and suicide and you will instantly know if I am having trouble and need help. There is no quicker way for her to get inside my bipolar brain than for her to read what I write. She's a big proponent of reading what other bipolar authors write about their own struggles....why not mine?
6) There are some things I really respect about Mom's religious viewpoints. There are some things from her Catholic upbringing that shaped me and that I hold dear in spite of my skepticism for organized religion. Some of Mom's spiritual insights move and inspire me. I like to learn more about her world view. So when, on the rare occasion, we talk about religion, I enjoy the discussion. But often, she will say, "Why do you think that way Hilary? Where did you come up with that conclusion? What molded your perspective on religion?" If she read the blog she would understand answers to these questions. It's not something I can describe in a 2 minute conversation. So I feel like I am having to get her up to speed on my philosophy of life when it's all laid out before her in this blog.
Although I think her refusal to read my blog is shortsighted, it's her prerogative. I can't make her read it. I know that. I just think that if she died tomorrow there would be a huge chunk of me she would not know, a huge chunk that other people I've never even met do know about me. That makes me sad. My writing is a beautiful part of who I am, and many of you tell me you enjoy and appreciate what I write. I know I am helping those out there struggling with mental illness, and her friends have told her as much. Mom has in fact told me that she is proud of what I am offering to other people, but I guess reading the blog herself might blind her.....she'd rather hear second or third hand reports of my work. I hate that she is missing out on this special light I shine. I hope in time she can muster the strength or courage or calm or curiosity to read what I write. I don't ask her to agree with what I write, at all. I just ask that she look at me, all of me.
I would say this to parents out there: no matter how bizarre your child's tastes are, no matter how perplexing their beliefs, no matter how confusing their passion in this life, pay attention. Whether they love Sarah Palin or Spongebob, homosexuality or homicide, Al Green or Al-Qaeda, find out more about where that love comes from. Be curious about your children and what they hold dear. It will let them know you love them no matter what, and you may just learn something about yourself in the process.
Thanks to all my readers out there who are curious, and who do care about what moves me. You mean a lot to me.
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I think your blog says in every which way that you have one of the most wonderful mothers ever. Sometimes just moving on rather than getting bogged in the past, enables the captain to keep the ship sailing.ReplyDelete
Moreover, people of your mother's generation who have been raised Catholic, have embedded in their brains some very definite ideas about religion that are there in cement and should not be messed with.
Your mother knows who you are and what you think and loves you more than life itself. Be comforted by that.