Letting go of you and Surrendering to the flow

Mother, all these years, I have lived in the constant fear of a curse if I dared to name our relationship for what it truly is. No one is supposed to taint the myth of the holy mother, even if it means the child spends a lifetime in agony.

« Honour thy father and thy mother, » isn’t it what is said?

There is a curse, indeed. But not the way people have imagined it. The curse is the constant craving to be seen, chosen, and protected. The curse is in the wandering of a child who navigates a dark world with no lighthouse light. Longing for a type of bond only a mother could give and carry a distorted road map of what true Love is.

Countless times I have hoped to see my worth in strangers’ eyes, holding on to every connection that gives me hope to find the essence of motherly Love. A wound that I will carry forever. And this is where the curse lies.

Mother, I am finally ready to cut the cord. I release you from the heavy burden of motherhood and all the expectations I had placed upon it. I can’t keep holding you as my oppressor. I can’t spend a lifetime mourning my lost childhood. I can care for myself now; I can protect myself now. So, I leave you free to be.

Everyone asks me to forgive you. But what I want them to teach me is how to forgive someone who never stopped hurting you and keep doing so because you dare to exist, think and choose for yourself. People believe what I feel is anger. But that is not true. What I feel is sadness—lost in the « Why » questions. Knowing that the answer will never make sense. As long as I look at you as my mum.

I need to let go of the mother. It is the only way I could hold a loving place for you in my heart. When I look at you as a fellow woman, with your own journey, your own story, your wounds, your need to be seen and to find security in your own way, then only I can empathize with the human. Then only I can feel your own sadness and loss. Then only I could say: « I understand. I care. »

I often think of the day I accidentally stepped on my daughter’s foot with my shoes. This hurt her a lot. I felt horrible and said sorry too many times. I told her I didn’t mean to hurt her and hoped she knew. She looked at me surprised and said: « I know, mom. Why would my mom ever want to hurt me intentionally? »

Her answer brought tears to my eyes. Because I never had that certainty in my heart. Instead, I have always wondered why my mum could get so comfortable hurting me and why she would consistently allow others to do so. I have always asked myself if it was because she did not believe me or because she thought I deserved it. Indeed, the answer will never make sense as long as I see you as my mum.

I have felt the sweet embrace of Love once in a while. What I know of Love now is that it embraces without expectation of perfection. What I know of Love is that it doesn’t make you feel consistently lost, abandoned, insecure or hurt. Love is not something you deserve. Love is a gift, an offering.

I am grateful that my daughter never has to walk through life wondering if she feels safe around me. And I love that for her. This is my gift to her gift—a greater gift when I can offer something I myself never had.

So many have made me feel guilty. So many have lost a parent, forcing their hopes or grief on me. So many have known a relationship of another nature, forcing their experience on me. So many have been in denial, resisting the mirror that I am to their reality.

They keep telling me to be more grateful for the gift of life, and I have always wondered about that. It comes with the assumption life is something that I wanted in the first place, that life is inherently a gift or that everyone experienced it as such.

There is a difference between living and feeling alive, being human and humanity. To be human is to feel. Most of the time, all I want is to stop feeling, feeling through my body, feeling through my senses, feeling too much. I hate being a human.

A few weeks ago, I came across a childhood poem of mine. Back then, I wrote, « The real punishment is not death as they say in church. The real punishment is to live. » Being born in this world never felt like a gift to me. Instead, my childhood was fuelled with angry one-sided conversations with God, asking him why he made me come here… again?

But don’t you worry, I won’t kill myself. Like  Akwaeke Emezi would say, ” I am best at keeping myself alive”. I have been on this awkward dance with life for a moment now. We have stepped on each other feet. We have disagreed on who will lead the dance. We actually never agreed to be dance partners in the first place. But, with time, we learned to tame each other as we heard the whisper of the music master say: “Surrender to the flow, surrender to the flow. It is the only way.“ And I obeyed. I surrender, breaking open.


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