Archive for self care

Are you ok?

Posted in come back, empowerment, Mom, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 24, 2021 by runmyssierun

I credit my mother with super hero vision powers. She saw me. She could see through my words. She could see through my actions. She saw me when I couldn’t see what was right in front of me and when I was still trying to see who I was inside.

When I was in 6th grade, she got me a Judy Blume diary. She encouraged me to write down my feelings and express myself. It was difficult and took a while to catch on but deep down I knew it helped me.

I come from a family, a region and a culture that is predominantly Hispanic, stereotypically machismo and in my mother’s eyes had clearly hurt her daughter (and I feel had hurt my mother even more harshly). She and I were both raised in a culture where women were submissive, were unworthy of valued opinions, used for sexual entertainment, reproduction and daily maid services. she was a child of the 60’s — where the sexual revolution and women’s rights were promoted. I was a child of the 80’s — where latchkey GenX kids were left by themselves with highly processed foods, pop rocks, lawn jarts, Saturday morning cartoons and MTV because both parents either worked and were never home or were divorced and never home and forced their children to live out of a duffle bag as they jumped from house to house for visitation rights or were forced to live with grandparents until one parent could get their act together. My mother’s super hero 20/20 vision could see the conflicting messages both our generations were served in the world we were both raised in. Teaching me to journal was her way of empowering me with a voice to express my innermost feelings, something I think she may have struggled with herself as a child.

When I was a teenager, I endured chronic sexual trauma – this verbiage was carefully chosen to use, deleted and then reinserted again because I feel the words are both shockingly harsh and yet scientifically sterile and numbing (all feelings that correlate perfectly to the experience). The guilt and shame that came from it was nothing compared to the feelings I had later, after I had the courage to speak up and tell the two most trusted people in my life about it and then get blamed for it. So I locked it up inside of me. My mom saw me. She saw through me. I think deep down inside she knew something was terribly wrong so she arranged for me to speak to a psychiatrist. The term codependent entered my head and never left after that.

I remember a book shoved towards the bottom of our hall closet. It was called “Men who hate women and the women who love them”. My mom read tons of books daily… all of them Harlequin romance novels. So this book stood out even though she tried to hide it. All her other books were on a built in book shelf in her bedroom. But this one was hidden. And told me she struggled in the same ways I did. Did she recognize this in me in my early years? Did she see how I was always trying to impress my parents? Did she see how defeated I was when I never seemed to impress my father? Did she see the hurt in my eyes as I saw how bored, annoyed and agitated he was having to watch my ballet performance or piano recitals? I think she did. I think she recognized her own younger self in me as well. I wish I had remembered this sooner.

Your brain protects you as you try to heal from hurt by blocking certain memories until you’re able to deal with them. I feel stronger now, ten years later and now am remembering more and more. I wake up more often with bad dreams now but vividly remember them and I think this is my head telling my heart that I’m ready to deal. Memories of my mom encouraging me to write it all down and seek help – still in a family and society that keeps secrets – is making me feel like she’s giving me permission to push beyond cultural stigma. The really awesome thing about this is that if I talk about seeking ways to improve my mental health and being ok with it may empower someone else reading this to do the same. Are you ok? Because if you’re not, it’s ok to ask for help to become ok. Sometimes we can’t do it all by ourselves. Having a picture perfect Instagram or a to die for bikini body or fabulously waxed sports car isn’t all that if your mental health is mush. Priorities baby. Are you ok?

%d bloggers like this: