I've never been good enough for my mother. Ever. First, I was fat. Always, save the eating disorder I developed in middle/high school, when I starved myself down to a "normal" weight range. She bullied me about my weight for as long as I can remember. She put me in dance with first my sister Ashley, who is 5 years younger, then my sister Sommer, who is 14 years younger than I am, joined as well when she was old enough. I hated it. I was no good at it. They laughed at the tape of my first recital, when I was 10. You get the picture. The things I was interested in, such as band, just weren't that important to them, ever. They never came to any events. My father never even came to so much as one band concert. They even made me skip solo and ensemble for band to go their stupid out of town dance competitions. Nothing that was important to me was ever important to them. I even had to spend my birthday weekend there one year, at a competition, on my birthday, and I got no cake, no card, no present, nothing.
When my mother found out about the sexual abuse I suffered for 7 years at the hands of my father's (really stepfather's, story for another time) daughter from his first marriage's hands, she blamed me. I was 5 when it started, 12 when it ended. I got into drugs in college round one, eventually dropping out. That lasted through my 20's, even as I galavanted around the nation doing some really good things. She never realized that the abuse was what triggered the self-medication, or maybe she didn't want to, because then she'd realize that she had failed as a mother to protect her child in her own home. After a complete and utter breakdown in which I landed in a psych ward in New York, I came back home, went back to school, and graduated college with a computer science degree. I totally turned my life around, and now I have a great job, money in the bank, and I even do nice things for my parents even though they don't really deserve it after all they put me through.
And, the thing is, nothing has changed. I was reminded of that on Friday. My sister and her fiancee own a food truck, and there's this event every third Friday of every month during the summer here called Food Truck Fridays downtown. Their truck is a part of it, and we all went this past Friday. It was really crowded, and when we were at one of the outdoor tables, a couple came and sat by us. When they started chatting it up, my mother immediately launched into how proud she was of my sister and her business, then, without being prompted, launched into her being assistant director of the dance studio, her job selling legal software, her getting her MBA, and the array of other things that make her so proud.
That's when I realized that no matter what I do, how much money I make, I'll never be good enough for her. I never was. She'll never be proud of me as I am. She'll never brag to strangers about me. I'm the fat one, the gay one, the one with no romantic future she will ever brag about, the one with the job she considers "controversial" (I'm a liberal political writer, and I'm working on my first book). None of my successes matter to her at all. They never have, and they never will. She has never and will never beam with pride about me like that. Ever.
I really have to work on not seeking or needing approval from these people. I'll never get it. I have to, on some deep level, realize that. I'll always be a fat embarrassment to them. Always. I wish I could disappear, but I'm doing the next best thing- planning to move hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles away, without warning them as to what my plans are. I really just wish I could disappear, but I suppose that's the next best thing.