Definition of Optimism

18 Jul

My mother is as fragile as I am strong.  She is disturbed by the mere hint of lack of control and enraged by the smallest of offenses.  Looking through childhood mementos, I’m struck by how most of my cards begin with “I’m sorry.”  There in crayon, ink pen and marker, is my continual need to apologize for my lack of perfection, for my inability to meet her standards and promises I will do better next time.  The funny thing is as I sit and compose these words, I never feel any anger.  There might have been rage at one point due to my confusion as to why she could never see the person I really am, but it has long since faded.  Her constant stream of criticism has become a white noise and so comical, it is funny at times.  To be that miserable, I think, how utterly sad.

I moved across states to escape her scrutiny.  She took task with my hair, my clothing, my parenting and my life.  I was too different, I realize.  As a child I stepped away from her and never went back.  I became self-reliant and no longer needed her affection or love.  I stopped apologizing.  Her approval was no longer needed.  Despite her criticisms, I lived a life full of love, laughter and adventure.  I raised a daughter who laughs with me and opens her heart without fear of rebuke.

Instead of being angry, I have pity now.  I was laughing with my father, and she walked into the room.  She immediately began lashing out against us, and instead of being upset, I continued smiling.  We are no longer trapped in the vicious cycle of her berating and me placating.  I am not her.  I will never be.  Yet, I will be grateful for the lessons she did teach me.  I do not want to waste one more moment of my life wishing it was different.  Wishing I was different.  I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and exactly who I’m supposed to be right now.  Always subject to change.

One day, she’ll look back and regret (maybe she already does) her life wasted in negativity.  Maybe one day she’ll look in a photo album and wished in that one captured moment she had been smiling or laughing or happy.  Maybe she’ll look at her daughters, her grandchildren and her doting husband and realize how lucky she is.  I doubt it.  But I’m optimistic.

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5 Responses to “Definition of Optimism”

  1. Nancy Merriman July 18, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Does your mother read your stuff, even if it pisses her off, she should be proud of your talent. Moments piece was great.

  2. Cold Dead Heart July 18, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    lol…no my mother doesn’t read my stuff. She has never read anything I’ve written actually. Yes, it would piss her off, but it doesn’t stop me. Thank you for your comments and your compliments.

  3. Kavita July 18, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    A mindblowing read!
    I am sure she is proud of you, and she that THAT was her way of showing how much she cared, of showing how much potential you have in yourself… I think it was very brave of her!
    And I think it is very sweet of you to understand all of his, and love her for who she is…
    A fantastic (and kinda moving) piece!!!

  4. 47whitebuffalo July 20, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    LOL—my mother would even be able to find my stuff–and that’s probably just as well. But–I noted the ‘except my mother’ at the top of your page and well–the dark humor of it just struck me as I was reading your list of wonderful things then your post about being optimistic.
    Ten thumbs up to YOU!

    • Cold Dead Heart July 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

      Thank you very much ….let’s hope she never finds out…lol

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