Personal Public Service Announcement: Mother’s Day

Late-March into May is a difficult time for me. It’s when my e-mail accounts (personal and professional) slowly become flooded with Mother’s Day prompts. Last year, I deleted roughly sixty companies from my regular list because it was obnoxious and triggering. I wish I’d deleted more. This year, I almost certainly will do my best to thin the herd a bit further. As I began typing, several e-mails popped up on two separate accounts. Bye-bye Edible Arrangements. 

If you’re new, allow me to explain… I lost both of my parents within five months of each other. I am a Motherless Daughter.

At the start of this year, I lost everything I owned. That’s not an exaggeration, either. Someplace, somewhere, someone has my incredibly expensive underwear, 99.9% of my jewelry, and everything I held incredibly dear, family photos being at the top of my list. So the constant e-mail reminders about Mother’s Day and articles with headlines like, “What Your Mother Would Love This Mother’s Day!” are merely reminders of the missing pieces of my soul. I do NOT need additional reminders; I live with the pain every single day of my life.

On any given day, it is quite common for friends or relatives to mention their mothers or families to me. I don’t think anything of it; it’s normal conversation. Several, like me, lost their mothers way too early and they understand my pain, just as I understand theirs. Others are dealing with aging and/or sick parents and I understand their frustration, exhaustion, and all the things that accompany the caregiver/caretaker role many of us take on, whether we realize it or not. We are the ones who work so much harder than anyone else realizes, and at least in my case, people let it be known that they disapproved. All of those people can go to hell. 

Those who so clearly take their parents for granted piss me off. They are the ones who don’t realize that not everyone’s parents can drop everything and come running, especially from out of state. Some people’s parents actually work for a living. Not everyone’s parents can walk your dog four times a day, babysit for you, rush your sick pet to the vet because you can’t leave work, or drop everything and suddenly appear on your doorstep “just because”. If you are a member of what I’ve just described, you don’t have permission to talk. Those are my rules. Yes, I am serious. You are not on my wavelength. One day you will be, but not now. 

Twice in the past seven months a friend has said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. You must hate me because I still have a mother.” The first time I blew it off; My friend meant absolutely NOTHING by it. She was not trying to be cruel in the least. The second time, I was DEEPLY offended and wanted to knock the person’s head clean off their shoulders with an extremely sharp sword. Their comment involved an insinuation which revolved around jealousy, thus my reaction. I mean, my jaw was almost on the floor listening to what was said. I assure you I do not feel jealousy in the least. I don’t want someone else’s mother. That is completely preposterous and downright laughable. My mother? You cannot compete with her or replace her, and so few of you knew her, so please shut the fuck up.

Social media, at times, is a breeding ground for showing off. If I share something, please be assured that I am in no way “showing off”. That’s not who I am. On occasion, a friend or loved one will do something amazingly kind/loving for me and I’ll think twice about sharing it. I ask myself, “Is this appropriate?”, “Is this going to hurt someone’s feelings?”, “What is my intent by sharing this?” I give it deeper thought before I share; I don’t just post and pretend life is perfect. I write about very real subject matter, and my Instagram account is chock full of honesty, humor, outrage, thought-provoking moments, and little to no ego. I’m not there to collect “likes” and I don’t buy my followers. I’m just a girl living her life the best way she knows how. I actually removed this site (and my beauty blog) from Instagram because I wanted to be more careful about who was reading my work. I want the right audience for the topics I cover.     

My public persona and my personal life remain incredibly detached from one another. Very few people know the following things: What I look like. My middle name. Exactly where I was born. The names of my parents and/or brother. The names of my cats. My dreams, goals, hopes. My phone number. What’s going on in my personal life, and/or what my plans are for the future. Simply put, social media is not my online journal. I’m not stupid. I’ve talked about boundaries before and they’re CRUCIAL on social media, as well. You may be curious, but that does not mean I owe you an answer or an explanation.

On a regular basis, people make assumptions about me. If I don’t answer someone immediately in the language they’re speaking to me in, I get to hear a derogatory comment that isn’t worthy of a response. Just because someone says it does not mean it is worth repeating. 

Once I’d established myself as a writer, I was informed that I came off as “cocky” and “evasive”. Absolute strangers asking deeply personal questions on a daily basis and somehow I was wrong or “rude” for not answering them. That’s not how real life works. I don’t go up to strangers and ask for a full run down of their life, nor would I ever expect anyone to provide me, a stranger, with such information.

We live in a world where information is bought and sold, and traded. Not everything needs to be discussed or publicized. Sometimes people in my life do outrageously ridiculous things and all I can think is, “When did you become a Kardashian?” Facebook, in particular, needs an eye-roll button. In my case, this means “snoozing” a person every 30 days. Sad, but true. I don’t want my feed flooded with nonsense.

I digress, but I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m saying.

Losing my mother was like losing a limb. It still is, and the things people say to me are beyond heartless.

“I can’t believe you’re still alive. I’d just DIE without my mother.” Really? One day you’ll be faced with the loss and I am sure you will find a way to survive, I think, but don’t say. Those who ignore your pain and keep talking are just as bad as those who say stupid shit.

When I lost my parents, no one understood how much of a toll it took on me. I had been doing things for others for over 80% of my life, maybe more. Each loss was skipped over, because very few people cared. I have never had time to truly grieve or to focus on my own life because up until recently, I was still very much in the caregiver/caretaker role. Due to caring for my parents, I missed two of my graduations, said “No.” even more than I do now, and have had to come to grips with the fact that I don’t matter to a lot of people. Surprisingly, I am okay with that. Loss shows you who is true and who is fake, and 98% of people turned out to be more than fake. Little of it was a shock to the system.

The first Mother’s Day without my Mom was hard. I remember waiting until late in the day before going grocery shopping with sunglasses on, because I felt terribly raw, vulnerable, and I was determined not to break down in public. Turns out, I was completely invisible to others. No one spoke to me, acknowledged my presence, and not a single person who knew what I was going through called to check on me. Not much has changed. I was then faced with having my parents unveiling soon after. Only five family members showed up. 

This year, I was about to make an appointment when I realized it was on Mother’s Day. Under normal circumstances, I might have included one or two other people so I wouldn’t feel dreadful/completely alone, but I knew these people would want to spend the day with their mothers/children and one in particular is not someone I want to be around at all, so I changed the date of the appointment. Yes, it felt inconvenient as hell, but it was for the best. I put my earbuds in, was able to blast music, and power through it. I don’t have to listen to people’s plans, stories, etc. I can be inside my head and lately, that is both a dangerous, and sometimes safe, place to be. But if is healthier than having a holiday and the loss shoved down my throat like a million razor blades.

I sat and thought about the people in my life, the potential “mother figures”, and realized they are either deceased or do not exist at all. I understand not wanting the responsibility of motherhood, but some people don’t even want to be decent women. I’m not sure which is more disturbing to me (it’s the latter, definitely).

One thing people don’t seem to understand about me is that I am NOT a “cat mother”. Last time I checked, I was fur-free and without a tail. I am an owner, a nurturer, but I am not 50% of their genetic make-up. A few people are deeply offended when I say, “I have cats. They are not my ‘fur kids'”, but it is the truth. They may not see it that way, but that is their issue, not mine.

Yes, I commonly greet them by saying “Hello babies, Mommy’s back.” or “Girls, I’m home.” They are responding to the sound of my voice, not the words I use. I talk to them like people because they’re far more intelligent and because they actually listen, but they are not a “child replacement”, which is true for many who openly admit it. Just because I can keep two cats alive and fed does not mean I don’t want more in my life. It’s a positive sign, but let’s keep it honest, shall we?

I am not a “crazy cat lady” walking around in cat related attire, nor am I someone who is covered in cat hair. I jokingly chase them for cuddles and refer to them as “My property” (Say it like, “My PRECIOUSSSSS!”), which, according to insurance documentation, is exactly what pets are considered. They run from this, especially Cat, but it gives me a giggle. I like my cats. I love them. They’re very good friends and great companions, but yours are questionable. I don’t just go up to other people’s cats, obviously.

So tomorrow, when you’re celebrating or dealing with heartbreak, like I am, keep in mind that there are people in pain; they are not celebrating and don’t care to see you show off on social media when they are suffering. Don’t trigger them the way I’ve been triggered for the past few months.   

 copyright © 2019 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALLTS RESERVED. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. Excerpts and quotes from the material also require consent. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. Further protection is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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