After work, I’m heading out for a beer for Tim’s roommate Ryan’s birthday before we get on the road for the beach. I’m mostly apprehensive about the whole trip, but part of me is still really excited. My relationship with my family leaves gatherings unpredictable. I get my stubbornness from my dad, and he really knows how to push my buttons. I try not to take the bait, but sometimes I really lose my shit with him. It’s one of those situations in which I feel as though I can’t ever ‘win’. He will always find something that I did wrong or a way to make fun of me. I’m very, very sensitive, so I know I often overreact. Sometimes, we’re totally fine and he is the best and I swear I am a “daddy’s girl”.
As for my mom… well, that’s a whole other story, but similar in some veins. Sometimes, she is my best friend. We email or text all day, she confides in me and so forth. But sometimes? She is really my worst enemy. As I’ve become less censored here and more comfortable talking about well, mostly everything, I’m sure it’s quite evident that I deal with a lot of self-loathing. For a long time, it was more self-deprecating, but as of recent times, it switched gears. It’s annoying. Sometimes, I fight it, sometimes I let it consume me, and my head is just filled with negativity. I think one of the hardest things for me to do is to let go. I hold on to insults, I take things personally, and I am constantly putting myself down.
When I was at my parents earlier this month, I noticed something that I hadn’t picked up on before. While we were waiting for my dad to get ready (some things never change), my mom called me to the top of the stairs. “Kelly! Does this dress make me look fat?” My mother is almost 53 and is in really, really good shape. No, she did not look fat. “Are you sure? I feel like this makes my hips look gigantic!” No, Mom, you look beautiful, as always.
Then when we were at the party, we took a group picture. “Let me see! Ugh, my arm looks HUGE”. And so on. For the rest of the night. When I look at that picture, I never noticed my mom’s arm. I noticed all of us laughing and looking genuinely happy.
Yet, this is how I act. And no, I don’t blame my mom. She was the baby of four and they used to call her a terrible nickname because she was “chubby”. The sad thing is, she wasn’t even. Her siblings were all just stick thin. And still are.
Every time I go home, I hear her. “I didn’t even eat lunch today!” or “I’m fine; I had a hard-boiled egg for breakfast.” It’s so hard not to compare myself to her, because I feel like she is constantly criticizing me. When I was home for Easter, that Saturday, I ran 13 miles and did a body pump class with her and my dad. Later that afternoon, I was hungry, so I went downstairs for a snack. I couldn’t find anything I really wanted, so I stood at the counter, munching on graham crackers I found in the cabinet.
“I can’t believe you’re eating those.”
“Why? I’m hungry.”
“I just have never seen anyone eat as terribly as you do. It really worries me.”
“Mom, I eat generally very healthy most of the time. There are limited options here, so I’m just eating these.”
“You could have brought your own food or gone to the grocery store.”
“I’m in town for 48 hours. Packing food wasn’t a primary concern.”
“Well, I’m really worried about you.”
“Okay, Mom, well you’re really upsetting me, so I’d appreciate if you’d stop. I’m 27 years old. I can take care of myself.”
“Well you’re upsetting me. I’m just so concerned.”
“I’m going to leave the room because you are really, really hurting my feelings.”
Obviously, that isn’t exactly what happened word for word, but it’s an accurate recap. She did email me a few days later and apologize. But come on. It really hurt me that she said that. And other times? She is making giant pancakes or ordering pizza for us, and we’re drinking cocktails on the back porch and life is grand. I just don’t get it. And people wonder why I have such awful anxiety.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to go off like that. I started writing this last week before I was sidetracked by lack of running and having a nervous breakdown. There are some things I’m really excited about. I’m pretty sure I haven’t been to OCNJ in a decade, so I am looking forward to visiting again. I also can’t wait to show Tim around, and eat some delicious pizza and maybe rent a surrey?
If you’re still with me, the cat’s out of the bag and I’m going to be writing for the local newspaper’s website! I’m excited.
Sorry this is a novel. I may check in later this week if I’m bored.