My Mother and I
I don’t know what my therapist would make of this, but I’ll tell you a story.
I’m seven years old and my little sister Noor, is a baby. I love her so much, so much that I carry her anytime and everywhere, as possible as my small hands will allow. I’m not very good with kids and this is evidenced from a young age but it doesn’t matter because I love Noor. I am in our old house, and I’m carrying Noor but my hands are tired. So I place Noor on the banisters while holding her tightly. I didn’t think it through. It seemed okay. My mum comes out, her room directly beside the stairs and notices Noor on the banisters and everything is a bit of a blur but Noor is no longer on the railings and I’m being screamed at. I’m apologizing. But my mum beat me so hard that day, with God knows what that I had marks on my face for years to come.
To be honest, my mum beating me was painful. But even more painful was that she didn’t listen to me as I genuinely apologized. How could I hurt my baby sister? I love her. I don’t remember the things she said, but I remember how she made me feel. Like a problem child. And I remember the marks on my face bleeding, thinking “Why?”
Then I wondered how I’d explain this to my classmates in school.
I’ll tell you another story.
I’m older now, more rebellious. A true problem child, I suppose. My brother is annoying me and I’m convinced he’s a goat and gets away with it because he’s a boy. My mum and I are shouting at each other now. I say something rude, something now that I genuinely don’t remember. But the look on my mum’s face is enough to let me know that I’m in soup. She takes a rolling pin to me and beats me so much she breaks my jaw. I am not hurt this time. Just livid. How dare she?
How dare she?
My mother apologizes both instances. The first time, I can’t remember the nature of the apology but I remember that only the child in me could muster up such a reply.
“You’ll always be my mum. I love you. It’s okay”
Adult Aaisha could never.
But the second time, as she tells me she’s sorry she broke my jaw, but not sorry she beat me, I mutter “It’s okay” with a mouth full of heavy wires to hold my teeth together. I’m angry, but the anger is tempered down by something in me that’s sure I deserved it.
As I write this story, I’m crying.
The child in me is still present in some ways, and I still love my mum very much. But it is not okay. Things are not okay.
There have been so many times my mum could and should have not hurt me, and should have shielded me from the world. From my father. But she didn’t and that destroys me everytime I think about it.
This year, I told my mum how she makes me want to kill myself. How when I think of her, sometimes I want to end myself. And she got angry at me for that. To be honest, it hurt. I was surprised. Now, I’m reconciling parts of myself. I’m forcing myself to heal without her apologies or my need for her to love me the way I want to be loved. It’s hard, but I have no doubt it’s possible.
I’ll tell you one last story.
I’m fifteen. My mum and I are fighting. We fight so much these days that it feels like second nature. I’m as ready for her as she’s ready for me. In the heat of the argument, the peak of it, she tells me “I hate you so much. I don’t wish any good for you Aaisha”. I’m stunned. I am not expecting this. This curse follows me throughout my late teenage years and university days. There are nights I am depressed and in despair and this curse is a mountain on my chest because I am sure I deserve all ill that comes to me. I am sure it is because of this curse.
I wish I could tell you I have found closure. But I haven’t. Perhaps one day, but right now I’m moving through life knowing that it’s so difficult but I can live without the closure. Not because I want to, but because I have to.