I could never say that this was the very first time that I had an altercation on everyone’s favorite social media site but I think it will end up becoming the most memorable. I try not to engage in most of the insanity that is sharing any sort of opinion on Facebook, I do, as there is just something about sitting behind a computer screen that makes people get all ballsy, ya know? All up in your face like Mike Tyson trying to defend a heavyweight belt over every minor issue that there is. If there is an opposing viewpoint to anything that you think or feel…Facebook will let you know all about it. Some random person that you talked to twice in Algebra II will promptly remind you when, why, and how your opinion is, in fact, the most horrifically incorrect idea to ever grace the interwebs. Mahi Mahi is NOT the best fish that there is. Halibut it! And 9 people will “like” this while you wrinkle your nose in disgust and attempt to hide your phone from yourself so that you do not feel the need to go all Jerry McGuire (“I’m not going to do what everyone thinks I’m gonna do and….FLIP OUT”) about it.
What? Only me?
But I really do attempt to keep the boxing bell from going off too frequently. I like to think of the site and as fun way to spy on people…not a soapbox to spout my political or religious beliefs from. That’s why I blog. Yet alas, it still happens. And every single time that it does, I always wonder how I got here. How I ended up being the bad guy when all I was doing was sharing such an innocuous opinion that I never claimed was a fact in the first place. But this one isn’t that. This one really made me think on a larger scale; think about the human condition (which we all know is my favorite subject to contemplate). I couldn’t help but want to share.
This was the original comment (Warning: Potty mouth alert):
So, my mom tried to talk me out of grad school last night, saying that most universities require Phd’s to teach now. She kept asking me what I was going to do with a Master’s degree anyway. I basically told her that I can either go back to school or just fuck around and drink myself into a coma in this shithole town. I think she just likes to annoy me about things, and she’s out of things to nag about…
To which someone replied:
Sounds like a typical mom. Mine is a narcissistic, shallow, temper tantrum throwing, narrow minded person. I just told her recently about how she has been a bad grandmother and listed the reasons why. Her reply was that she is disappointed in me and hopefully one day I will get past it.
Which brought about this comment (which was totally not me, I swear):
Ya know what, [name]…
I don’t know your mom, but that’s a pretty disrespectful thing to put on FB about her no matter what.
Just remember, something happens to her, you can’t take that back. Sorry. I couldn’t sit back for that one. I’m not mom of the year…we do what we can with what we have. Let’s see how your children feel about you in 20yrs.
Now, let us remember that I am not one to openly attack another person but I agreed with the above comment. I lost a lot of years being angry at my own mother for being flawed. I lost her -forever- two short weeks after I gave birth to my son– after I truly understood what it was like to love a child as a “work in progress”. I will never get that time back, of course, but I did want to say something, to share that experience in some way…and I thought whatever I said had to be less offensive than the above comment, right? Right?
All mothers are flawed. As adults, especially those of us that are parents ourselves, see how imperfect we are…so it is impossible to blame our parents for their mistakes (and yes, some of us had some super-flawed ones). But [above comment] couldn’t be more correct in the fact that one day they won’t be there and -no matter what had happened in the past- we miss them terribly. Maybe they aren’t perfect…but no one will ever love you like your mom. Ever.
Now let’s remember the chick above me called her out like a bad puppy who peed on the carpet. I tried to put forth some sage words of wisdom while expressing that I, myself, had dealt with and (eventually) thrived from flawed parenting. I thought I handled it in a way that was kind. No, I don’t know her entire story…but she doesn’t know mine, either, and I come from a place of good intentions. And, as usual when it comes to how people will respond on Facebook, I was dead ass wrong.
Without responding to the girl above me, I got this response:
Sorry Amber, I have to disagree on this one with you. Just because someone gave birth to you doesn’t make them excusable for all the wrong they did. My grandmother and great aunt practically raised me. They weren’t perfect but they did a far better job at being second moms to me. Losing my grandmother devastated me in a way that losing my mom would not. She had no interest or regard for her children. I agree with Chris on this matter. My bother verged on being criminally neglectful. So many people judge me for feeling the way I do and if it was only a matter of my childhood it would be different but now it extends down to how she was and is with my children. I envy those that had a more normal mom. Flaws I can take but my circumstances go beyond that. For those of you had good moms, I am happy for you and wish I could say I felt the same for my mom as maybe some of you do
Then I bit my lip and stepped away because, truthfully, I didn’t have a crazy normal childhood and certainly not an enviable one. But then it occured to me that I wasn’t judging her…I felt an immense sadness for her. I felt bad for her because having residual anger toward your parents in your thirties and forties is nothing short of toxic. It stunts you mentally and emotionally and holding those grudges will eat your heart alive without you even knowing it and make it virtually impossible for your soul to ever heal; to ever be able to love fully again.
I know, because I used to live there.
Everyone’s parents are human beings. Some were great, some were not, and some tried their best. Some gave up. Some should never should have been parents at all…but they are people who lived a lifetime that we don’t know about before they had us. I spent so many years blaming my parents for everything that happened to me in my childhood. I let it eat at me, let it color my (terrible) decisions.
It wasn’t until I was older (and a tiny bit wiser) that I truly realized that they had a childhood, too.
Look, I know that there are truly terrible people in the world. It exists. But another thing that I believe is that it is rarer (notice I said “rarer” and am not speaking in absolutes) to find people that behave abhorrently for absolutely no reason at all. Evil for the sake of evil. But that is just an opinion. It also helped me to move on from my past and see my parents as people and not just parents. They were just two incredibly flawed people that did what they could. It wasn’t always enough for me as a little girl, but as an adult I knew that it wasn’t easy for them emotionally to be parents.
So I forgave them. Why? Because I am not that little girl anymore and -albeit imperfectly- it made me who I am today.
Forgiving your parents is freedom. It is the freedom to love yourself no matter what you came from, freedom to be open enough to love with your whole heart since you are not bogged down with cumbersome resentment, and freedom to stand up on your own two feet and be accountable for all that you do because the only person responsible for your actions is you. And I felt truly sorry for the girl on Facebook that can’t get there. The moment that I forgave my mother and saw her as a person…we were finally able to have a real relationship as friends.
Being able to move forward from your childhood -good or bad- is the best gift that you could ever give yourself.
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.