I spent most of my childhood feeling distant from my mother. Though we look a lot a like (A LOT), our personalities could not be more different. My mother is from Jersey; one in a family of nine; She is loud and she has a laugh that can fill a room. She’s never afraid to say whatever is on her mind–whether it be good or bad. (This is usually prolematic when it comes to dining at restaurants.) She lacks what my father and I call a “filter.” Thoughts just flow straight from the brain and out of her mouth. It’s a personality that you either love for its honest (sometimes brutal) truth, or hate. I remember lowering my head in embarassment on more than one occassion. I kinda hated it.
Middle school and high school were strange times for me. (They are strange for everyone though, right?) We didn’t talk about boys. We never had a sex talk. We didn’t talk about what it is like to become a woman. In fact, I could barely stomach the idea of asking her to help me buy a pad when I got my period. We did however do the usual mother-daughter stuff: shopping for formal dresses, shoes and getting manicures and pedicures. Somehow that open and honest person had difficulty communicating with me. I just figured that she didn’t “get” me…that our personalities were too different for us to ever become best friends.
That began to change after the start of my quarter life crisis. Our conversations became more open. We talked about money, men and meaning. We discussed religion, race and romance. I started to realize that we were not so different after all. I saw her in a new light.
Her lack of a “filter” simply means that she always lives her truth because she is never afraid to speak it. Wow. I wish it had not taken me 20-something years to appreciate that.
Now, as I continue on this journey through my quarter life crisis, that trait of her’s that use to cause me to lower my head in shame? I covet it. The people pleaser inside of me often bites her tongue. She is afraid to ask for her own needs to be met. She lets others dictate how she is to live her life.
I do not think that I will ever get rid of my own filter. It is a part of me, and it is actually useful at times. But I do want to be a little more like Mom.
I want to be comfortable enough with myself that I can walk out of the front door each morning and say, “Hello World. This is me. Love me, or hate me. This. is. me.”
(photo: my family and me standing outside our house a few days before my son was due…I think I went to the hospital that day.)