The holidays can be hard on those that don't have the most amazing relationships with their family members (raises hand).
It's crazy what an outpouring I've gotten from other people who have issues with their moms. So I'm going to share more of my story, although it's hard, it seems to be helpful to others.
My parents divorced when I was 5 or 6. The memories I have from those years when they were married were terrible. I was for sure in an extremely toxic environment.
My mom worked at a bank, at the time, in a small town in Texas called Crosby, we legit only had a Walmart and a Sonic (add in “one stoplight” to make me sound like a real hick). She was introduced to someone’s brother while working and ended up getting engaged and uprooting my older brother and I to Oklahoma. I didn't know this guy, pretty sure my mom didn't have us spend much time with him, yet to Oklahoma we went with a stranger.
The first few years were okay, but somehow my mother once again managed to get us in another bind. Moving frequently due to her inability to be financially responsible was a strain on everyone. She ended up getting another divorce. After divorce number two is when my life really started to spiral. The things that I experienced, no child should ever have to.
I was probably around 13 at the time, she went through a phase where she would leave me by myself, I would never know where she was or when she was coming back. When she wanted to be gone more often is when things got weird..she started leaving me her car (yes, at the young age of 13/14). At the time my brother was living with my Mom's second husband (probably to avoid my mom’s crazy) so it was just me, doing whatever the heck I wanted, because I had zero parental supervision.
Fast forward maybe a year or two and my mom meets yet another guy (probably from the internet, I still have zero idea). She comes home one day and tells me that I’m moving again. Do what?!?! I had never met this man either, history keeps repeating itself. I expressed my concern to my mom. She didn't care, she never cared.
We packed up our tiny apartment and I moved into another man's home. He was terrible. I don't think terrible even describes this trash bag well enough. He was a drunk and a smoker (like 12 packs a day INSIDE his house, okay I don't really know how many cigarettes, but this shit was constant), he was rude, he was loud, he was obnoxious, he was hateful, he was everything you wouldn’t want your child to be around. Yet here I was.
I didn't live there long. After a tremendous amount of verbal abuse from my mom's Prince Charming of a THIRD husband (disgusting, not the third husband part because hell, maybe I’ll be there one day, but just his grossness in general) and the borderline personality peaks and valleys of my mother, they kicked me out. I'm sure she would tell you a totally different story because that's what it’s like living with a Borderline individual. My mom had me painted in her head as a horrible, rebellious, disrespectful teenager which was the furthest thing from the truth. I was a hard worker, made good grades, and was respectful of adults. Was I sassy? Of course, I am who I am.
I was 16 working at an Italian restaurant in Tulsa, having to support myself to make it through my last little bit of high school. I didn't tell very many people this happened. Only a handful of friends knew I was living on my own.
When other kids my age were going home to a happy family who cared for them, I went home to my apartment, and wondered if I was going to have enough money to keep going. My worries as a teenager were much different than my peers. I didn't let anyone on to my problems though. I've always been prideful. I knew I could make it, and I did. I graduated high school, applied to college, and ended up graduating in 3 years with my first bachelor’s degree (thank you chip on my shoulder for making me like a female version of Eminem). “Success is my only motherfucking option, failures not.” I always thought I was a little hood.
My relationship with my mom after I graduated college still wasn't great, but I was learning how to navigate her (finally, over 20 years later). This woman seriously never liked me. People tell me, "there is no way your mom didn't like you, parents aren’t like that." I'm here to tell you there are parents like that. Some days when I see girls on social media shopping with their mom or going home for the holidays, I get little pings of hurt in my heart. I haven't talked to my mother since Thanksgiving of 2015, I honestly can't tell you why she won't talk to me, but she doesn't. I think it's healthier for me to not have a relationship with her though. I can say I don't care for her, I don't miss her, I honestly don't even know her.
Now at 33 looking back, I have no idea how I made it to where I am now, but I'm proud as hell of myself. I always made the right decisions for me (probably because I had to, to survive). I kept my virginity until I was way old and out of college, I never did drugs, I did drink (but what college kid didn't). I chose to make the right life decisions for me because I had such a fantastic example of how not to be (my mother).
Working in infertility and seeing how much these couples want children was sometimes hard on me, coming from a mother who never wanted me, but it also inspired me to help these women get a gift that I knew they would actually cherish.
So when you look at the seemingly happy pictures of me on social media, know that my heart is a little bit harder than others, my childhood was not picture perfect, my teenager years were challenging, but I persevered.
If the holidays are hard on you, I understand. If you've lived more than you should have at a young age, I understand that too. My life hasn’t always been sugar plums and candy canes, but if it wasn’t for my experiences, I wouldn’t be who I am today. In a way, I’m grateful for everything that has challenged me, even if at the time I thought it was going to be what broke me.