Letters

Dear Moms….You’re Doing A Really Good Job

I’ve been thinking a lot about this stupid fucking over the top super dramatic election that just happened in the United States of America recently.

People keep asking how I am doing and I keep saying “I’m fucking over 2020. I’m done, it can be done now.” And that reminds me of this tattoo I have.

I got it for my former friend and teacher Rachel, to remind me that while she was a teacher to me, she wasn’t a very great friend. I got it to remind myself to be wary of those who claim to have knowledge you do not.

It’s a Witch standing next to a cauldron, with a black cat. I remember when I got it I was full of resentment and anger, piss and vinegar, when it was nearly done I started to cry, and I genuinely scared the artist, Phil Terrace.

He of course got worried, and I just shook my head and realized that the pain of getting the tattoo, had released all the anger I had in my heart for Rachel. I was done the moment the tattoo was, anything that I could have said about her that was negative was gone, and instead I chose to hold onto the good memories.

Recently I’ve been thinking about Rachel a lot, and wondering if she’s happy, or if she’s okay, and I find that I genuinely hope so. Because even though our friendship was rocky, I learned a lot about the craft from her, I also learned a lot about being a mother from her.

It’s a lot of hard work, and it sometimes means being selfish in ways that hurt other people.

All that aside, it’s self care Sunday, and I can’t help but think that the mothers out there are who are working hard to teach their children in the middle of a pandemic, are having a really rough time right now.

I just want to tell you…you’re doing a good job.

Being a mom is hard in the best of times, but a recent conversation with a friend of mine, in which she was told recently that she is “just a mom” really pissed me off.

My mom is my best friend, which is funny because I used to say that she was my worst enemy. I was constantly fighting with her growing up, lashing out because I had been abused and I felt like she either didn’t know, or didn’t care.

It never occured to me that I had severe trust issues, that comes with being abused and I decided if I couldn’t trust one adult, then I couldn’t trust any adults, and that contributed to a lot of fighting with my mom.

While it’s true that it’s not my fault I was abused, I still guilt and shame myself for how I reacted to it, I am trying to remember that as a young girl and woman I didn’t know any better, but that’s a difficult thing to remember.

Abuse takes a lot out of you. It destroys everything you could be, and turns you into someone who only exists to survive long enough to stand up for yourself.

When the explosion comes, and it will always come eventually, it can take years to unravel all of the damage that was caused when you were first abused.

I spent a lot of time trying to impress Rachel, because I would have rather come up with the dumbest lies, than share the heart breaking truth. So I spent a lot of time pretending to be something that I wasn’t, but I did that with all of my friends back then.

When the truth came out about who I really was, suddenly so did all these rumors and lies that I’d never heard about before, that came out from the shadows of the debris from the explosion.

When I think about the person that I am, and I compare that to the person that the world was seeing, I see so many different versions of myself, that I sometimes don’t know which one is the right one. Which is why I use my friendship with Rachel as my anchor.

Looking back to those times helps me to realize that the most real, broken, saddest version of myself, was the one who called Rachel her friend. And I say this because Rachel is very much like my mom and I learned to have the same trust issues with my mom, with Rachel.

I was repeating a toxic pattern in that friendship because I was trying I guess, to figure out how to deal with my mom. It was only years later, this year in particular, that I have realized just how hard my mom is still working to take care of me.

There is a bitter angry part of me that thinks that I have the right to behave however I want because I was abused. That’s the angry little girl inside of me who doesn’t care what other people think, because she’s so angry that no one cared what she thought when she was getting abused.

Then there is the adult part of me trying to say “it’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hurt others.” I don’t often listen to that voice because sometimes it helps to imagine a violent end to my abusers.

The one thing that helps above all else however, is knowing that my mom is in my corner. I hate to say it but I feel like for the last few years I have been testing her allegiance, just to see if she’s’ really in my corner. That’s a terrible way of dealing with your trust issues, but I am working on it.

I remember how much it hurt Rachel when I walked away from our friendship, and I remember how good I felt, how justified I felt in realizing that I couldn’t trust her. As if confirming my worst fears proved that I was right, people can’t be trusted.

I wonder often about would have happened if I had trusted Rachel with the truth, if I had trusted anyone, and it took me a long time to trust anyone, but as it turned out the one person I could trust is my mom.

While I understand that this isn’t the truth for everyone, it is the truth for me, and I am really greatful for that.

So if you are doing everything you can to help your kid, if people are telling you that your kid is getting it wrong all the time and you refuse to give up on them, I salute you.

Being a mom is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life time, because your entire life becomes wrapped around this tiny person who will learn to depend on you for their entire lives.

You have to prepare them to exist in a constantly changing world, that is going to look completely different from when you were a kid. Mom, you’re doing a really good job.

Just so you know,

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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