My Mother’s Dowry

If I saw myself as my mother sees me, my looking glass would be forever broken.

By her own admission, her heart had discarded me before I came out of her womb. I was her gift to my father. He wanted more children, she did not. So was written my curse.

All the days of my life under her rules and her house, I would reap the reward of that curse. I went to school as a young child with my hair so gnarled and tangled the other children made fun of me. They called out from behind me, “look at that rat’s nest.” I came home from school that day, took a pair of scissors and cut a gaping hole in the back of my hair to remove the ugliness of being unkept.

She is the part of my story I would remove, if I could.

I remember the day my counselor said to me, “Your mother hated you, Jodie.” I walked out of his office and didn’t return for another year. The statement alone was enough to shut me down. Recalling who she had been to me was a burden I wasn’t willing to bear for a very long time.

I own that part of my story now, but it was the last of my memories I retraced. Her betrayal and hatred made my life almost unbearable. She was my last hope as a little girl, so when she entered the room of incest with my father, it was death to the last fragment of strength I had.

My counselor and I chatted about why her memories were so hard. You see, the murder was something that happened to another person, away from me. Differently, my mother’s violent molestation accosted me. It was a step that I almost missed in my healing. My denial had grown a wall so thick around her memories it once felt impenetrable.

The whole story is what sets us truly free. Not just the pieces we think are presentable enough to tell. It is our whole truth that will walk us out of our prisons.

This was stitched for me by a lovely women who went to a survivor group with me many years ago. Relationship therapy in groups is such a strong wave of healing. That’s why I’m here sharing my story.

I remain forever hopeful.

13 thoughts on “My Mother’s Dowry

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