Firstly, thanks for the nice comments to the skool post. Today I called Mills and said, basically, that when I was in high school I was a super-good student, but I don't know how, as an adult, I demonstrate that quality to schools. The nice lady on the other end of the phone suggested that I come to a transfer student information meeting next Tuesday. It's free, and they serve lunch. I can get a tour of the campus and talk to counselors and start whatever process needs to be started. I happen to have a light load next Tuesday, so I signed up. They asked if I wanted to bring a guest, and, since I am a mom who gives a shit about my kid, I said I'd like to bring L-Dawg (if she can switch shifts at work).
And I got to thinking about the other times I've tried to go to college, and why I dropped out. The first two times had a lot to do with my family of origin. Those vile people who are my biological parents, the extreme amount of crap they put me through. It was rough at the time, I knew that. It's sort of stayed encapsulated in my mind as being "a rough time" and that I had somehow done something mildly wrong, but that it was blown all out of proportion, and I felt that I had been treated unfairly and that I gave up because no-one would listen to me, or something like that.
However, in rethinking it today, in preparation for talking to a college counselor about what I might need (support, understanding...maybe accommodations for someone with school phobia--Maude, is there such a term?), I really revisited Scenes from My Troubled Past, really replayed some of the shit my parents pulled, and realized, fuck. I didn't do anything wrong. Not even mildly. They just fucked and fucked and fucked with me, then told me I was the fucked up one. It's not like I was perfect. I made mistakes. Kids make mistakes. My kids make mistakes, but I don't call the cops and tell them my kid has a shotgun and wants to run down cops, just because she gets all pissy with me. (My mother did this, I'm not shitting you. During finals week one term. Had to take incompletes for all my classes!) I don't throw all of my kid's belongings out in the front yard because she comes home late. Once. (yeh, I got that, too). If my kid is having a hard time in school, I offer to help as best I can. I tell her she can drop a class--there's no hurry (she graduated high school two years early!). She needs to have fun and have a life. I don't make fun of her. (yep, that one, as well) If she's having physical problems because she is too stressed, I take her to the doctor, for fuck's sake. I don't complain that her hands are shaking and bitch at her for not taking better care of herself (word). I don't tell her that I'm going to help pay for her living expenses, then wait until the middle of finals week to announce that I don't like her boyfriend, and so I'm not giving her any more money...and that it doesn't matter that she's not dating him anymore and that she can't come up with rent in one week. (I told you my parents are vile.) Actually, that list was mostly my mother's shit. And, as I was thinking about this, I was also thinking about how all those motherfucking self-help books talk about "letting go"--about how we are supposed to make allowances for other people, you know, walk a mile in their shoes and whatnot. Forgiveness. Fuck that shit. From the get-go it was always about how I had to understand HER position, about how I had to make allowances for HER, about how I needed to see it from HER perspective, blah blah blah. Today, I didn't. I saw it for what it was. Abuse. Nastiness. Vileness. SHIT.
Can you imagine having a kid who's in the top 5% of her graduating class, who's getting recruitment letters from Harvard and MIT and not even giving her the money to apply to college? Can you imagine putting her out in the street? Can you, I know you can't, but can you imagine lying to the police to get her thrown in the mental ward? Can you imagine knowing that she's collecting other people's cigarette butts to smoke, to ward off hunger pangs--and then cutting off the whopping $100 a month because you don't like the guy she dated for a hot second?
Can you imagine right now how much I really, truly hate my mother?
Not like she bugs me, or irritates me, or she's from another era. Not like she uses Oriental to describe my daughters (which she does and which irritates me) or she's nicer to my brother than she is to me. No, no. She tried to kill me, maybe not in a literal way---but maybe in a literal way. I did actually attempt suicide during that post-high school reign of terror of hers. Maybe that was what she wanted, for me to kill myself so she could have the ultimate, endless supply of sympathy. Maybe it was more like she was (and is) just so FUCKING CRAZY that nothing she does or says makes any real sense. She just wants something at the moment, and does whatever is in her power to get it. Like a kid. (Like, she just decided one day that she didn't want to give me any money and the unpopular boyfriend was the random excuse that she gave--and simultaneously made me responsible for her decision because I had dated a jerk.--It also set me up for a lifetime of woe--feeling like I had to be punished for dating yucky dudes. It's probably part of the reason I stayed with the FAX for so long, just to prove that he wasn't yucky, even though he was the worst one, ever.)
Thinking about that time in my life, and my mother's behavior, I was reminded of the crazy lady who rented from me last summer. Like, complete nonsense, and often contradictory from one moment to the next, wild mood swings, threats of violence, actual violence, parroting pop-psych catch-phrases to cover a lack of any actual knowledge. She was like my mom. With the wonderful exception that she had no power over me.
In conclusion (hey, Imma be writin' hellsa 5-paragraph essays in the future, when am I ever going to be able to get away with using "in conclusion"?), I called my mom today, and for the first time, ever, in my entire life, I told her to stay the fuck away from me and my family. Now, she clearly knew that she's persona non grata, that she's not welcome, and that her recent contacting of L-Dawg was totally uncool, but she went into this thing of trying to get me to take care of her--she was talking about what she wants. She didn't even try the ol' "your daughter should know her entire family" bullshit, because my mother's desire to talk to my daughter has NOTHING to do with what's good or right or beneficial to Miss L. It's just that my mother wants it. Like kicking me out, or calling the cops, or whatever. But I told her, "No, no, no, no." I said, "Do you understand?" And she said, "Yes, but--" and I said, "Not 'yes, but'. Only 'yes' or 'no'." And she said (I'm not shitting you here), "Yes, AND I want to send her one more e-mail, I want to tell her she can contact me if she wants." (as if the conjunction were the important part of the conversation.) and I said, "No, no, no, no, no. I am her mother. I will tell her. Do you understand? Yes or no." and she said "Yes" (like a pouty child) and, then, as if ripped from the depths of my soul, almost completely out of my control came the words, "Good, you disgusting scum bag. I hate you more than words can express" and I hung up. And I was a little shocked, because it was utterly true.
And I've been thinking back to that kid, me, that kid, back in time, smoking other people's butts and knowing that I was going to have to quit school (and maybe never be able to go back--no money, no financial aid, stuck forever in that dung-heap of a town) and get a shit $3.25 job--thinking it was because my mom didn't like my ex-boyfriend and how it was somehow my fault for dating the wrong guy, feeling totally alone and desperate and ashamed and at a loss for words. And I've given that kid a term to use: betrayal. And I've given her hope, because in the future, someone will champion her and will vindicate her, and it's me, now.
I think I might be ready to try to go back to school.