“I see you.
I see you who zipped your own prom dress.
I see you who taught yourself how to address an envelope, file taxes, and sort laundry. I see you who learned every single life lesson by trial and error with no one to soften the blow. I see you who started miles behind your peers in life. I see you who brought your own children into the world alone and terrified. I see you nurturing yourself and learning to parent them simultaneously, and I know it’s a bigger job than most can fathom.
I see you who avoided cooking dinner like the plague, and then burned a million meals before figuring it out.
I see you who carried your own toxic habits into adulthood simply because you didn’t know any better.
I see you who cried a million tears in some of the most treacherous trials of your life with no mother to answer to your pleas, and if those pleas were answered- matters were made worse.
I see you who had no home to call.
I see you with a lifetime of unreturned calls.
I see you who rose from the ashes, clawing and fighting like hell to surpass the statistics and become more than you ever should have.
I see you, loving more than you were loved.
I see you, giving more than you got.
I see you, working so hard on creating your own healthy emotional response programming, and I also see how it’s become a beautiful, empathetic way of living despite your coping mechanisms being poisoned again and again.
I see you, at a complete loss as the wrong party plays the victim one too many times.
I see the despair that hits when you are successfully scapegoated.
I see how many million times you’ve tried and tried again to prove yourself as loveable, and I see how many times you’ve offered forgiveness with no apology or changed behavior given in return.
I see you, whose hurt has been scoffed at. I see you who has been the butt of every joke. I see you who was made enemy number one from day one.
I see you, who has been labeled the villain after making the hardest decision of your life, the one that no daughter wants to make, estrangement.
I see your pain.
I see your grief.
Even more than that, I see your resiliency.
I see the longing and ache you feel when this holiday rolls around, the envy and disconnect that comes with a newsfeed full of picture perfect families and tributes to role models for days.
I see you winging it, learning EVERY SINGLE life lesson on your own. I see you rewriting everything you were ever shown.
I see you, because I am you.
In fact, I have photo proof. Here am I, leaving my house for my high school prom. Yes, you read that correctly. I was in the car, leaving my house that I shared with a room mate. My house, where I had no one to zip me up. I did my own hair and makeup, and then I wrestled with my dress for half an hour, finally getting a successful zip from behind with a coat hanger hook. God only knows where my mother was, we didn’t even share a zip code, much less a zipped dress. I hopped in my car, which you can see was chalked full of clothes because to be honest, I lived out of it half the time.
Didn’t I look so happy?
That was almost a decade ago now. I do not miss this broken little girl, but at the time I was working with all I had to work with. I was the only true mother I had. I know I gave everything I had in me to survive.
We simply must honor how we raised ourselves, today and every day. No more hiding.
I say this with genuine pride in all of us.
Oh, and just for the record, life turned out great!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Hayley Runnels of The Undone Mama. Follow her on Instagram here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.
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