“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!”
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