I had an interesting talk with mom yesterday. She had some feelings about the piece I wrote on my bout with depression and how I described my childhood.
“Raped at age thirteen, drugs by fourteen, a skin deformity by fifteen, promiscuity to feel beautiful, left home at seventeen and on and on. Absentee father, abusive step-father, a mother who drank.”
A mother who drank. I knew it was going to cause a reaction. But I did not leave it out, because in order to know how I arrived at certain places, you need you know where I came from.
My truth comes from a long line of people who prefer to keep things hidden. And that’s okay – for them. I, on the other hand, prefer to leave no stone unturned. It helps pave the path for my healing if I can wipe away the old foundation and build a new road for myself.
I wouldn’t be the resilient, sharp cookie I am today had it not been for my mother. She did the best with what she knew and, as a wife abandoned by her husband (my father) and recipient of years of abuse (my step-father), she dealt with things the only way she knew how. My mother grew up with a mom who drank. It makes perfect sense that she did too. I am an addict. I caught on real quickly (much to the horror of my mother) and took the self-medication-train to destruction, complete with stripper pole and g-string.
It is what it is.
There are no grudges or pointed fingers. I accept full responsibility with my actions and am writing a book to tell all about it. Although she may not understand the reasons why, she supports me beyond measure.
I still smell her perfume when I curl up in bed at night and can’t sleep. I still hear her whisper “talk to God, sweetheart” and it makes me smile until I dream.
I know someone up there must be listening. My mother and I are survivors. Through everything we’ve been through together, we are stronger than ever and we share a special bond – the type of bond created by a mother and daughter who have not only seen the light, but held each other in the dark.
Published by Christine Macdonald
About Christine Macdonald
Christine Macdonald is a Los Angeles based author from the island of O’ahu.
Through her writing she uses her voice, a unique blend of cutting truth and self-deprecating humor to inspire others to release their shame and tell their story.
She is public about her struggles with clinical depression and PTSD from childhood abuse.
Her forthcoming book of essays about surviving addiction and a career in the sex industry will be published in 2020.
For more on Christine’s remarkable story visit her website www.poletosoul.com.
View all posts by Christine Macdonald
17 thoughts on “Truth, mom and love”
For years I struggled with mother issues. Then one day it snapped. I realized I was a strong and autonomous woman because of the way my mother raised me… I'm glad I read your post. It's always good to be reminded our mothers did the best they could!
I commend you on your bravery to write the truth even when it is hard to face — either for you or others. Until you deal with the issues in your past, you will never move on to your future.
Awww. I have conflicting emotions here. I have my biological mom who I grew up with and all of her issues (including wanting to keep everything quiet even though I'm a very open person) who disowned me when I came out as transgender and then I have my adopted mother whom I've only known for just over a year and yet she's been there for me in my greatest times of need. Either way, I still love both of my moms very much. Great post Christine!
Thanks so much for the comments. My mom just emailed with tears saying how much she liked this. This is why I love her. 🙂
I too commend you on your honesty and having the courage to face the truth about your life then share it. I too have found freedom in facing my past through writing. Some of my experiences are obviously different then yours but the emotional aspect can be eerily similar. Imagine that, human beings have similar emotional responses to stuff, whoa! That is the beauty of communication of any kind, I was convinced in my self-exile that I was the only one who hurt this way, that did these things in my life….Nope, I couldn't have been more off target. Thanks for sharing your truth, it helps others find theirs…
I know you love quotes 🙂 my favorite that I read this week is this:"Change will never happen when people lack the ability and courage to see themselves for who they are." Bryant McGillI think it takes great courage for you to write this blog and tell your stories. You never make excuses – you just tell it how it was.
Coming out of lurker statis to say how awesome it is that you are being open and honest about your story. I have so many things in common with you that it is kind of freaky. If I were to write on my blog the full story of my life growing up, my family would flip the hell out. When I got clean from drugs back in 1985 not one of them showed up for family week and to this day neither of my parents can admit I went to treatment let alone that I was a drug user and high for much of my childhood. Many of the things that happened to me or that I chose to do I have kept hidden from most of my family because most of them still live by the no talk rule…if you don't say it it didn't happen kind of thing. After I went to treatment though I have talked and it's gotten me in trouble. I have refused to continue keeping the family secrets…I have broken the silence and that has been the biggest key to breaking the chains of the past…I refuse to repeat the life I had growing up. While I don't talk about the secrets with many of my family members,(mostly because they are not safe people to do this with)I do with some and with others that are safe to do this with.I have tried talking to my mom about some of this stuff and she has a hard time not taking things personal. Such as me stating the fact that she did not protect me from my father because she too feared him or that she too drank to deal with him. I know that when this gets said she hears, "I was a horrible mother." I totally get it because I am a mother too but I try to help her to see that I do understand why she didn't but I still have to deal with the fact that she didn't. Make sense?I honestly believe that breaking the silence is the start that helps us to build new foundations. I am so thankful that I took the risk of breaking the silence so that I could make a difference for my children.For some reason reading this tonight really resonated with me and reminded me how far I've come on this journey. Reading this really encouraged me…thank you.I am sure thankful that both you and your mom are survivors and that it has brought you closer instead of further apart. Bless both of you. Now that I've written a post in response to your post, I will go back to my lurker status. XX
These comments mean the world to me. I am misty-eyed. Thank you – so so much. xxoo
With each new entry I read of yours I am more and more amazed by the similarities of our pasts. I agree that it takes courage, THE courage, to tell your truth, to love yourself through it and because of it. You are brave. I don't know you but I am proud of you.
Relationships are never easy and the one with your mum is especially important. It wouldn't be right if it was perfect because, people aren't perfect. How can you learn if you don't make mistakes?Glad you are closer than ever now, I was close to my mum, I miss her more every day.http://lyndylou-whocares.blogspot.com
It took me until I was in my mid to late 20's to be able to be honest with my mom about how her drug years had affected me but once I learned how to talk to her on that level our relationship grew and became so much better and stronger. I'll always carry scars from my childhood but I've learned to forgive and accept my mother for the good and bad. Reading your posts about your mom help me realize I've made the right choices with mine.
So beautiful. I've definitely become a fan of your blog. ~B
My mom and I are best friends now but it took for us to go to counsiling and get real about my child hood. I am glad we did and I know it was hard for her to hear, but we are good because of it. So, good for you and for recognizing her loyalty now!
I think one of the challenges that we face when we decide to stop keeping the family secrets and start talking is we force others' hands, something that, if someone else had done it to us, may well have crushed us rather than helped. I'm not questioning the need for the conversations, and for dragging things out of the dark corners and examining them in the light of maturity and temporal distance. I just sometimes feel sorry for those – particularly those who were also victims – who don't always have a choice in when their private pain is exposed by another. I'm so glad you are able to have a positive and caring relationship with your mom. That is a treasure. Merry Christmas, my friend.
I found myself passing on this blog … very nice story that his personal and spontaneous, not easy to write on a blog.What I can say is that you do not have to leave "taken"by his memories of the past but … look forward to its future.You do not always look in the mirror of his memory … forget it, and continues to have confidencein itself going forward …
I used to have a great deal of issues with my Dad… and someone pointed out to me a while back, that maybe Dad did the best he knew how to do.That made so much sense…. kids don't come with operating manuals.Happy New Year, dear. I trust you had a Merry Christmas…~shoes~
This was astounding in its truth and beauty. How you have risen above the bad is such a testament. I, too, was raised by a mom who did the best she could and her best taught me to be resilient and fierce and independent and most importantly, it taught me how to be the kind of mother my girls deserve.