Neatly tied up in a bow


Using the end of a biro lid to draw around, I drew circles and coloured them in. They seem to converge at the bow that I used to tie the found object to yesterday’s drawing. What would I like to be neatly tied up?

The conversation I had with my mum perhaps, in which she stated I am not maternal: I am not like her and my sister; I am like my dad’s side of the family. Never one for recognising my individuality, she seems to break us down into either being like her or being like him. Plus it’s not true. Of course I’m maternal. I raised my son. I loved him from the moment I felt him. I questioned what I was doing all the time, worrying that I would cause him the pain that I felt when I was growing up.

I didn’t object to what she said when she was saying it. I went quiet. I made a few hmmm noises. On she crashed, without regard for my lack of participation in her belief. She cited evidence for my non maternalness: my dad’s sisters would have been horrified to have a baby. I wasn’t horrified. I never wanted children and got pregnant by carelessness but I wasn’t horrified. But there was no space to say this in. I was trapped in an old pattern where she dictates how and who I am and I let her.

I didn’t sleep well. I felt agitated. I wished I had said it wasn’t true and I wondered what made me stay quiet. There was a feeling of skating onto thin ice when I mentioned meeting Michael. I told her how we talked about our relationship and how it felt good to be with someone who was willing to look at aspects that might be painful. I changed the subject, aware that I was talking to someone who was definitely not like that. Perhaps therein lies the problem: I colluded with her and left myself behind.

How has she jumped to this conclusion? I thought about ringing her to find out. But behind that question is years of resentment that might explode out of me. Where was she while I mothered my son? She was not there mothering me while I did it. A dislike of Brighton (too busy) keeps her from visiting so her observation of me as a mother is limited to the few times I’ve visited her and the fewer times she’s visited me. There is very little evidence for her to base her idea on apart from her own desire to organise my sister and me into neat categories. So perhaps her assertion is a projection of her own lack of maternal instinct.

Each time I have opened up to her she squashes me. She’s probably not aware she’s doing it. I hope. I wonder if I pass it on to my son? This is the first time I’ve seen it clearly. Before it was like breathing: such a natural part of my existence that I didn’t realise it was there. Awareness creates space for change.


One thought on “Neatly tied up in a bow

  1. Pingback: Book Spine Poetry | everything is art

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