Mother, May I?

She looks at me from across the room,

and we are arguing,

yelling back and forth at each other.

You should know I hardly ever yell at my mother. 

And she’s telling me,

she’s let this month pass,

she’s watched me the past four months,

and she’s wondering when the old me is coming back.

She is telling me she understands my fragility,

but not my resistance

to letting go.

Because I’m holding on so tightly…

to what?

To who?

I don’t even know anymore.

I don’t even know what for.

Why am I so destructive?

Why do I keep looking back, she asks me.

Why do I keep focusing on the past?

And I have no answer for her,

except that I made a mistake.

I look at things that will only cause me pain.

I don’t even know why.

She tells me it’s been four months,

and that it is time for me to move on,

I tell her I’m trying,

and somehow, in that moment, that’s not good enough.

I ask her, how.

What do I need to do?

What would she like me to do

to prove I’m trying to be happy?

And then she delivers the blow,

the phrase that makes my insides shrivel up and

causes me to want to curl into a ball

because she is so right about my weakness:

that maybe if I had a boyfriend I wouldn’t be so focused on this mess.

And I would like to tell you I’m better than that.

Strut up an imaginary catwalk and kill you with a look.

Parade around, flaunting my single status,

my independence and singing,

“I Don’t Need a Man”

to make me happy…


I still want someone nice to look at,

and if that person wants to hold me,

then maybe…

But I am the daughter with little to no pride.

I am the daughter that is stuck.

I am the daughter that has greatly disappointed her mother;

The one mortal sin she hates to commit.

And I’ve used up about ten tissues at this point,

my dad comes in,

upsets her,

and then we sit in silence,

she tells me she wants my old attitude back,

she knows I’ve been through a lot, 

but I need to stop looking back,

living back in the past.

I tell her it’s hard this time of year,

that I can’t not be sad, can’t not be hurt,

can’t not have an opinion as merely an observer.

We’re back to yelling,

until we are silent yet again.

She tell me she loves me,

and holds me in her lap,

like I’m four again,

like no time has lapsed,

that the past isn’t so bad.

I am honest with her,

that if opportunities presented themselves,

regardless of how destructive and stupid they’d be,

I’d still take them within a heartbeat.

I know she doesn’t want one back in her life,

she does not like him,

she didn’t know him,

and the last one?

The last one reminds her of barred backseats and flashing red and blue lights.

She wants me to be enough for me,

without anyone.

To love myself again.

And I am trying,

I am forcing myself to smile,

finding myself strutting,

blasting music,

and cathartically writing.

I feel like I cannot write down an apology great enough,

to explain that I’m sorry her first daughter is not so tough.

That I am spineless, and sinking.

But not drowning,

just treading.

I do know how to swim.

I have disappointed her, 

but she loves me still.

She tells me she is the friend I don’t have at the moment,

the one that should be telling me to let it go.

And I need to let it go,

I cry harder at the thought of letting go,

and I’m tearing up at the thought that I’m holding myself back

from moving forward.

I know better things can happen.

I know God’s telling me to be patient.

And I know my mother gave a name that 

reminded me to have strength.

Through Him,

through her,

I will redeem myself.

I will liberate myself and become

my own saving grace.

I will come back,

solely for her. 

Like mother,

like daughter. 


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