There are a million stories I want to tell and a million things I want to yell at the top of my voice, telling the world every last detail. Sometimes I get overwhelmed at the desperate need to do this. Other times I know that over time I’ll get this chance. But sometimes the need feels so so strong I don’t know what to do with it, or I don’t know who to call. And so it gets buried.
This week it’s been something new. It’s been a story that I haven’t really shared with anyone properly. It’s a story that still feels so bizarre that it hardly feels mine. Yet the rage is here with it now, and for me anger feels the most ultimate way of connecting. Connecting to whatever has happened and owning it as yours, in the most empowering – and as a result, healthy – way. And when this rage, and this connection, is here it is safe to talk. In fact, at the right time, it is essential.
It’s not so much the details that I am feeling about this incident right now. It’s the rage that I want to yell about. I want to yell thousands of what the fuck?’s just to The World and anyone who is listening, and hundreds of you selfish bitch right to my mum’s face. And then so many more things, so many more times. The details I am desperate to share just to paint the picture behind this rage.
July 2010 I walked in on my mother hanging herself. Hold fire here, it is not the horror movie type thing you may imagine, but it still is incredibly fucking awful and horrendous in its own unique way…as all these things are. They are never like you see on the movie screens – instead they are their own fucked up thing that happens in its own fucked up way. Just like break ups are never what you see in the movies, life changing or life haunting things aren’t either. The image of what I found that night was one I struggled to shift from my mind for quite a few months afterwards. The whole thing still feels so surreal, but so clear at the same time. In some ways it feels like it just happened yesterday.
What was she thinking? How did she think it was okay to do that? To let her daughter find her doing that? But that’s the sick and twisted thing in this – it was just so normal. This kind of thing had never happened quite like it did that night, but the heart-breaking piece in this crazy puzzle is that to find her like that just fitted the bill. Her crazy and messed up bill. Sanity wasn’t a theme here.
To put that on your daughter…? The one who has cared and looked after you for all the years before. All the years she could have been being a care-free child. She didn’t know I was coming home, she thought I was staying at a friends, but I don’t know if she would have actually followed through. She’s too much of a coward and always was. Instead it was like her own psychotic play date with herself…putting up the rope and hanging from it. Teetering on her tiptoes on the stool below, hanging over the railings that led out of the kitchen. Stuffing a tonne of grass in her mouth. That was how I first found her – the sound of her breathing through this mesh of greenery. Lunatic. Maybe she would have followed through. This I’ll never know. She left a note…a lengthy detailed one.
I’m so effing mad at the whole situation. I’m mad at the fact that this kind of thing was even ever a part of my life that I had to get to know and see continue to grow. I’m mad that I had to see this and have this happen. I’m so fucking mad at her. Her selfishness. Her bizarre sickness that shadowed itself so well into normality. If she was just constantly Plain Sick it would be so much fucking easier. To have some more clear cut, black and white lines where I could see sanity and insanity would have made each and every year of my life a whole lot more fucking clear. But instead it was never like this. There were chalk drawn lines that were brushed and bruised with the back of her crazy hands. There was just one massive grey area that my sister and I tried to navigate our way through, never getting it right – always getting it wrong. This night was a perfect canvas on which I can paint my whole fucking life. Yes, speaking with therapists or professionals now, I can be told til they’re blue in the face that she was sick all my life. But she was my mum. So this title of ‘sick’ just doesn’t cut it. Yes for many months or weeks she completely lost her rocker, but this night she seemed ‘sane’. And for so many of the other years too. Yes she was fucking hard work, abusive, narcissistic, a rollercoaster of behaviours and edges of personalities, but she was still present.
But this night she wasn’t. She seemed it all those hours before, just like she had seemed it in all those years before, but actually she was just in her early of psychosis. It was the middle of summer. It was when these things just always happened.
This makes me even more mad that she had an air of sanity to her yet she still chose to do this. To let her daughter find her like this. The word selfish doesn’t even cut it. To walk in and find her when I was desperately trying to navigate my own life – a recent split up and the severe peak of my Chronic Fatigue – just meant this hit harder. The emotions that I have flying on the surface feel blinding and irate. It was almost like just another tally on my widespread tally chart of the shit in life. This was just another teaching that ‘life is hard’. It was just another thing that paved the way for me to just take what came my way at the end of that summer – the nasty word beginning with R. The shit with my mother just meant I thought this is just how life goes.
And you know what? It turns out it doesn’t. Yes shit happens. Yes trauma happens. But you don’t have to take it. You can get mad at it. I know we can’t change what has happened, and that’s okay. But what we can change is the knowledge that, after a lifetime of just taking abuse because we don’t know anything else, we can begin to Own what happens as ours, because we deserve what follow this. The healing and the empowerment.
I want to tell the story of that night in each and every darkened detail, because for me it is getting that night back and letting it pave the way of this road now. Rather than dragging with me all the shame and guilt that came from what happened then. I should never have ever had to cut the rope of my own mother, but I did. I can’t change that but I can change what I do with it.
What followed this event was one of the best weeks of my life. I headed to where felt like home the next morning, to friends, the ocean and the most beautiful week of surfing, beach fires and fun. From one extreme to another. This too is the most perfect canvas on which I can paint my life. So much pain, but so so much beauty.