My mother is the only reason I exist, and aside from the obvious reasons, she is the reason I get out of bed in the morning. Yes, there are plenty of people who have spectacular relationships with their mothers, but I honestly feel like mine is one in a million.
Biologically, my mother and I share a lot of things- big eyes, big lips, and a big heart. We are eternally bonded by some of our neuroses, although I definitely can’t clean house like she can (I’m fairly certain she has mild OCD). Sure, my mother taught me how to operate a washing machine and apply blush, but most importantly she taught me to always believe in myself.
I clung to my mom from the moment I was born; in fact, she used to call me the “velcro kid”. When I got to high school, things changed. I became the epitome of a terrible teenager, and really put her through the ringer- I’m talking drugs, bad boys, piercings, arrests, “I hate you’s” and clothing that (almost) got me sent home from school- thank god the principal had an unwashed XXL shirt from the lost and found for me to wear for the rest of the day instead.
My teenage years marked the darkest times of my life. Like many teenagers, I struggled to find my identity in the chaotic world around me. I ached with insecurity and self-loathing, and I had virtually no direction. While other kids were looking at colleges and scholarships, I was skipping class and smoking menthol cigarettes.
By the end of my sophomore year, I couldn’t even get out of bed in the morning and make it to school. I was severely depressed and numbing my pain by sleeping all the time and occasionally partying with peers. Eventually the school district assigned me a tutor and allowed me to take some classes at home. The isolation was unhealthy, but it was better than spending my days surrounded by the overachieving droids at school- for the record, I never attended one sports event in the entire four years.
Friends came and went, but one person always remained by my side- my mother (just to give you a rough idea, she once sent vitamin supplements I was taking to lose weight to be analyzed, thinking that they were narcotics). After some very difficult times, nights filled with tears and sweaty palms, my mother helped me to find the strength and confidence to change my life. I stopped partying, went back to school full-time, and miraculously finished high school. Luckily, I had pretty high SAT scores, and a well-written bullshit admissions essay about ‘overcoming adversity’- don’t worry, I left out the drinking and drugs part.
My story may seem like a common one, but the pain that my mother and I overcame together was unreal. She was the one constant in my life during a time of complete anarchy. She was always by my side, although it was generally unsolicited. We made it through swollen eyes, battles, and shattered glass that rendered us both fragile and strong willed. The beauty of love is that it gives us the strength to scour the floor and reassemble the jagged pieces. Today, my life is an artful mosaic, crafted from the jagged shards and the beautiful, iridescent stones- the cracks between is what makes it beautiful.