Hey, Ma

Picture the scene: it’s 2016 – Justin Vernon is sending shivers down my spine with that god-sent falsetto of his through the phenomenal 22, A Million; I’m several pounds heavier, in a shitty relationship, surrounded by a bunch of assholes (my friends, except for the mad titan Tamanda Kanjaye to whom I’m thankful for being my unpaid therapist and pimp) and the ever-present anxiety that I am absolutely fucking up my life!

I am not, lovelies, in a good place.

The night 715 – CRΣΣKS drops, I…um…ascend to phenomenal heights and proceed to have one of my more memorable emotional breakdowns. I realise that my relationship isn’t the end-all-be-all love epic I’d dreamt it was at the beginning or even a passable tale of naive early-20s hijinks – it’s survival story.  Dark night of the soul*, it is. That night I can’t run from two truths – I am trapped in my obsession (what I misinterpret to be love) and I do not like myself – at all!

*dark night of the soul
a period of spiritual desolation suffered by a mystic in which all sense of consolation is removed.

And then I do nothing at all to help matters. My soul spends the dark night enduring until I literally waste into a girl two dress sizes smaller, having not had the aid of diet or exercise; and my comforts are some of the common vices of youth (puff, puff, glug, glug) and the beautiful laments of Bon Iver.

Three years later, the distance between who I am now and the girl I was feels like a vast chasm, wide and far-reaching, despite my enduring capacity for epic emotional breakdowns and fondness for Vernon’s falsetto. When I look back on it now, on the things I decided to endure but took no responsibility for, on the bottom of the barrel antics that ensued in that time; I really wish I’d just told my mother.

After the fact, at the tail end of last year, I did tell her. It was too late for her to help me since I had already eliminated the dragging forces in my life (i.e. shitty boyfriend, shitty friends) but I was still living the aftermath of being the person I was three years ago and by then, I had come to cherish my mother’s counsel.

I try to imagine what she would have said all those times I knew what to do and then chose not to do it. Like when he looked me right in the eye and tried to break my nose with his head. Or when I drunkenly split my lip when I fell over on my own front doorstep and couldn’t even remember it the next day because memory loss is one of the super fun advents of low-level alcoholism. Or when I didn’t go to dad’s engagement because of an argument I can’t even remember the details of now.

Maybe she would have said, run or stop hurting yourself or say you’re sorry. I don’t know if I would have listened then, but I listen to her now.

Picture the scene: it’s 2019 – Justin Vernon is sending shivers down my spine with that god-sent falsetto of his through the phenomenal Hey, Ma; I’m several pounds lighter, in a semi-happy relationship with myself, surrounded by a bunch of good people (my friends and family) and the ever-present, absolute joy that I have my mother.

Hey, Ma.


[Featured Image Source: NPR]

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