Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. Prompt #3: Someone you talked to today….
“Go and fix your make up girl; it’s just a break up. Run and hide your crazy and start acting like a lady. Cause I raised you better; got to keep it together. Even when you fall apart.”
It was pouring rain as I carried the last of the boxes into the place I recently leased for my rebirth. The irony was not lost on myself or my heart. The rain drops splattered as I initiated the rebuild of my material world. This part was easy; the rebuild of my soul, however, was a completely different story.
Piled boxes of books staggered high on a non-existent bookshelf while the mattress on the floor stared at me laughably. I hung clothes drenched in memories as my phone buzzed on the scratched dresser. “Are you over him yet?” my mother’s text rang loud in my ears.
“Nope,” I responded.
I waited for the lashing, told what to do next, the dismissal of feelings felt, but not allowed. I hung my head low, wishing I was different, but knowing no other way out. I needed time, but she didn’t want me.
I remembered my mother’s stories of waking up on her 21st birthday and just knowing that she was going to marry my father. For her, there were few dating breakdowns before him. As my 24-year-old self looked around my rented room, it was the first time I realized that we could be of the same blood, but destined for different paths.
My mother always instilled in me a strong sense of discipline, border-lined with stubbornness, and a feminism flair. She didn’t wait for things to happen to her, she went out and accomplished them; her decision to attend medical school in her 30′s is just one example of this demeanor.
With her blood flowing through me, I attacked my undergraduate business studies feverishly. I envied female corporate leaders and their male counterparts. Like her, I hardened the edges of my skin in preparation for the critics, especially the ones closest to me.
On the inside, however, I was melting. It was more like a melting pot where every insecure, soft, intangible emotion bottled up together, wishing to escape into fresh air. All these feelings and emotions that I was told or just felt like I could never express. “Strong women” don’t feel these things. I struggled for a long time with pushing away this “wretched” side of me until eventually, right around the time of my rebuild, I realized that I could no longer live with two sides of my soul.
I needed to achieve career goals and frustrating let-downs. I wanted all the glitz and glamour of nights out on the town and early, tear-stained bed times when I can’t even fathom putting on my pajamas let alone washing the dishes that night. I needed to accept disappointment, to feel it in my soul and live with it until I knew it was time to continue down a path of success. I longed for validation that it was okay to feel these things, to sometimes want to cry for people I’ve never even met, to hurt for hours or days.
I don’t even know when or how I decided to accept this side of myself, but one day I finally realized that its existence is imperative to my own. I need its tenderness, its humility, its awkward beauty. I welcome its cloak of strength instead of the hardened, full-on armor. With this embrace, I started to hear the lyrics more clearly, always remembering the most important part.
“Go and fix your make up girl; it’s just a break up. Run and hide your crazy and start acting like a lady. Cause I raised you better; got to keep it together. Even when you fall apart…
But this ain’t my mama’s broken heart.”