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Monday, August 30, 2004

My mother left two voicemail messages for me this weekend, asking me to call her. Tonight I returned her call. From her first word, she established an offensive, and I went on the defensive. We screamed at each other for about an hour. We hadn't vented our emotions regarding each other in about a year, so there was a lot of screaming to be done. She expressed the reasons for her low opinion of me. For instance, she believes that I don't work hard and I'm lazy (I guess the fact that right now I'm working full-time, going to college full-time and learning a shitload of lines for a theater production doesn't mean much to her). She believes that I will squander her money "having fun." She disapproves of Matt working "part-time," even though he's not. She's angry that we'll be paying off my car loan with (read: "spending") some of the money she's giving us. She's mad that I had to get a loan to pay for my car in the first place. She doesn't understand why Matt had to buy a new car for himself in 2001. She believes it's irresponsible to borrow for a car, and that both he and I should have paid for our cars outright when we bought them - i.e. She thinks I should have bought another $500 car to replace my last one, and that Matt should have bought a shitbox car back in 2001. She thinks I should include love and well-wishes to Trevor in all of my e-mails home, and is displeased that I have never done so. She's angry that I didn't offer to give her some money to spend on food at the stopover airport on the plane trip back home last year. Of course, she never mentioned to me that she didn't have any money to spend. She's mad that I didn't call her to see if she had arrived home safely. She hates Jason for supporting my decision to quit medicine. She believes he was the only person in the world who supported my decision. She hates me for quitting medicine. She believes she committed a crime by giving birth to me. She accuses me of doting on my father, John, and my brother, Mihali - both of whom I haven't contacted in six months - at the expense of her and Joe. She accuses me of convincing everyone in Matt's family that she is a bad mother. She believes that if I were to get pregnant and have an abortion, I would never be able to conceive again, because she saw something about it on TV. But she doesn't ever want me to have children. She claims a doctor told her that she does not have bipolar disorder at all, but TLE. She claims that this means her bipolar is not hereditary. She also claims that her TLE is the result of brain damage she suffered by thinking too much, because of me. She complained that she is so unselfish that her whole life had been constantly unhappy, and nobody appreciates this. She mentioned that the only reason she had joined a church in 1987, precipitating her first bipolar episode, was that she was trying to do the best thing for me. I've heard that before. She wants Joe to live for six months in the USA with me each year, and for me to take care of him. That one was news to me. She says she has divorced Joe, but part of their divorce agreement is for her to cook for, clean up after, and generally look after him into his old age. She claims Trevor was heavily medicated when I formed my negative opinion of him, and so my opinion is unfair. She claims Trevor makes her happy, and is always saying great things about me. She refuses to accept that I could be happy for her happiness, even if I don't like Trevor. She called me a fucking bitch, and expressed a wish to fuck me dead. Oh yeah, and she's on double her usual dose of medication.

There's a guy on the streets of New York. He sits perfectly still on the sidewalk, leaning against a building, like a pot-bellied Buddha carved of dark wood and polished with oil. On a table in front of him is balanced a sign: "TELL ME OFF $2.00."

I can feel my bricklayers, who have been on sabbatical for a long time, returning to work to build hurried towers around my emotions again. Worst possible thing to happen when I'm about to do a play and need to be in touch with those emotions. I couldn't help building the walls. Too much crying. I feel completely dispassionate now. An hour ago, I was a mess. I haven't been that upset since ... since the last time she took it upon herself to upset me. I guess that would have been about a year ago, when she was here in the US.

I think my mother confuses love with destroying herself. The more I think about it, the more I believe it's true. She hasn't loved many people in her life, but everytime she loves, she sacrifices herself, then blaming the object of her love for her own destruction. It happened with her parents, and with John, and of course, with me.

How do you explain to someone like her that love doesn't have to be that way? That love shouldn't be that way? That when you destroy yourself for love, and are consumed by bitterness, there is nothing to love back?




Of course I'm not having any children. The best case scenario is that they'll hate me. The worst case scenario is that I'll turn into her. I'd be downright pleased if my womb was damaged in an abortion.
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