It starts slowly, with little things. You notice you won’t let anyone in the house if it isn’t at least presentably clean. You are nice to strangers at the grocery store even though you are in a bitchy mood. Shopping for shoes or purses can uplift just about any mood.
You buy things and hide them in the car so no one will know how often you buy things.
But there are good things too. You don’t tolerate disrespect from men, unless they are your father, in which case you try to sublimate that disrespect as old fashion love.
You want to cook for people you don’t even like. You want your man to appreciate you even when you can’t appreciate yourself.
“One day you’ll know,” she says to you when you disrespect her. “When you have a daughter of your own you will know.”
I don’t have any kids yet but I can imagine my thirteen year-old daughter hating me and thinking I am the uncoolest thing since coolness was invented. I like to think I’ll be hip and cool for my kid, but by the time I have kids they could be texting aliens, telling me I’m racist against extraterrestrial life.
Let’s be real, no one wants to be their mother, not because we don’t love them with all our heart, but because we think they have taught us to be better than them. I want to be able to shoot the shit with my daughter. If I say the word ‘shit’ around my mother she thinks I’m not acting like a lady.
If there is one thing that my mother wanted to teach was to act like a lady. Even when I go to the drug store, she wants me to look at least human, which I sometimes resent until I see tabloids at that very drug store showing celebrities and how bad they look at the drug store.
I like jewelry, but I don’t always wear earrings and my ears have a tendency to close up. My mother finds this to be unacceptable. I have shoved HEAVY 24 carat gold in holes that barely existed to make that woman happy.
But I know, I know what she has done for me. I know how much she worked and then sacrificed her career for her two daughters. So we could grow up to be women she would admire.
But I was supposed to get married and have children by now. Sometimes I think I can’t be a lady in her eyes because I have not accomplished these things. Sometimes I can’t look at her because she only sees half a person in me.
So will I be like my mother? I don’t think so.
But there are times, when Mamma, I need your help. I need to know what being a single woman in her thirties means. My mother wanted Hillary Clinton to be president. Mamma do you at least believe if I can’t be president that I can rule my own life?
What did a man ever do for Hillary? Someone asked Hillary that if she had married one of her first boyfriends, a man who pumped gas for a living, what would she have done? “He would have been president,” she said.
Mamma I know you hate that I will be selling the very clothes that you buy, for a living, after all this. But know that one day soon, you’ll know, when I do succeed, then you’ll understand the method to this madness.
If after all I can understand yours, you should be able to understand mine.