With one giant breath and a red faced scream
You came into this world and erased the word “woman” from me
Like cheap lipstick off the face of a child with a thumb wet with mothers spit
Replacing it with the word “mother” before your tiny hands had even unclenched,
Holding a pen no one could see but me.
You defined me in ways I never knew I could be defined.
I held on to that word like a badge of honor,
Like a life raft in a drowning sea
And every time I thought of all the things you would grow up to be
“Mother” was the word that defined me.
Over the years you would write one word then the next across me
Like a kindergartener who got a hold of a marker or a pen and went to town on the pristine white walls of my heart.
Scrawling words like a tirade of posters plastered against subway walls.
Rewriting who I was to you with every change of your mood.
See that’s what kids do. You become whatever they need you to be.
But with each word scrawled across my visage, sometimes erased and tried to scrub clean there was always a little bit left
A hint of the word you once used peaking through the new white wash
And a part of me was defined by the ghost of those words,
Both the ones written in bright new ink
And the ones faded and forgotten
Or scribbled out and erased
Those words became a part of me.
So when you started to grow up and the words became harder
The lines you drew them with became harsher
Digging into the walls and scarring them instead of just writing on them
They became harder to erase.
The mental illness that altered your brain and made you shape a reality that only suited you made you lash out at the one person close enough to you to hold you anyway.
And you started to stab the pens into the wall, rather than just write the words on them
I’ve had to learn how to gently take the paint brush myself and wash over the walls of my own heart
Crying out at the pain as the bristles sink into the wounds you’ve carved out with lashing tongue,
Wiping away the blood that was drawn with sharp pens and smoothing out the edges of plaster that was broken and gouged
And even though I’ve painted over the words, time and again
I can still see them there underneath the paint,
Still feel them there,
Left on my heart.
There are thousands of resources for children who are dealing with the trauma of having narcissistic sociopaths for parents.
There isn’t one thing about raising a sociopath for a child.
The resources for children talk about cutting ties with the abusive parent and getting on with your life.
How do you do that with the child you gave birth to?
So I dip my paint brush in, white wash over the pain and the hurt
You’ve erased so much of me over the years
Contorted me into what you needed/wanted/begged for me to be
In an attempt to make you whole, to grow you into the person you were meant to be.
There is nothing left of me for you
except this blank white wall
And a pen.