Under Giant Trees

Tonight I had a conversation with my mom. It was a painful talk. And while I know it should be a big deal as it was a conversation I’ve been trying to have for almost 15 years I’m struggling to take it seriously.

Part of what my mother is guilty of is gaslighting. In many ways she’s been a remarkable mom but she’s very smart and when she wants to claim the moral high ground rightfully she does but then other times she abuses her correctness. She abuses her natural ability to understand people to perfection. She can be incredibly loyal and empathetic. Other times she’s…terrifying. Not violent but cold.

I grew-up doubting whatever she wanted me to doubt. Because she’s too smart and well-bred to cross the line stupidly. Counselors have oft been suspicious of her, but she’s too clever and shrewd and artistic and kind to be easily detectable in her mistakes. She even has the brilliance to listen to my anger calmly. And she knows I’d never fall for the lies typically told. She might even love and secretly respect my own intelligence enough not to try nonsense most people try. She has better things to do anyway. Friends. Lots of friends. Always.

The father who raised me is the more emotional one. Not like me. Not like my mom. Not calm. Emotional. Very emotional.

I told my mom my plan tonight to wait until they’re both with Jesus to find out who my parents are biologically. I half wonder if she’s curious herself though. Does she have another child who’s not alive? That’s something my mother would care about…

I actually respect her very cool headed manner. Not cold either just incredibly rational. If she’s not my mother that part of her was lovely to have as a mom when she wasn’t being evil.

“We have a love of art in common.” she said tonight. And it’s true. Whether or not she’s my mom we do have that in common.

You know why is it that in this culture to be strong you have to be male and to be sensitive you have to be female? Because that’s been such kryptonite for my soul. To be strong for my parents I had to assume masculine attitudes and traits uncomfortable but hard to dismantle as they’re constantly reinforced by society. “You must be a lesbian or bi.” shallow assholes think. People who are secretly misogynistic. People who aren’t artistic. No, I’ve just had to be strong. Always.

I don’t have a cool head. I’m reserved. I’m introverted. I don’t have a temper. But I’m not cool headed. If I seem so, it’s just my intelligence not my temperament… I think quickly. I’m calm. Not cool headed. Subtleties matter.

Everything matters.

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