Julia of Oceania · Poetry

Cultivating

When did you stop being your own person?
Exit, all motherly humanitarian instincts.
Were they ever there,
or was I just swindled by the false promises in your voice?
The way that you’d build things up, but never delivered.

What a foolish child,
Left to listen to the constant creaking of your mattress,
another day another man.

I must have worn though a dozen VHS tapes, trying to drown out the noise of your conquests.
Too young to undestand what those sounds meant, but old enough that hearing those private noises made me feel dirty.

Aware enough to know I shouldn’t have a sleepover when one of your friends was over.

Instead of teaching me about the birds and the bees, you taught me never to order off the “fuck me” menu,
if a man came calling to take me to dinner.
I spent my first formal dance, virginal and hovering over a plate of cheese sticks; afraid to ask for anything more.

Life with you was always a shit-show.
A stream of constant humilation: My clothing smelling like cigarettes despite the two winters I was laid up with bronchitis, then pneumonia…
…to your drunken tirades in front of my friends, or school events.
If I publically distanced myself from your antics, then you’d holler at me until I cried. 

My hard work meant nothing to you, unless it was a means of proving to others what a great mother you were.
Only then were my accomplishments paraded, and you siphoned them out of me like they were yours.

I resented you, but I didn’t hate you quite yet.
Maybe because I still believed that I owed my whole life to the person that brought me into this world.

But I didn’t ask to be born.
I didn’t ask to grow up depressed.
I didn’t ask to be a participant in your mind-games olympics, or the emotional scars that I will live with for the rest of my life.
I didn’t ask to be your responsibility.
Your ward.

Remember when you lied and told me that you had to beg my dad to take partial custody of me? That he never wanted me in the first place.

When you told me that my step-mom would never see me as anything more than an inconveinance?

Remember when my paternal grandfather died (my first time experiencing the loss of a loved one) and you couldn’t be bothered to call?
You managed to find the time to leave your condolences on my uncles facebook wall. You can’t pretend that you didnt know.

Finally, I ran away.
It took nineteen years for me to leave your house, and four more to really make my escape.
The last two have been silent,
the phone lines have been severed, my address has changed.
Sometimes I finally start to feel free of you, the separation by miles of long highway ensures me that I won’t bump into you around town. 

If I close my eyes tight enough I can imagine away all of the years in that house,
but there are nights where it all comes flowing back, playing on and on like a broken record.

There are nights where I can’t pretend that my childhood with you was just a far off memory, like something from an old book.
Something that happened to an aquantance.

I’ve spent my whole life heading towards death, becoming your forgotten child;
I forgot how to live.
But I won’t give you that power over me anymore.
If it’s the hate for you that I’ve incubated deep within my soul, that keeps me safe and shielded from your destrution, then i’ll let it build a wall.

A brick and mortar wall.

They say not to bite the hand that feeds, but mother, you did nothing but nourish the thorns that you planted within me.
The darkness, thriving and overgrown
all the while, I was starving.
It has taken years to transform these gnarls, but I have cultivated a garden within myself, at last.

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