Word Count: 562
Total Words: 20,137/20,000
My mother has never been... encouraging. More often than she's realized, she's been the opposite, and it happened recently that she broke my muse and my confidence with a few simple words. How fitting, then, that I'd cross the finish line because of her.
When Your Mother Breaks Your Soul
“You’re a good writer… but you’re not that great.”
What would it mean to you if I stopped? Words have meant everything to me, all of my life. I’ve tried and failed miserably at journals and diaries, at stories and novels and poetry and people have told me I’m incredible. They’ve thrived for more, demanded to know what was coming next. I’ve written with hundreds of people in games where you actually have to apply and be good enough to get in. I’ve submitted fanfiction and original works to websites and people have begged for another chapter. Over and over, for years, I’ve been told that this was my thing. I’m not pretty. I can’t sing. I can’t get up on stage. I can’t paint, I can barely draw. Lately I’ve learned how to point a camera, but that’s new for me. I’ve always been a writer. I am a writer.
“You’re not that great…”
All my life, I have put up with the put downs and back-handed compliments as I strove for one fraction of a genuinely nice word. I just wanted you, once, to tell me you were impressed. Couldn’t you do that? Maybe it was my fault for finding a passion you hated. You don’t read. It gives you a headache. You don’t write. It’s a shame I wasn’t more like you, right? A cheerleader, but smart! You poor thing. You were skinny and the guys didn’t like that back then. I still know the story about when you lost your virginity in high school. I know the stories of your promiscuity and your partying and how many boys wanted you to marry them. It’s a damn shame I wasn’t more like you. It’s my fault that I was the fat kid who never fit in. Who had a brain so full, but no confidence to hold my head up. All you were trying to do was help, right? All you wanted was to show me, guide me, fix me. It was good I had my writing, but I needed to get up and go outside and get some exercise.
Now why can’t I even have that? I tear myself down enough to not need my mom to throw at me some thoughtless comment. I know I’m fat. I know I’m lazy. I know everything wrong with myself, but I thought I knew my strength. Am I too old now? Did you let me have it as a kid, but now it’s time to tell me the truth: My own mother doesn’t think I’m good enough? I guess I should just give it up then. I guess I should just stop and let it go and move on to the nothing else I’ve got for me. Would that make you feel good?
“You’re good, but not that good.”
I can hear a hundred times that I’m awesome, that I’m incredible. I’ll hear it over and over and my fingers will fly and then suddenly one flippant, no-regards statement and it’s over. The thing is, you probably wouldn’t even care. You’re only being honest and that’s why it hurts. I know you really, truly mean what you say. You’ve always meant what you said and I’ve always known that I was not good enough. Well, you did it. The words are gone now, Mom. Are you happy now?