Exorcising Mommy – When You Start To Look Like Your Mother

motherMY FRIEND, Theresa’s eyes are searching my face for a hint of reaction, I just ran into her and noticed something was completely different. She has shorn off her magnificent long red locks and is now sporting a short ‘n’ sassy lil’ do.

Most gals would have felt a touch apprehensive about diving into this drastic change but I know better than to ask Theresa if she felt any regret as she saw her locks drop to the ground.

“You look mahvellous, Dahling!” is my only option because she does and with bated breath I await the scenario that motivated the clipping.

“John went to LA on business” Theresa starts, “and since I was all alone in the house, I started to think about my mother. I haven’t spoken to her in forever… she hates me!”. The story unfolds, “my mother hates me because I’m successful and she can’t handle that”.

As I offer my sympathy for her situation, really because my mother loves me to pieces and I can’t imagine it otherwise, Theresa forges on with her revelation. “Kicking around in the house I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.” Here it comes… “and it struck me how much I look like my mother with the long, red curls. Why, I am her spitting image and I just knew I had to exorcise her right then and there!!”

So Theresa marched off to her hairdresser of many years and commanded her to chop it aa-aall off.

Apparently, being the Exorcist made Laurie, the hesitant hairdresser more than just a bit nervous. Of course it didn’t help when Theresa popped up out of the chair in mid-snip to direct the entire coiffure. No waffling there. She was that hell-bent on the ceremonial severance.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard this story, some friends have even had their faces surgically altered for the sole purpose of diminishing their resemblance to their estranged mothers.

But can we really exorcise someone from our very being, someone who gave us life? There’s something about DNA, no matter where you run to, no matter what you cut off, one day you really see yourself and sure enough, there it is again.  That mischievous monster is staring you right in the face.

motherMy guess is the only way to exorcise our monsters (or our mothers) is to pick them up, hold them up to the light and turn them around in our hand. Peering at them as a different light shifts through will often reveal a beauty or vulnerability never observed before. Until this very minute, that is, when you realized that demon is a part of you and you can never completely get rid of it. You’d be getting rid of an integral part of yourself.

What you can do is look that monster straight in the eye and say ‘Hello, I see you and I’m not coming out to play with you today so run along and enjoy yourself elsewhere. I’m busy.’ Then go do something especially nice for yourself, whatever that may be for you.

If it involves good chocolate, call me, I’m in!

Mothers are people, just like us, struggling through life’s obstacles, some of them impossible to shake. They were doing the best they could with what they had when they raised us.

Some mothers are forever tormented and it’s painful  for us, as adults to helplessly observe that. It’s even more painful for those who have been subjected, as children to a mother’s anguished outlashings.

On a higher level, hasn’t a miserable mother sacrificed herself to teach you how not to be? Isn’t it up to us to embrace those learnings and give her our blessings?

Be brave and shake it off, baby, take the high road and be that guru you wished your mom were…  Stop hating her back and start loving her for just that..

motherEsmée SJ