There are years that ask questions and years that answer. ~ Zora Neale Hurston
2013 was a year that answered questions. Well, one question in particular.
I told you here about how my mother and me don't have the most ideal mother-daughter relationship. Things between us are usually better when we live apart, so even my therapist (who I need to start seeing again) was bewildered when I allowed her to move into my home nearly two years ago.
It didn't take long once she was here for me to realize the anger, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness I thought I had dealt with many years ago had resurfaced. I tried ignoring it. I tried ignoring her, in a sense, choosing to keep her at arm's length.
Then I had a conversation with my brother-in-law on Christmas Day that opened my eyes to what I needed to do to fix the turmoil happening inside me. We talked about forgiving and not dwelling on wrong-doings, but what really stuck out to me in the conversation is what he said about forgiving and letting go of the pain.
The problem I've had all these years is not only have I never really forgiven my mother, but I have also allowed the memory of the pain she caused to live in me. When I thought about something she did or said what I always remember more is not just the words or the action but how it made me feel. Insignificant. Unworthy. Not good enough for anything.
Talking with my brother-in-law helped me realize that sometimes saying "I forgive you" isn't enough. He helped me realize that my forgiveness came with baggage I never unpacked. He helped me see that I need to let go of the pain caused by the actions and words of years past, and talking with him helped me see that I could do it.
My mother and I may not ever have the type of mother-daughter relationship I used to crave, but it can get better. I used to think if she wasn't putting in the work then why should I. Now I know that she doesn't have to, and it will be okay. I can do it on my own. I can love my mother the way I want her to love me.
That's my biggest goal this year.