After my mother died I really struggled, partly because I was in the midst of a divorce and felt like a massive failure. I did not like myself. But I kept thinking about my mother and how much she hid: and eventually I thought, you know, I love all of my mother. Even the stuff she hid. If she is lovable then so am I.
What is lovable in your parent? And would you miss her/him if she/he were truly gone?
That is the hard thing for me, that I couldn’t think about that until she was dead. With my sister, I thought about it before she died and changed how I behaved and let her know when I disagreed with her. Even though she had cancer.
Isn’t the greatest gift we can give each other loving honesty? I love you and I disagree with you and I am not going to do what you want just because you (are my mother/are my father/have cancer/have emphysema/want it/are dying). Isn’t the greatest gift to be ourselves and take the flack for it?
Cucumber love is a poem I wrote more then ten years ago about dropping the exoskeleton that we wear for society’s and our family’s approval. It takes courage. You can drop a little piece at a time and let them get used to it. And yes, some people may reject you for good. That is their choice. But you have to ask yourself then, did they ever really love you or did they only love to control you?
They say they love you
And they do
One day you find yourself
Wearing a construct
You can move
You built it slowly over years
Because that’s what you were told to do
You wanted to be loved
It made you feel safe
There is praise
Or at least pressure to keep it on
You may not have known it was there
And slowly begin to feel
Who you really are
Awaken to the shell
One day you slip out
They are still saying how much they love you
To the empty construct
You watch bemused
For a while
You say “That isn’t me.”
“Of course it is,” they say
“I’m over here,” you say
Shock and outrage
“That’s not you!
You’ve changed, you’re depressed
Confused, manic, gone out of your mind!”
Off the deep end
You might even go back in to
the construct for a little while
But now you’ve tasted freedom
You won’t be able to stand it for long
You will be out soon
Some people will see you as you really are
Some people will tell you they still love you
But as they say it to the construct
They act as if you’re still wearing it
They still think you love cucumbers
Though you ate that dish once to be polite
They hold the construct in their minds
Even after you’ve destroyed it
And behave the same as they ever did
As you walk away
You will wonder who they loved