I have almost forgotten how to write. Or otherwise communicate in an honest, authentic, and articulate fashion. Wait a minute, this is not entirely true. Rather, let’s just say that I am having great difficulty believing that I can do all of the above in such a way that I will be heard from the heart, and not trivialized, abandoned, or raged at in response. You see, I have this fear. Call it the “eternal fear of all mothers [or mothers-in-law]”. It is this nagging, niggling little worm of an idea that my past failures at parenting will result in an irrevocable alienation from my offspring, and hence, their offspring-to-come. It is a ubiquitous guilt, as tacky as static cling, that wraps its tentacles tightly around my chest, and steals silent tears from my eyes in the late night darkness. Would it be so difficult to talk? I suppose not. But words, history, and emotion have a mutually transformative effect- and something said with the flick of indifference loses its black-and-white meaning, and changes as it passes through the filter of previous experience. One is left with the wound, and can no longer remember the syntax. True, words can heal as well as wound. In such case, words of healing and love carve their messages onto the soul’s canvas. Oh that I had the wisdom and the power to speak words of life, and to not react with the wretched insecurity that has plagued me since my own miserable youth. My arms lay useless at my side- and I watch muted and frozen, dearly wanting things to be so different, so very, very different from the way they are. I see my phantasmogoric father as he turns his head away from me, saying “I couldn’t care less” in response to my requests. I see him turning to his second wife, embracing her family, and shutting the door on the children of his former marriage- too embarrassed to engage. I see myself, silently screaming for recognition, for validation, for the right to exist- to feel anger, hatred, sorrow, as well as deep joy, acceptance, and the love and comfort of family. And I see my soul, anesthetized but smashed into pieces too numerous to reclaim. Can I explain this visceral snakepit of misunderstood emotion to someone who might, as my father did, shrug his shoulders, turn away and -distracted by his own life- make my pain appear less than what it is? It is too close, too “deja vu”. Having gone around this mountain too many times in one lifetime, I stumble to the finish line, wanting only to sleep. I pack these leaden weights carefully into the secret chambers of my heart, hoping that they will be hidden enough for now….enough that I can carry on trying to please those who have the power to take them out, and with them- smite me.