I’ve been so afraid of being like her, terrified really, that I’ve tried to ignore, deny the many ways that I am like my mother. From my hands, small and stubby, heavy, with a thick palm that can do (and have done) much damage to those who dared to challenge me…like my mother did to me with her hands.
To how I eat, my right leg tucked under me, the left propped up so my knee is under my chin.
How for so long any emotion that shook me I changed to anger, because anger I could deal with, anger I could process. Pain? No. Confusion? No. Sadness? No. Isolation? Please, no.
When I told my mother I was a writer, she shared a stack of papers where she’d started recounting the stories of her life. I’d heard many of them when I was growing up. The ones she told when she was calling us ungrateful. The one about her one pair of shoes. The story of her choking while she was in the latrine: When she pushed the splintered door open with her scrawny leg, my great-grandmother, Tinita, ran over and pulled a two-foot tape worm out of her mouth. Imaginate eso!