I was more loved and mothered than I believed. I had a mother, but she was just not the woman who gave birth to me.
In my counselling session yesterday, we talked a lot about my grandmother and how much she actually mothered me. How much she nurtured, protected and empowered me. She was more of a mother to me than my biological mother and I was drawn to her warmth from very young. I felt the unconditional love she gave seep deep into me. I absorbed her complete acceptance of me and her care and deep regard of me. She saved me!
I was two people when I was little. With my mother and father, I felt bad and ugly and full of shame. I had to earn my love by being tidy, clean, obedient and quiet and by getting good grades. With my grandmother, I could be me and I was still loved and I felt special and good. I was loved for just being. My grandmother showed me off proudly to her friends, she defended me and advocated for me. My grandmother nourished me with her delicious food and stories and spirituality. I would sleep with her and wrap my little hands around her at night feeling so protected and safe. I remember wondering why she loved me so much, because why would a girl like me deserve to be treated so special.
With my parents, I was afraid to get up to use the toilet at night and often wet my bed. I internalised my father’s voice and felt bad and wrong and guilty all the time. I internalised my mother’s voice and felt fearful and alone all the time. My grandmother’s unconditional love brought me out of myself and I was bold and happy.
My not good enough mother and the love from my grandmother were enough to get me here, to where I am. I feel so blessed for her love. She filled a gap that needed to be filled.
And so… although nothing has changed on the outside, (except my recent divorce) everything has changed, because I see things so differently now. I feel the fullness from my grandmother’s mothering and I know on a deep level of knowing that I did get unconditional love. I don’t need to grasp at straws anymore or prove myself by trying to earn love. I was loved unconditionally for just being me. The love was always there, I just never knew it was there because my perception was clouded by all the things I didn’t get and the great wound of childhood abuse that I carried around as a huge secret.
I know what unconditional love feels like. I tap into it now when I need a gentle reminder of my worth. I tap into it when I need warmth from the cold. It was necessary for me to tap into the voices of my mother and father in order to start healing those dark places. But now is the time to also look at what I did get it, and how powerful and special it was. Maybe I can integrate them all and finally find me, the whole me.
It’s funny how a change in perception, by just turning the angle of the camera we can see the scene in a different light. By seeing the abundance the hole gets smaller and the world is different even though we are in the same place and haven’t travelled an inch.