And then, she takes a close-up of her face which she immediately likes the composition of:
But the longer she looks at it, the more she realizes: "Holy fuck, I look like my mom."
I'm not going to go into the sob story about my mother, however. All y'all really need to know for this to make any sense is that she's sick and has been more or less absent from my life for going on 10 years now. I saw her briefly about six or so months ago, in one of those bouts of "I've been fucking up but I want to get better" charades that never really last very long until she's back on the shithead bus. Those happen on occasion.
Back in the day, around when I was born, my mother was a very pretty girl. I say girl, because she was about 18 at the time... unfortunately, it's been a downhill slope ever since. In the last 6 or so years, though, I've had to refrain from going to family events because I'm usually barraged with "Have you heard from your mother?" "What a shame, what a shame," and it almost feels like the disappointment and frustration is projected on to me.
Looking at that photo, I guess it's easy to see why.
Most of my extended family doesn't know me much outside of the brief moments at those little gatherings, during which I usually felt so outcast -- due in large part to those questions -- and I tried keeping away, keeping to myself, keeping dialogue to a minimum and just waiting it out. Eventually, I stopped going, and eventually, they stopped inviting, which, if we're being honest, is okay with me. I've never much understood how families are supposed to work.
I like to believe that I've come to terms, at least the best I could on my own, with the loss of a parent. It usually doesn't bother me, except for that slight tinge of discomfort on Mother's Day, or when her birthday rolls around, or when I sign my last name and I recognize that uppercase R at the end as coming from my forging her signature as a kid, and having it just stick around. Little things, mostly. Fleeting thoughts, fleeting feelings, and truth be told I feel like in the end, I came out okay.
At the very least, instead of wondering where she is and how she is and if she even is, I try and focus on the things closer at hand: there is nothing more I can do, and if it weren't for her, I would not be alive to experience love, excitement, beauty, laughter. She gave me gifts she'll never even know about. So if bearing a likeness to her is necessary in order to have those experiences, to live this life of mine, I'll absolutely accept it. Hell, I'll even embrace it. Look ma, no regrets! And thanks!
So maybe you've seen some buttons floating around with that photo. The longer I look at it, the more I realize that it's actually quite flattering.
(Blog, you are on the receiving end of some serious introspection this week. I don't mind if you don't mind.)