Her words hit me like a hammer. She looked in my beautiful hazel eyes and told me calmly:
‘You will never truly love a man until you love your mother.’ I glanced at her mistrustfully, only for her to add: ‘Otherwise, he will disbelieve your feelings. How can he trust you, if you do not love your own mother? How will you know how to love him?’
Her assumption forced my mind to make painful connections within seconds, tearing apart my carefully and toil built illusion of affection. I refused to collect the pieces immediately, denying the reality surrounding me, too angry and hurt to admit that I was never able to truly love a man. Not in the way I wanted, anyway. I never trusted completely any man to show him how my unrestricted love affection looks like. I never offered without reserve, restrictions, and boundaries. My endless love always had a finish line.
My personal idea of affection developed early in my childhood. In a private place of my mind that I used to visit every time I would put my head on a pillow, just before my thoughts were stolen away by a mysterious dream. In this secret place, I would find love in its purest form, giving and receiving without restrictions, boundaries or limits endless care and unrestricted affection. This was the safe place I visited in my childhood after each quarrel or beating I endured from my parents, after each humiliation, I would receive from others teenagers or each injustice and disappointment that I had to face.
The subject of my affection was one, only one, an uncertain but missing figure, something that my mind would associate with the expectations I had from a man. A man without a face, but with a soul like mine and a kind and warm heart.
In my teenage years, I started to search for the missing subject of my affection, in love relations, beginning each one with the expectation that the boys and later men that showed me an interest in a certain moment, were, in fact, the right person from my dreams. The barometer of scrutiny for the men from my life was given by the easiness with which I could picture them in this role. If, I could easily imagine them in my dreams, I would give them a go, while, if that would be hard, I would embrace them with rejection and without a second thought. So, from a young age, I started all my relations on a fake premise of expectations, to fill in an empty void from childhood. And the void was easy to fill, temporarily of course, at the beginning of each relation, when expectations and demands are prevailed by the discovery of other, the physical attraction and chemistry bond. The hugs, kisses, and touches reassured my needs of affection, making me believe that each chosen man, would finally be the man of my dreams. Sometimes, somewhere along with the relation, I would even forget about the illusion of love, living at the moment, trapped in the daily chores and routine, lost between others needs, general expectations and my wishes. Except for the moments of silence, when I was honest and naked to myself, brave enough to look inside and feel the missing part. Then, I would see the void. After acknowledging it, the relation would quickly disintegrate in an explosion of disappointments, frustrations, and anger. I would usually move on, before it would finish, to the new potential candidate. Between my déjà vu experiences of love and exploration, I managed to marry the most persistent candidate. Tiered of the unfulfilling searching wheel, I capitulated on the stairs of society, embracing the social custom of morbid marriages and the illusion that something will change in time, within me and around me. The change never came, and when I wanted to escape again in that secret place of my mind, the logic ticked in. Why would I dream of someone to share my love with, when my husband lays next to me? Wasn’t the marriage built on the foundation of love? So, I divorced, with all the social consequences, in search of the freedom, the choice and the love that I deserved.
I divorced so that I could repeat my mistake again, and again, until the day her words confronted me. I wanted to dismiss them, but I restricted my protective instinct, only to realize that I have never been free to see, to choose or to love, being permanently limited and obsessed by my own perception of the other person. In fact, I never saw the persons standing in from of me because I was too busy to dress them up in the role I conceive in my childhood for them. The role of my Mother, as she was actually the figure I was always looking for, half of my life. I was looking for her, projecting the expectations I had from her into every man I meet on my way, blinded by my need of her and incapable to see, who the person in front of me really was, what this person wanted and what offered.
Mothers cannot be changed, the time cannot be turned, but a future decision can be different. I forgive you, Mother, for all the missing love that I endured and I thank you, for giving me life. I will do something good with it. In this way, I will be free and I will choose consciously the people surrounding me. At night, when I will put my head on the pillow, I will think of you. Because I always wanted your love most of all.
It’s curiously how children, now of adult age, step with great accuracy on the pats walked by their parents, caring the same bags of unhappiness, lack of fulfilment, frustrations, fears and need for acceptance.