to bea or not to bea

There are five words – five – when strung together form a sentence, and I was hoping, praying, chanting, lighting candles, smudging incense, dancing naked in the moonlight (and in parking lots) that I WOULD NEVER EVER NEVER say these words, this sentence, in this lifetime:


I have.
It happened fast and furious.
I went to bed me, and I woke up her.
There are things about my mother, that yes, i liked.
I liked her humor, her sexiness, her laugh. Her shoes. The way she wore make-up, the way she dressed, her style. Man, did she have style.
And yes, I know, I KNOW… good god, I know, those are all superficial qualities.

But the things about my mother that I didn’t like, that scared me, that made me cringe, that made me wanna crawl into a ball and roll down a hill… that made me pray and chant, light candles and smudge incense that she become, turn into… emma goldman or better yet… bella abzug. or, at the very least, elizabeth montgomery.

Those things.

Her moods, her impatience, her righteousness, her lack of compassion especially toward her husband, her lip-liner not matching her lipstick, her harboring resentment, her wearing arrogance as if it were an accessory, her mix-matched emotions, her fears and doubts and worries, her tears and laughter (both like floods), her shame and guilt, her personal “i am so much fucking better than you” high holy days, her silence.

these are qualities that i see now. in me.
ken points them out. “oh, look who’s here, bea…”
he does, he says it with both a little tilted smile and great, great fear.
as in: “hey look who’s here, but… let’s not invite her in.”

but the real clincher for me, the moment that sealed it, when i knew, when i saw it with my own two eyes:
ken and I were having words yesterday over something so minor, so small, that yes, of course, i had to turn a molehill into a fucking massive mountain. i had to. i took something small, trivial and went right for the heart, and i witnessed my two calm sweet playful cats look at each other as only cats can do, and they both got up off the floor in perfect unison, and they went into the closet, where they hid, huddled together. And when i found them, curled up, holding onto each other with dear life … their fur standing up on end, they looked at me with their big cat eyes… that, “please don’t come closer” look in their eyes.

and honest to god, in that moment i saw me as a little girl… the sacred little girl cowering. and instead of going into the closet and getting on all fours… i did something my mother would have never ever done ever.

i let them be.
and i waited and waited and waited… and waited…
… for them to forgive me on their time.

(which ironically coincided with dinner and treats)

and once again i am reminded that change begins with one tiny little step in a different direction.

my mother, my teacher.

Category: Uncategorized 7 comments »

7 Responses to “to bea or not to bea”

  1. Kristine

    incredible,honest, brilliant and right on. what choice do we have but to resemble them and then choose for ourselves how much of them we want to carry…FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES?

  2. hollye Dexter

    Okay first of all, GREAT TITLE.
    And second, you are not Bea. You may offer momentary glimpses of her, after all, she’s in your DNA, but you are NOT her.
    You are loving and compassionate and honest and kind and brave, and every once in a while, a little bit neurotic, with sporadic “nutdances” sprinkled in for good humor. I love all that about you.

  3. Lisa Kaser

    That was pretty fantastic, Kristine. Like a nice long curve ball. Love where it ended and love the straight-forwardness of how you threw it.

  4. Lisa Kaser

    Gosh, sorry, thought this was Kristine writing but now see this is Amy! Well, all my comments hold true, but I need to direct this to the actual writer. Wonderful, Amy!

  5. Debbie

    You are SO BRAVE. And you say what you say so beautifully and I relate to it all. I feel my mother in me ALL the time and it makes me sad and then I feel ashamed that I’m sad, and when I feel myself going down that road I remember that even though my mother had many issues and never learned how to deal with her pain, I can feel empathy for her because she never had the opportunities I had or the resources to help that are available today. Because of her I learned how to STOP before sliding down that slippery slope of self-loathing/judging others and narcissism.

    Beautiful post Amy.

  6. Brooke Farmer

    I know this moment. I know it so well.

    And yes, you can decide in that moment that you are going to step in a different direction. You can consciously choose not to become her. For that moment.

    But little pieces of her seep into your being and it’s hard to catch them all.

    Or, maybe, that’s just me. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

  7. Debra DeAngelo

    My mother is my “fashion don’t” for living. If I catch myself doing anything the way she did it, it’s a red flag to stop, back up, and chart a different course.

    Great blog! 🙂

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