I looked for you today mama.
Staring long and hard at the cracked mirror of that creaky wardrobe; I stood there for ages, examining my face and the creases of every practiced smile.
I looked for you.
I looked for you in the curve of my jaw, the shape of my brow and in the curl of my lips.
Trying in vain to find myself by finding you.
For over the years I have discovered the magnitude of what I lost the day you died – a missing piece of the puzzle of me.
So now I go looking, modeling myself against other women, older women and of course, the pieces never seem to quite fit – so I decided to look for you in myself.
Am I you? Am I me? Am I no one at all?
If I am you, what does that mean? Does it mean that I too have a quick temper, a gentle spirit and incredible strength?
Yet I do not recognize those traits in me – not much of a temper to speak of, my spirit too tampered by cynicism to retain much gentleness and where you displayed strength I have nothing except aggression and obstinacy.
Those are not strengths, they are traits I acquired in this long journey alone – defense mechanisms that have come to define me; driven by the knowledge that there are those who would recognize that mine is a life in which the love of a mother no longer casts its shadow.
I have grown mama, my body spilling out in curves and rounded shapes – and so has my mind – disciplined by schooling, my beliefs happily coinciding with those of others in the many books I have read in a vain attempt to find myself.
I am looking for you just so I can find me.
Or am I myself? Am I whatever I have become, defined by choices I made in solitude whose consequences I faced in seclusion and the many hurts I nurse in silence?
Am I who I am – the tenacity of my will forcing me to dare where others would not; to speak where others wisely choose silence and to walk on where others decide to stop: assured that they will reach the destination by borrowing on the strength of parents I no longer had.
And this passion, this fire simmering deep within and consuming me with dreams I have no right to aspire for, such lofty ambitions – I find I have no choice but to follow these imaginings – instinctively carving my own niche in a world that gives us nothing without exacting the maximum price.
How did I get here from there? By clawing my way up, by shrugging off skeptics along the way, by ignoring dissenting voices, by believing when others would not and by getting up after every fall (and they were many).
So who am I?
I am whoever I choose to be – for whatever my background, my circumstances or my parentage – I’m ultimately responsible for who I become.