Take Care: Mothers, Daughters, and Inheriting Self-Hatred
“All my mother had done was try to love me while not loving herself.”
Maybe now, maybe this time I’ll be okay
arts of my brain sent out synaptic carrier pigeons with messages from the past, trying to guide me to safety. Was it in England, perhaps, where I had once been held so tightly by my father inside his dark green raincoat that I had wanted to live there permanently? Or was it on a canal boat where I had spent a summer watching my father, who for once was not sick, navigate manmade waterways from the back of a barge as we cut through the countryside? My father had listened obsessively to Willie Nelson as cancer took him month by month, skin by hair, veins pulling him like strings away from life. As if somehow the world Willie Nelson sang of might just rescue him. Time ago. Trains in the night. Wishes and dreams. And now, I too, at the edge of life searched my personal library for anything that could bring me back.
Ella Wilson’s essays have appeared in LitHub and Literal Latte, as well as in the anthologies Show Me All Your Scars, Same Time Next Week, Mamas and Papas - On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting, and Birth Ambassadors. Ella finds many things disappointing, but a few things strangely thrilling. Find her at www.theellawilson.net
More in this series
“It is a bewildering and lonely thing to be so attached to another human and also feel so adrift and so alone.”
The language of depression can be curiously maritime. It comes in waves; it drowns us; it’s the Mariner’s albatross around our necks.