I had to learn how to separate everything in my life from my mother to protect my wellbeing. This was the only way I knew I could live my life by practicing healthy habits. It took a long time for me to honor the notion that sooner or later I had to come first. But with that separation I have been able to heal and to start to trust the idea of letting my heart soften and be at peace. The peace began when I realized to love her didn’t mean I had to physically have her in my life, in fact it was healthier to keep the memories without the pain of past/present always being front and center of everything. I wanted to hold a part of her in my heart with no regret or punishment and to be honest about the woman she is and its ok to love seeing picture of a time she was standing in her greatness.
Over the years, I’ve had breaks from my mother not being in my life. The emotional roller-coaster always coming down for a while was needed. In the past when she would come back it was never easy, I hated how alone I felt even though I had a support group I was to shut down to communicate. I felt an obligation and that I deserved what I was going through with her, our deep dark secret of her mental illness. There was a clear pattern of the toll I put myself through with each time we were together. I would hope each time she would come back it would be different that time apart would heal or at least slow her mental illness down and the older we got it wouldn’t have to end in mental bloodshed. But every time she came back it was always the same. I don’t blame myself for thinking it would be different it’s hard to not want someone you share a piece of your soul with. But I had to learn tough love with myself to stay protect. This took year of practice, like 20 years to be exact.
Recently my mother came back into my life after a 5 1/2-year brake. Without even consciously knowing, my first reaction was to go back to that dark place inside of me, where I still have some worry and fear that it is happening again. But I was different now and the hold had only a few hours instead of months or years on me. I didn’t have to carry the weight of our secret alone and it had no power over the woman I am now. I’ve learned how to be honest with myself and the people I trust about how I feel when this happens. Sometimes I will put her on speaker so that my husband can hear the world I’m stepping into. The overwhelming pressure of I can’t breathe or move doesn’t have the same hold on me when I don’t have to do it alone. I don’t allow her to hurt me the way she did before. And to be honest, I have no more fight or energy to be hurt at the same magnitude in this stage of my life. Sooner or later, when you decide to choose yourself, you realize the energy to go there with them doesn’t have to exist in the world you have created. My armor will always be there to protect me, but for a short moment it’s nice to hear her voice, a little bitter sweet.
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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nona’s life began as a fairytale. She was the daughter of a famous actress Sue Lyon (Lolita), and NFL player (Roland Harrison). Her father was absent for most of her childhood, and being a bi-racial child, she had questions at a very early age about why she looked so different.
By age 12, Sue remarried, and her relationship with her mother was never the same. Nona was kicked out of her house and by the age of 13 she was taken to a halfway house. That same year her mother placed her in an insane asylum where she stayed for almost 3 months. That kind of betrayal by her mother, a woman she once idolized, broke Nona’s spirit in a way which would take years to recover from. The author currently lives in Los Angeles…
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~ Nona Harrison Gomez