No pretty words.

#RealTalk vol 25

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I wish my mother loved me. 

I wish I had pretty words and beautiful prose to translate my mommy baggage, but I don’t. 

Her absence still haunts me. I’ve tried telling people that she’s dead, but that finality doesn’t fit, seeing as she is quite alive yet painfully distant.

I don’t have pretty words to adequately describe how much I hate how this unfinished business lingers in my psyche. I’m tired of the merry-go-round; just when I think I’ve moved on from feeling cheated out of a healthy mommy-daughter relationship, it hits me. 

A hint in a social post or Mother’s Day meme knocks me on my emotional ass. Seeing other happy mom/daughter relationships doesn't move me to tears; there’s just melancholy regret, envy, and lately, annoyance. 

I mean, if your mother doesn’t love you you’ve gotta be a pretty fucked up person, right? And that is precisely how a child interprets abandonment. Surely, I’m unlovable and damaged because the woman who gave birth to me couldn’t stand to keep me.

My mother deposited me with my great-grandmother when I was six or seven years old. There wasn’t a conversation about why she was gone or when she was coming back. I bounced between my mother and my great-grandmother for several years before my mother accepted the full weight of raising me, coincidentally just after my younger brother was born. There’s nothing like having a live-in babysitter, am I right?

My life wasn’t completely void of love and attention. I had love from family, but I always felt like an outsider, like I didn’t fit. I blame my mother. It was her job, her responsibility to care for me and shield me from harm. 

My mother was supposed to lovingly guide and protect me from all threats. I shouldn’t have grown up feeling scared and alone and worthless. It should have been my mother’s mission to be my fierce mama bear; instead, I learned to dance with the wolves and slay my own damn dragons. 

Fuck her. It’s her loss. She missed out on some pretty cool shit in my life.

I desperately want to feel those words, but I don’t, my heart won’t let me. I miss my mother. I miss the sliver of moments when, as an adult, we became friends despite our history. I miss watching Star Trek together and playing Scrabble. I long for what we could have had, still could have if only she were willing. 

I could say her religion separates us, but truthfully, her adopting the JW lifestyle was just another opportunity for her to leave, a skill she perfected long before her faith interceded. 

I’ve talked to my younger self to manage grief and make sense of my abandonment issues, a useful exercise I learned in therapy. I explain to 7-year-old mini-me that her mother’s leaving had nothing to do with her and everything to do with our mother’s own demons. I tell mini-me that she is good and kind, smart, and talented and that she grows up to be beautiful, strong, and successful. 

The rational all-growed up me understands the importance of positive self-affirmations, but deep inside, the little girl is still hurt and ashamed. Some wounds never heal; instead, they scab over only to bleed and ooze remorse, pain, guilt, and shame. 

I wish my mother loved me enough to stay with me. I wish forgiveness was a fix it and forget it kinda deal. Some days are easier than others. Most days, I don’t look at the world through a dark lens of trauma and emotional despair. No, there’s nothing to gain from keeping a stronghold on painful memories.

Perhaps there will come a day when I’m unaffected. Maybe the day will come when my mother’s ghost no longer roams my waking world. Or maybe I’ll find some pretty words to wash over the pain of her absence. Maybe, someday. 

I was inspired to write this short from a recent Instagram post

This week’s #RealTalk🎙in Real-time with my first guest, Chance Green!

“Distinguish yourself as different from others. Be adventurous and open to trying new and different things. Even if that means setting someone on fire.” - Chance Green

Chance Green is a creative photographer and producer. He co-founded BAD Magazine (a print and interactive virtual ART magazine) featuring artistically provocative images.

Full disclosure, this talented man is also my Uncle 😍


Listen as we chat about:

  • How to keep it real and stay true to your personal brand when faced with competition. 

  • How to know when it’s time to ask for help with creative pursuits.

  • How he doesn’t let being an introvert hinder his passion.

  • What happened the time he set a model on fire 😳

Find Chance’s current work on Instagram at

#RealTalk🎙in Real-time ep 4 run time: 28:10

You can also listen 🎧 via Google Play, Spotify, Pocketcast, Stitcher, & Tune-in. Make sure to subscribe to get new episode updates.

As always, please let me know what you think about #RealTalk. Reply to any email or leave a comment on the website. Thanks for your time today, I appreciate you 💛 

xo, jae

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