Actually it occurred to me last night but I wasn’t going to get up and write about it then.
I was laying in bed and thoughts of my mother popped into my head. Oh joy! I realized that I’ve been taught from the very beginning that I had already failed the moment I was born.
There were several aspects to this. I think I’ve mentioned this one before but it’s relevant so I’ll add it. In my culture, light skin can be looked upon as a favorable quality. It’s really stupid because black people look down on white people when they prefer light-skinned african-americans, but we do it too. Not all of us of course, just as not all white people do it either. And it’s not just a black thing. I’ve read that it happens in India too with darker skinned Indians versus lighter skinned Indians. It’s all ridiculous. Anyway, my mother wanted me to have light skin so she picked my father accordingly, thinking that I would get his skin tone. I didn’t, and she let me know that I had failed her in that way when I was younger. I didn’t know that I should have been able to control my genetic makeup in utero but I guess I dropped the ball on that one.
Another thing that she did was the birth story. Now, I realize that not everyone does the whole ‘Oh you were so cute when you were born’ thing or some sort of humorous tale about how squiggly or covered with goo their child was, but my mother liked to blame me for how I came out. She told me repeatedly how my birth affected her, and she loved to say how awful my head looked. But it wasn’t in a funny way or any kind of normal way. I thought about it last night and I remember how accusatory she was about it. Like how dare I come out looking like that etc. There was never any niceness to the story. She was never happy about it. She never said anything good about my being born even though it was her choice to get pregnant. And she would say this to me all the time, like she wanted to make sure that I remembered it. I realized that my mother has been telling me in small and large ways that I was never what she wanted. From the moment I appeared, I had disappointed her in one way or another. As I got older she let me know that I had gone through an “ugly phase”. That was good to know. And into adulthood, even after I was married, she regularly told me that I didn’t look good, including grabbing me by the hair to tell me how horrible I looked.
I’m not sure what to do with this understanding. In a way I understand that I’ve been programmed to think that I’m ugly. On the other hand, I also can’t shake the feeling that it’s true. I feel like it’s important to get rid of all programming that I received from her, but I’m not sure how one gets rid of a core belief. How do you change something like that?