Not to promise that this will in any way be chronological, I would like to go back to where my story actually began. In truth, everyone’s stories begin in the exact same way, with their mothers.
Mine is the definition of strength, beauty, and OCD. I can honestly say that no one embodies those characteristics quite as heavily as she. Her confidence radiates from her soul, so much that she spared me some. Not a single person, not even the President of the United States, can bring this woman down. And her African American features are appealing to all eyes that land upon them.
But these things are also her downfall. She, like me (or should I say “I, like she,”), is a spider completely unwilling to settle for a life on the ground. When she set her eyes on that waterspout, it was with many rain storms and lots of doubt that she began to climb. I believe she is nearing the top, after a few set-backs that haven’t been able to wash her all the way down, but with gritted teeth, she forced through. And I have a nagging feeling that she is a few years away from seeing what’s up there for her, even though I could not (would not?) ride her coat tails to success and freedom.
And the reason for that is the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – something she probably got from her mother and I innately inherited as well. Now this isn’t any sort of reality-show-worthy form of the disorder. If that were the case, I would by telling my story on A&E instead of on these posts.
It did not lead to any serious health concerns in need of a dramatic intervention. No, these habits seem small (even to me now), but to the ones closest to it, they chip away at the very soul of the family.
Imagine a giant, 1000-year-old tree with roots that extend all the way to the heart of the earth (as familial love should be). One ax stroke leaves a small, almost inconsequential, chip in the massive body of the tree. But keep working at the same notch, and eventually the roots and the height of everything it worked for in its long life do not matter. This thing, as with everything else because nothing is invincible, will come toppling down. And because of the great mass of this tree, this bond, it may bring down others with it. A massive tear in the forest can now be seen from somewhere up high (atop a waterspout?).
And the top is where my mother strives to be. That is where she taught me, and showed me, to go in life. There was no other goal, no other wish from her to me. She ingrained it in my mind that this was the only option. Not to get married, have kids, have a decent job somewhere on the ground. If that stuff comes along the way, wonderful, but to only stress about it after I’m where I need to be: at the top of my waterspout.
And we are both striving for the top, though we are in different positions on different waterspouts on completely different buildings (and perhaps even in entirely different continents on the planet). But maybe that is for the best.
But even so, I know I owe her everything I have, but only when I stop needing every bit of it so desperately.