His friends used to call me ugly.
She kept telling me I was too dumb.
Their extended family would mistake me for a boy because I didn’t have feminine enough features.
Her coworkers would snicker because they felt their kids were smarter and more cunning.
I grew being told I was ugly.
I grew up being told I was stupid.
She used to make me feel worthless. She used to yell at me like I ruined her life. She would say all my friends manipulate me because I’m too nice and dumb to notice.
I had a childhood friend growing up. Let’s call her Tilly. Tilly was always smarter because she was one year older. But Mother would tell me everyday that I’ll never amount to Tilly.
“Tilly is going places.” She’d say. “I bet she’ll end up at a better college than you.”
“Tilly is stronger.”
“Tilly wins at all these games you play because you’re too stupid to anticipate her moves.”
It wasn’t easy being told I wasn’t pretty for a girl.
It wasn’t easy having a mother resent me for being stupid.
But as I sit here two decades later looking at the place I bought for myself close to the Cali beach. I wonder, is this enough to prove to my mother I’m more than what she’d lost hope in?
Tilly now works in retail and still lives at home with her parents.
So, why do I still cry thinking about my upbringing? I can still hear every remark from her ricochet from my memory, cutting me like bullets from deep within.
Why does she hate me so much?
If I can’t even trust my mother to love me, how do I trust someone to enter my life without hurting me?
Am I still so broken?
There’s a reason I feel safe living alone. Isolated. Single.
No one can tell me I’m ugly or stupid. No words can hurt me here.