September 18, 2021
  • 7:00 am Outstanding Professor Award Recipient’s Mic Drop Moment at Last Month’s Virtual Ceremony
  • 9:10 am Bookworms of the World Unite!
  • 7:46 pm Breaking News: All Students Living in Campus Housing Required to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
  • 9:00 am CSUDH Esports Creates International Competition
  • 9:35 am Spring Commencement Ceremonies Get Brighter
  • 3:46 pm Breaking News: Spring Commencement Ceremonies Recieve Stadium Upgrade
  • 8:00 am Testing the Teachers (and All the Educators)
  • 9:30 am CSUDH Educators and School Employees, Vaccinated Next
  • 10:30 am For White People Only: Anti-Racism Workshop Addresses Racial Bias and Unity
  • 2:43 pm Greatness Personified: Remembering Kobe Bryant
  • 10:02 am Straight Down the Chimney and Into Your (Digital) Hands: Special Holiday Edition of The Bulletin!
  • 2:44 pm Did You Wake up Looking this Beautiful?
  • 11:43 am A Long History for University’s Newest Major
  • 5:15 pm Issue 5 of Bulletin Live! Collector’s Item! Worth its Weight in Digital Paper!
  • 4:06 pm Special Election Issue
  • 4:03 pm Three best Latinx Halloween & Horror Short Films available now on HBO Max
  • 9:49 am Issue 3 of CSUDH Bulletin Live if You Want It
  • 3:24 pm Hispanic Heritage Month Update
  • 2:00 pm South Bay Economic Forecast Goes Virtual
  • 3:52 pm BREAKING NEWS: Classes for Spring to be Online, CSU Chancellor Announces
  • 9:39 am “Strikes” and Solidarity
  • 8:30 am March Into History: Just 5 in 1970, CSUDH Growth Shaped by Historic Event
  • 8:30 am Will the Bulletin Make Today Tomorrow?
  • 9:04 am Different Neighborhoods Warrant Rubber Bullets or Traffic Control For Protesters
  • 5:07 pm STAFF EDITORIAL: Even Socially Distant, We All Have to Work Together
  • 5:47 pm Transcript of CSUDH President Parham’s Coronavirus Announcement
  • 10:46 am Cal State Long Beach Suspends Face-to-Face Classes; CSUDH Discussing Contingency Plans
  • 5:26 pm Things Black People Should be Able to Get Away with This Month
  • 10:25 am Latinx Students Need a Place to Call Home
  • 2:35 pm Will Time Run Out Before Funds for PEGS? [UPDATED]
  • 8:41 am Year of the Rat? What’s That?
  • 6:20 am Artist Who Gave Life to Death and Inspired Countless Others Gets His Due at Dominguez Hills
  • 5:16 pm Why I’m Rooting for Dr. Cornel West
  • 5:00 pm Under Fire from the Feds, Vaping’s Future is Cloudy
  • 3:28 pm We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat; Tsunami 3.0 Hits Campus, Enrollment Swells
  • 1:22 pm THE FIRST ISSUE OF THE BULLETIN IS HERE
  • 4:48 pm University Weathering a Wave of New Students
  • 9:21 pm The Bulletin’s Public Records Request Offers Springboard to Launch Gender Equity Discussion at CSUDH
  • 4:27 pm Black is the New Black: Raising the Capital on the “B” Word
  • 10:53 am Guns Up for Arrest: Student advocacy group pushes for CSU No Gun Zones–Including the Police
  • 4:09 pm Staff Editorial: Words on the First
  • 8:42 pm Carson Mayor Blasts Media, Landmark Libel Case in Keynote Address
  • 9:27 am Free Speech Week Calendar of Events Update
  • 6:02 am Food for Thought: 40% of Students are Food Insecure
  • 3:12 pm Academic Senate Rejects CSU GE Task Force & Report
  • 3:06 pm Work To Be Done
  • 5:56 pm ASI Elections: What You Need to Know
  • 8:02 pm CSUDH President Parham Announces Cancer Diagnosis
  • 9:47 am CSUDH Art Professor’s 20-Year Journey Results in First Local Showing of Film
  • 9:13 pm Free Speech or Free Hate area?
  • 9:08 pm CSUDH’s Best & Brightest Shine at Student Research Day
  • 9:05 pm Academic Senate Approves Gender Equity Task Force
  • 12:37 pm When Dr. Davis speaks, Toros Pay Close Attention
  • 3:38 pm Investing in the Future: Dr. Thomas A. Parham Reflects on the Past Eight Months and Contemplates​ the University’s Future
  • 3:24 pm Green Olive to Open By End of Feb; Starbucks Not Until Fall
  • 3:20 pm Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Hailed for Extensive Funding Increases
  • 3:08 pm Out of the Classroom: Labor and Community Organizing Course Aims to Teach Students How to Organize for Social Justice
  • 2:54 pm The Other Route in Professional Sports
  • 9:02 am Hail to the New Chief, CSUDH President Thomas Parham
  • 3:36 pm Career Center Holds Major/Minor Fair
  • 5:34 pm After Unexpected Delay, Undocumented Becomes More Intimate Theatrical Production
  • 1:30 pm What to Expect When You’re Expecting New Buildings
  • 7:06 pm Part Two of the Bulletin’s Epic Five-Part Series on Diversity in Superhero Comic Books: Focus on LGBTQ Representation
  • 5:46 pm To Celebrate Pride Month Here’s Part 2 of the Bulletin’s Series on Diversity in Comic Books–No, Make That Friday
  • 9:00 am Letter From The Editors

While Mother’s Day can be a happy day for some, for others it can be anything but celebratory – bringing up painful memories and feelings of loss. Illustration by Darlene Maes.

By Darlene Maes, Managing Editor

Editor’s Note: Trigger warning – The context of this story contains references to substance abuse and self-harm.

You can’t do this anymore, I thought to myself. You can’t listen to her voice. It has been two years since I have had a conversation with my mother. It’s been a pattern of hers every once in a while she would reach out to the few people I speak to and find my number. At the age of 26, you would think I would be free of her lurking eye by now. 

For my safety, I have tried to keep a physical distance from my mother and her illegal addictions for the last 14 years. My own mother is now forced to rely on phone calls as a sole method of contacting me. 

I know to some this may seem cold-hearted of me, particularly after the weekend of Mother’s Day. But, we are talking about my mother who chose time and time again to chase the high of crack cocaine over the joy of loving me.

I recently thought it was my doctors’ office calling when I saw an unfamiliar number and answered. Then I heard her voice and in an instant, I felt like a child all over again.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. The same words she has repeated my whole life after letting me down. “I wish you could forgive me.” I tried to calmly listen to her thin regrets for getting high. “Your apologies mean nothing if your actions don’t reflect it,” I told her.

I am allowed to be angry that she used another burner phone to reach out and attempt to use me as her emotional crutch again. I decided that this would be the last time I would endure the hell of having to hear her speak. I wouldn’t let her start the cruel cycle all over again before the holiday that is supposed to commemorate her

THE COST OF CHILDHOOD INNOCENCE

I heard it all the time growing up, “you only get one mother in this life, you have to love her.” And that’s exactly what I did. As a child, when she would leave to go on her latest drug binge, I cried for her. I would fall asleep on the couch by the front door, hoping I would be woken up by her stumbling in.

At 5 years old I began to understand that I didn’t have a mother like everyone else. 

But still — on those days in elementary school when we would craft handmade cards and  “presents” to give our moms for the holidays, I covered my hands in fingerpaint and used every color crayon in the box so she could know just how much I loved her. I hoped that with every drawing I ever made and every good job sticker I got on my homework, it would make her so happy that she would stay home. 

It was Mother’s Day in 2000 and at 5 years old, I celebrated it by having to slide my colorful card through the crack underneath the bathroom door, holding my breath to not inhale a funny smell. Because this time, she chose to get high in our bathroom.

When she saw the card, she opened the door and hugged me. It was at that moment that I truly thought I could save her.

ADOLESCENT LESSONS 

The “motherly” characters in cartoons and movies gave me a better understanding of what I lacked in my home. It wasn’t until I began to make friends that I was able to witness all of the “mom” things I had truly missed out on in my life. I began to collect these little moments between my friends and their mothers and would wonder, “why can’t mine be there for me?”

It was Mother’s Day in 2007, I was 12 years old when I decided to skip a birthday party and wait for a call from my mother while she was in rehab. I made sure to stay near the phone hoping to hear it ring, but it never did.

That night I sat inside my closet and clenched a pillow to my face, screaming out and crying. I was trying to fight my mother’s addiction when it was something that I, along with my older brother and sister, could not win. 

I had accepted that my love was not enough. And that the patience, love and effort my older brother and sister made to help her wasn’t enough either. If it was, she would be clean and she would’ve been home for the holiday. We weren’t enough and I couldn’t stand feeling like I wasn’t someone worth getting clean for anymore. 

The next day, I decided to seek comfort for what I felt inside.

At the time, I didn’t know how to express my feelings, so I chose self-harm as a method of release. I held my breath, took a razor and slid it over and over on the side of my wrist. The relief I felt as blood seeped down my arm helped me with my suffering.

This began my relationship with cutting. 

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPINESS

I began to use self-harm to fill the void of not having a stable mother from the eighth-grade and continued to until my senior year of high school.

Before those four years, the only consistent love and care I ever received was from my older brother and my best friend Jessica, but even with them, I suffered in silence. I couldn’t be vulnerable with my brother the same way a daughter would with her mother. And with Jessica, we were just kids and I didn’t want to worry or burden her with my family trauma.

When my pain would become so unbearable and all I wanted to do was make it stop forever, the one triggering emotion that always related to my suicidal urges was guilt. 

Guilt that I couldn’t be strong enough to care to live on my own. So instead I “faked” it until I made it. I buried my true pain and strived to be one of the happiest ones in the group among my friends.

In the summer before high school began, I was in a relationship with someone who I shared my pain and experiences with. Despite the horrendous details, he still stayed around.

I made him swear to never tell his parents about my life because I knew deep down I couldn’t handle another set of adults having their judgments towards my situation.

For the rest of my life, I will be grateful that he broke that promise. He decided to advocate for me when I couldn’t do it myself and help me the best way, by talking to his mom. 

One afternoon I went over to his house after school and when both his parents were home, they wanted to talk with me. They let me know that they knew my situation and the second I heard that, I felt so small and exposed. I was so angry that I began to cry. “It’s okay, we know you are just in a bad situation, and we want to help you,” his mother said.

By him telling my secrets I was able to have a mom of my own. She embraced me not as someone to feel sorry for, but as her “daughter Maes”, and I love her as my “momma bear.”

The maternal comfort that I was robbed of was being given to me in this home, at no cost to my mental health. I was given not just a partner, but the parents I never had. Having his mother there to reassure me that I have survived so much and I still have so much to thrive for.

Mother’s Day 2021:

When holidays like this arrive, I have chosen to celebrate the day by not reflecting on what I lost in my strained relationship with my mother, but instead remember all the moments that I gained from others who welcomed me into their lives.

Because it wasn’t until after I graduated high school that I began to understand that I am worth more than what I believed. That my hardships do not define me, but instead motivate me to be the best version of myself that I can be.

I never anticipated living as long as I have. I think back to the times when I wanted to dig the razor so deep that I just stop existing. Yet here I am, alive and set to graduate and earn my journalism degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills on May 26.

Life lessons are often taught by enduring some kind of pain. Rather than letting this destroy me, I found strength in surviving without a mother.

If you or someone you know is struggling with either substance abuse of suicidal thoughts,

Please contact the following resources  for more information about treatment and support:

Student Psychological Services (310-243-3818)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)

Crisis Text Line (Text HOME to 74174)

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