Sunday, June 12, 2011

To Have or Not to Have - Fingernails

Last weekend, I was invited to join my mother and my sister and her husband for lunch on Saturday. I haven't done that for 6 years. It felt good being invited, but left me feeling shaky and nervous.

I joined them at the restaurant - the first moments were - awkward.

My stomach was in knots so I ordered something light and then sucked down my large diet Pepsi like my insides were on fire. Quickly, the conversation settled into "normal". It began to feel like old times - before they all knew about the abuse I suffered at the hands of someone they still want to call their friend (lucky for me he's dead).

Then, out of the blue, my mother says to my sister, "Know what seems odd every time I look at her?"

My throat constricted and the diet Pepsi's fizz threatened to explode all over my brother-in-law. OMG, what was she about to say? OMG, it's too late to dive under the table and pretend I don't exist! OMG, the sky is falling! The sky is falling!

My sister says, "What? Who are you talking about?"
I was about to let my neck muscles relax, but then my mother began talking.

"Her hands. Look at her hands. She's never had fingernails before. It's just look funny on her, that's all."

WHAT? WTF did she say? Is she kidding? Is she nuts?

My sister's eyebrows fold into a uni-brow and she replies, "Mom, she's had fingernails for years and years! What are you talking about?"

So Mom repeats it. My sister repeats it. Yeah, they are talking about me and yes, I'm still sitting there. I'm not under the table (where I'd rather be sucking used gum off the bottom of the tabletop with my tongue), nor have I fled, and I'm pretty sure I'm not f-ing invisible.

Finally, Mom looks at me and sort of shrugs her shoulders and mumbles something like, "Well, I guess I never noticed before..."  The topic hangs silently in the air for a moment, and then pops like a liquid bubble in the middle of a pine forest.

You might think I'm upset about that conversation. Well, I was, at first, but what it means is that after months and years of patiently just learning how to BE with my mother and my family again, my mother finally SAW me. She looked at me and saw ME. She didn't see someone she despised, she saw her daughter.

That is a huge step forward, HUGE - because I have had fingernails since 1975.    Baby steps.

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ivory I'm so happy for you! God bless those baby steps.

Just Be Real said...

WoW I say that is a huge step forward! Blessings to you Ivory.

Grace said...

:-) (((hugs))) baby steps, indeed!

Kerro said...

A huge step indeed, though I'm sorry it's taken your mother this long. ((hugs))

I love your new backdrop, too. :)

Missing In Sight said...

It all starts with baby steps! Congratulations!

castorgirl said...

I admit it, I was reading this post saying to myself "Oh no she didn't, please don't let her say something cruel or nasty". I'm glad you saw the positive in the situation Ivory...

Fingernails, huh? Maybe you should paint them a bright colour for the next time you meet up with her... :)

Ivory said...

Thanks! yes, gotta love the baby steps. Castergirl, OMG, I didn't think of the bright polish! Actually, I think I still have some from, like, 1995!

VICKI IN AZ said...

Ivory,
I am impressed that you went. YEAH you.
xoxo