Memoir #2 I am my mother’s daughter

I don’t even know how to begin. When she found out that I had bipolar disorder her reaction was now we know what is wrong with you. I didn’t react the same way because I didn’t want to be labeled “bipolar” and did not accept that I was and thought “No, I am not bipolar!” The psychiatrist is wrong, this can’t be true. Before, my severe episode of depression, which I described in my first submission, my mother and I were talking on the phone and she said something to me, I don’t remember what it was but I was so pissed off that I threw my cell phone so hard against the floor that it broke into pieces.  “Shattered” all over the floor and I didn’t care. I left it on the floor, went into my bedroom and shut the door, vowing that I was cutting her off for good.

My roommate came home to find a phone shattered on the floor and called out “Ashley, are you ok?” and I answered “yes, I’m fine” with no further explanation. I opened the door and picked up the pieces of my phone that I had left in the hallway.

Of course, this was not the first time my mom had said something that angered me. I got angry at her when I was in high school and she refused to let me go with my boyfriend’s family to his Marine bootcamp graduation that was in North Carolina. We  had been writing back and forth all summer and he would call me once and a while.  I was really not all that attracted to him but we had been dating since I was a freshman in high school and he was a senior.  I don’t know why she allowed me to date him in the first place because he was too old for my anyway, but I guess she figured I would do what I wanted anyway, with or without her approval. I had always been boy crazy since first grade. I liked the attention and in my diary I would write a list of the boys I liked in order. I had boyfriends, several of them, throughout elementary school and middle school.  I became promiscuous in middle school, my 6th grade year but I will go more into that later.  My parents divorced when I was four or five so I think that had a lot to do with my attention-seeking from boys.

So back to my relationship in high school with Jesse, my first serious boyfriend. He was four years older than me and about 5 or 10 minutes down the road from my house. I had broken up with his friends, younger brother, Chris, who was in 8th grade to go out with an “older guy” because I was being teased for dating Chris. So I went with Jesse, and I was popular and got to hang out with the older boys in school and my friends and I would party with them on weekends. I started drinking my freshman year of high school. I was already ashamed of myself for the things I had done in middle school with boys so drinking was my way of coping with my shame and embarrassment. I drank all throughout my high school years with my friends. We liked to go to drinking parties and use our fake I.D.’s to go to bars when we were only 16 years old.  My mother let me stay with my friends on the weekends and I didn’t like being at home with my mom and stepdad so I was happy to stay gone as much as possible. I preferred to be at my friends’ houses than mine because they had a nicer house than I did. I was embarrassed of the house I lived in because it was old and ugly. I hated that house and did not want to live there but had to until I graduated from high school.

In high school, I played volleyball and was a pretty good athlete. I made decent grades, not great but I at least kept a B average. I tried to fit in with everyone even though I was in the popular group and my friends were the “prettiest” in the school. I was pretty or so I thought but I was self-conscious, especially about my large boobs and my weight. Out of all my friends I was the biggest one and I wore a 7-8. I never felt pretty enough or skinny enough because I was always comparing myself to other girls. I was on the volleyball team my junior year and at a meeting with our coach I admitted to smoking cigarettes. I could have lied but I was honest about it and my coach ended up punishing me for it by not allowing me to play in a tournament the following weekend. I was upset because I didn’t want to sit out of the game so I quit and went to a college football game with my boyfriend instead, because I thought that would be more fun. I was not really that happy so anything to have “fun” I was all for it, even if it was destructive. I went to my first Auburn University football game with Jesse instead of my volleyball tournament. My coach tried to talk me into coming back on the team but I refused because I was still upset and I was not enjoying it as much as I did in 9th and 10th grade because she was letting a younger girl play “setter” which was my position and I got moved to back row. I was good at playing back row and I was too short to play on the front row and I was too proud to come back on the team.  I regret quitting when I enjoyed playing the sport and had been doing so since 6th grade. None of my friends were on the volleyball team because they were either cheerleaders or on the dance team.  I was a good dancer, I used to make up dances in elementary school. Dance is something that I was born to do so I tried out for the dance team and made it. So my Senior year I joined the dance team and that boosted my self-esteem, even though I was still fat.

I had some problems with friends my senior year after Jesse and I broke up. I don’t even remember why we broke up but he was “my first” yes, I lost my virginity when I was 14 y/o and he was 18 y/o which I think is illegal but I was willing. So anyway, he started dating another girl on the dance team and this caused problems for my social life with my friends because now they started hanging out with them and leaving me out of social gatherings and such. I think it was the first time I felt rejection from my peers. However, I had already experienced it with my own parents, especially my father when he divorced my mom, moved out of the house, got remarried to my stepmom, who had two children already and basically my dad had another family at that point and I was not longer important to him anymore or so I felt. I now realize that my parents divorce, remarriages and the birth of my two half-sister has had a huge impact on my life, and not a good one either. So let me get back to talking about my relationship with my mother….to be continued.

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